How to get an Ontario photo card if you do not drive or are looking for additional government-issued identification documents? This is the question we will be answering today. When moving to Ontario, whether from another province or another country, you will need a valid proof of identity issued by the province. Your original identity documents (except your passport) will simply not be valid in Ontario.

You will need to fill out an application form, submit personal details at ServiceOntario locations, and wait for a while to get your Ontario photo card. Needless to say, this is not the same as a resident card or a visa, as these documents let you enter Canada and stay for a while. However, if you would like to become a permanent resident in Canada or are otherwise moving to Ontario for a longer period of time, you will need to take out the card.

Moving to Ontario is a very popular thing to do. Many Canadians choose to move to the province, as it is rich, well-developed, and offers plenty to all who move there. It is also a very popular destination for all who use one of Canada’s immigration pathways to move to the province. Wherever you may be moving from, you will need this government-issued identification card to prove your identity.

Understanding the Ontario Photo Card

The Ontario photo card is a government-issued photo identification card that serves as an ID card. You can use it to verify your identity whenever necessary and you can also use it to vote, open a bank account, etc. A photo identification card cannot be used for international travel, although it is suited to domestic travel. Like in so many other countries, your identity card can even be used on domestic flights.

How do I get a photo ID card in Ontario? This is exactly what we will be covering today, but first, let’s have a look at the importance this card has for non-drivers in Ontario.

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Importance for Non-Drivers in Ontario

If you are a non-driver in Ontario, the photo card will be your identity document. This way, it will serve the same purpose as the driver’s license does for existing drivers. Please beware that you will have to surrender your Photo Card as soon as you apply for a driver’s license and that you will not be able to get another one until you surrender your driver’s license.

Ontario Photo Card Application and Eligibility

An Ontario photo card is available to all who are over 16 years of age. At the same time, you will need to NOT have a driver’s license to get this card. Needless to say, you will also need to be a resident of Ontario. Please bear in mind that you will need to surrender any other forms of ID when applying for the Ontario Photo Card. You cannot have more than one government-issued ID at any given time. This includes old, expired, lost, damaged, or stolen cards and ID documents of any kind.

Who Can Apply?

Anyone living in Ontario being at least the age of 16 can apply for an Ontario photo card. If you have a driver’s license, you can also apply, but beware that you cannot have both these documents at the same time. The thing is that one will have to be canceled, and since you are applying for a photo card with a valid (existing) driver’s license, the latter will be canceled. You will have to surrender it when applying for the photo card.

If you wish to take out a new driver’s license, you will need to surrender your existing photo card. Please beware that once your driver’s license is suspended, you cannot simply take out a new one. You will have to reapply for the driver’s test and will have to undergo the ENTIRE procedure for getting a driver’s license, the same way you did for the first one.

What Documents Do I Need for an Ontario Photo Card?

As we’ve said before, an Ontario photo card is necessary to open a new bank account in Ontario, as proof of your identity and age (to enter bars and similar places) as well as for a number of other purposes where you may need to access public and government services. To get one, you will need some other documents that you can use to prove your identity.

You will need a birth certificate, a marriage certificate, a passport, residency confirmation, a citizenship card, or other documents that you may use to prove your identity. Besides this, you will also need to have a utility bill or a lease agreement. You will also need a photo – but this will be taken at the ServiceOntario location. During the application process, every document is a document for proof that you are who you say you are. All documents need to be original documents.

After the application process is finished and the fee for the photo card is paid, there will be some processing time. It can take on average some 4-6 weeks to receive the photo card. You will receive the card in your mail. So, what documents do I need for the Ontario photo card? You need an existing ID card, PR card (Permanent Residence card), citizenship card, or another document proving your status in Canada and Ontario and you also need to have your photo taken during the application procedure itself.

Here are all the identity documents that you can bring in to get your Ontario photo card:

  1. Canadian passport
  2. Foreign passport
  3. Canadian Citizenship Card with Photo
  4. Canadian Permanent Resident Card
  5. IMM 1000 – Record of Landing
  6. IMM 5292 – Confirmation of Permanent Residence
  7. IMM 1434 – Refugee Status Claim
  8. IMM 7703 – Acknowledgement of Intent to Claim Refugee Status (with photo)
  9. IMM 1442 – Report Pursuant to the Immigration And Refugee Protection Act
  10. Form 1442 – Employment Authorization or Work Permit Form
  11. Form 1442 – Visitor Record
  12. IMM 1442 – Temporary Residents’ Permit
  13. Driver’s License – issued by the Ontario province; this document will have to be surrendered when applying for a photo card
  14. Enhanced Driver’s Licence – issued by the Ontario province; this document will have to be surrendered
  15. Form 1442 – Student Authorization/ Study Permit
  16. SCIS – Secure Certificate of Indian Status

Besides these, you may also need:

  1. Birth Certificate issued by a Canadian jurisdiction; alternatively, a US birth certificate is also acceptable
  2. Marriage Certificate – certified copy, contact notary services for more information
  3. Statement of Live Birth – if issued by Ontario
  4. Canadian Certificate of Indian Status – either Canadian or US
  5. Identity Card – issued by Canada or the US
  6. Ontario Card
  7. Ontario Student Card with signature
  8. DND identity card – Department of National Defense identity card

How Do I Get a Photo ID Card in Ontario?

How to get it and how long does it take to get an Ontario photo card? You can get your first Ontario photo card by visiting a ServiceOntario location and applying for one. In the case of renewing the photo card, you can also consider the online application. The same can be done if your card is lost, stolen, or damaged. Be sure to surrender all other forms of government-issued forms of identification documents when applying for an Ontario photo card, as having two such documents is illegal.

Even if you choose not to surrender the existing documents, having more than one is not possible. Your older, existing forms of ID, will be considered null and will be canceled. When it comes to issues like this, they can only prolong your OPC processing time, so it is advisable that you bring in all the documents you have and ask which you can keep. If some documents are stolen, lost, or otherwise missing, you will need to report that they are missing. If you happen to find them later on, do not use them – surrender them on your first opportunity.

Photo Card Features and Benefits

The photo card is a wallet-sized card that has measures against being copied and installed. It contains your photo, name and last name, height, gender, DOB, eye colour, and other important information. The card is issued to the bearer, and you cannot give your card to anyone else.

Role and Uses of the Photo Card

The Ontario photo card application is simple and only requires a few documents and a small fee – CAD35 to be exact. When it comes to the utility or the benefits of owning this card, you can use it for daily business and financial transactions, as well as in all places where your identity needs to be confirmed to access private, public, and online services. It can also be used for some critical services, such as photo services. You can also use it for domestic travel.

Take A Look At Ontario Photo ID:

Coexistence with Other IDs

You cannot have your Ontario photo card and another form of ID card at the same time. If you do try to take out one while having another, the first document you had will be cancelled out. As this can cause issues down the road, please consider taking your Ontario-issued documents with you when taking out the OPC – and have them surrendered.

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Specific Requirements and Considerations

Specific requirements and considerations are to be made when minors (under the age of 18) are taking out a photo card. In fact, you will need proof of residential address, mailing address, guardian’s signature, and even your basic personal information. On top of this come photo specifications for the photo card, as well as special conditions for changing the information on your photo card, applicable to all applicants, irrelevant of their age.

Photo Specifications for the Photo Card

As the photos for the photo card are taken at the ServiceOntario centre, there are no specific requirements. The photos taken will be digital, and you will need to make sure that you show up looking like yourself. Heavy makeup, forgotten glasses with correctional lenses, and hiding piercings and tattoos when taking a picture like this are not allowed. For this reason, you will need to make sure you show up looking like yourself.

Changing Information: Address, Name, and Others

When changing the information on the photo card, there are three basic ways to do this: online, in person, or by mail. To change the address, you will need to visit a ServiceOntario Centre or send a written request. You can also change your address and height, and for this, you will have to show up in person. To change or correct your day of birth, you will also need to show up in person and bring one of the following:

  • birth certificate (if you are coming from Quebec and have a birth certificate BEFORE 1st of January, 1994, this document will NOT be accepted)
  • certified copy of the statement of live birth issued by the government
  • citizenship card with photo, issued by Canada
  • certificate of Indian status, issued by Canada or the US
  • permanent resident card
  • permanent resident form – IMM 5292
  • record of landing – IMM 1000 – cannot be laminated

Renewal and Updates

At times, it is simply necessary to renew the card or enter updates. The updates do not have to take place because the information is wrong, but because you change your address, your height, or undergo a gender-affirming surgery. In any case, here are more details:

Renewing Your Ontario Photo Card

Once issued, your Ontario photo card will be valid for a period of up to five years, or the length of the remaining validity period of your Ontario health card. When it comes to the renewal itself, you can do it online, if there is no need to renew your photo at the same time. However, if the photo you are currently using on your photo card is older than 10 years, you will still need to renew both of these and will have to do that in person.

Updating Personal Information on the Photo Card

Over time, your personal information may change. Your sex designation, changing your last name during a wedding ceremony, or even your first name if it happens to suit you. If this happens, you will need to update your Ontario photo card. You do not need online renewal for this, but you can do it in person or written form, by mailing a written request with your full name (including both first names, middle name, middle initial, and last name (multiple if so)), your current photo card number, current address (that you want the card shipped to), and your new address (if you have moved your residence, you will state that this is both the change you need made in your identity card and the address you want the new photo card to be sent to.

Your request (in written form) can be mailed to:

Service Ontario
P.O. Box 9200 Kingston,
Ontario K7L 5K4

Setting Up Digital Renewal Reminders

The government of Ontario also allows you to set up digital renewal reminders. This service is available on the Government of Ontario website. Here, you can set up reminders for health cards, Ontario Photo cards, and other critical documents, such as license plates, driver’s licenses, etc.

Cost, Payment, and Delivery

Whatever the reason for the update or renewal may be, there is a CAD35 fee that you will need to pay to make sure you get the new card. The same fee is paid when you take out the Ontario photo card for the first time. When it comes to the delivery, the card will be delivered to you within 4-6 weeks and it will be delivered through standard mail.

How Much Is an Ontario ID Card?

An Ontario ID card costs as little as CAD35. Besides this, you may need to pay fees to get some of the other documents necessary for the application process itself. The photo will be taken at the ServiceOntario center/location, so there are no additional fees for this. You may also need to pay for the commute to the ServiceOntario location that is closest to you.

Payment Options and Methods

There are a few ways to pay for a new or for the renewal of an existing photo card. You can easily make the payment through:

  • Certified checks
  • Mastercard
  • Visa
  • Debit cards

Ontario Photo Card Processing Time

The normal processing time for the Ontario Photo Card is some 4-6 weeks. For this reason, it is advisable that you do not wait for the old card to expire to get a new one. You can apply for a renewal of the photo card while the old one is still valid. To renew the card, you can apply online or in person, at the ServiceOntario location closest to you.

Additional Services and Information

There are no grand additional services that you can get for an Ontario Photo Card. In essence, the card will be processed using normal processing times, as there is no rush service. At the same time, the process can be repeated if the card is stolen or damaged, but you will have to pay the fee one more time. If you have access issues to the buildings, please read on. 

Replacing a Lost, Stolen, or Damaged Ontario Photo Card

A lost Ontario photo card can be replaced. The same goes for stolen or damaged Ontario Photo Cards. When applying for a renewal, you will need to fill out the Ontario Photo Card application form. You will also have to pay a renewal fee.

Accessibility Services and Support

If you seek special assistance or have issues with mobility, you will need to contact the nearest processing centre. When it comes to the accessibility to their buildings, all buildings are different. In the case that it is not possible to access the building, it may be easier to simply do an online application, and in some cases, this will be approved. 

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Is There an Ontario Photo Card Rush Service?

No, there is no rush service for the Ontario photo card. When it comes to the delivery time of the card itself, it is usually issued within 4-6 weeks, if all your documents are correctly presented and enclosed when you apply. The delivery time may be a bit long, but consider that there are well over a million people using these cards.

Can I Get an Ontario Photo Card Online?

You can renew your existing OPC (Ontario Photo Card) online, but you can only get the first card by applying in person. Also, if you have to submit a new photo, you will have to do it in person, as the photo is taken in the ServiceOntario location closest to you.

Can International Students Apply for an Ontario Photo Card?

If you are an international student in Ontario, there are two types of identity documents that you can apply for. These are the Ontario Photo Card and the Ontario Driver’s License. When it comes to these two, you can only have one of them, so taking both of them out is not possible.

Final Considerations

The Ontario photo card is a special document that is issued by the government of Ontario. The card has your identity information and can only be taken out if you do not drive or plan to do so. If you do, we recommend you take out the Ontario driver’s license, as you can only have one of the cards at any given moment, and you cannot drive with the Ontario photo card.