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When you apply you need to provide a lot of personal information. The reason for this is so that the government can do a series of strict background checks on you to determine if you really are a low risk traveler.
A lot of people think that getting a card will be the same process as getting a credit card i.e. you apply online, give some personal information and a card arrives in the mail a couple of weeks later.
The program is all about all about keeping borders safe and making sure that the people who are approved for the program are genuine low risk travelers. To do this the government needs to collect a lot of information about you and share it with other government agencies like law enforcement, immigration and customs.
Before you complete an application, you need to gather the following documents and information:
Valid U.S. or Canadian passport or a Canadian or U.S. birth certificate, a citizenship certificate, a certificate of Indian status or a certificate of retention of canadian citizenship; If you are a legal permanent resident you need a machine readable PR card and a passport from your country of citizenship;
Valid driver’s license – if you don’t have an up-to-date license that’s ok, but if you do, the government wants to know about it;
Passports from other countries. If you hold dual citizenship, you need to provide details of other passports held;
Address history. You need to list in full, every address you have lived at over the last 5 years. You cannot have any gaps.
Employment history. As with the address history, you need to list all jobs and periods of unemployment with no gaps. If you were a student or retired or stayed at home you still need to provide this information.
Travel history for the last 5 years. You don’t need to give dates or even the cities you visited but you do need to list every country your have visited outside of North America;