A proud Canadian for 42 years, Peter Jones laminated his aging citizenship certificate to preserve it. But when the Fredericton, N.B. man went to apply for a new passport on Monday, he was told that his act of patriotic preservation voided the document.

“It’s an old document,” Jones told CTV Atlantic. “It was starting to yellow, starting to weather, and I decided back in about 2007 I was going to laminate it.”

Although Jones used the laminated certificate to obtain a new passport in 2008, he was told this week that it can no longer be used.

“They basically handed it back to me and said it’s not acceptable.”

Unable to obtain a new passport, Jones is now wondering how he’ll be able to visit his native England in late August. To prove his citizenship, Jones needs to secure a new certificate – a process that can take as much as half a year to complete. He’s now compiling pages of documents that attest to his citizenship in the hopes of being able to catch his Aug. 26 flight.

The trip, which has already been booked, was going to be an emotional one.

“I’m taking my dad’s ashes back to Portsmouth,” he said. “My mom was from Horndean, Portsmouth. She passed away in 1992 and dad took her back two years later. So we decided to take my dad back and they’re going to be buried in the same church that they were married in.”

Immigration law expert Lee Cohen has never heard of something like this happening.

“In my experience, I have not had a client come to me yet because they were not able to get a passport or official Canadian document because they had laminated some of their immigration paperwork,” the Halifax lawyer told CTV Atlantic.

“I even discourage them from folding their documents – although you can fold them. My advice? Take this document, put it in a safe place and never go to it again until the Canadian government needs it.”

With files from CTV Atlantic