A Canadian journalist on trial in Egypt on widely denounced terror charges is expressing shock over Ottawa's refusal to issue him a passport while he awaits the outcome of his case.

Mohamed Fahmy says his original passport was seized by Egyptian authorities when he was first arrested in December 2013, and has never been returned.

The 40-year-old has been trying to acquire a new passport ever since being released on bail in February and says he has taken all necessary steps to apply for one.

Citizenship letter to Mohamed Fahmy

A letter from Citizenship and Immigration Canada to Mohamed Fahmy says the government is withholding his passport until it receives confirmation his old passport is missing and that Egyptian court-imposed travel restrictions against him are lifted. (Mohamed Fahmy)

But Fahmy says a letter he received today from an official with Canada's Passport Program suggests a new passport will only be issued when a court-imposed travel ban, which is part of his bail conditions, is lifted.

Fahmy says he found the news "crippling" as not having a passport has left him without any official identification while he remains on trial in Egypt.

Fahmy was working for satellite news broadcaster Al Jazeera English when he and two colleagues were arrested in Cairo.