Am I eligible to change my name in Canada?
Certificates of Name Change are issued by the Vital Statistics Agency in your home province. Whilst the law varies between provinces, generally speaking, you are eligible to change your name if you have one of the following documents:
- A Canadian birth certificate
- A Canadian Citizenship card
- Canadian Record of Immigrant Landing/Permanent resident card
There are additional conditions, and while these vary between provinces, they may include:
- Minimum age ranging from 16 to 19 years (to change your own name)
- Must have been an ongoing resident of that province, varying between 3 to 12 months
If you do not have one of these documents you may not be eligible to change your name in Canada. To find out more, including if you are eligible to change your name in Canada, contact your provincial Vital Statistics Office directly. If you are a new Canadian citizen, refer to our new citizen content for more accurate information.
I am eligible. What next?
Apply for a legal name change directly with Vital Statistics in the province where you currently reside. You will be asked to provide details from your permanent resident card or landing document. Please note that name changes are restricted in Quebec, so check with Quebec Vital Statistics regarding your change before proceeding further.
Once your application is successful you must apply for a replacement permanent resident card under your new name. Easy Name Change provides the application forms to replace your PR card. If you have a pending citizenship application you should speak with your immigration professional before applying for a legal name change.
What about my name in my country of birth/citizenship?
Anyone changing names in Canada who holds a passport from a different country should consider what implications may arise. You will have your passport and other documents from your birth country under a different name from what you will be using in Canada. Some countries allow you to change your foreign passport from abroad by showing your Canadian legal name change certificate. Speak to your embassy to find out if your country qualifies and the exact process and laws. Once you have your foreign passport changed into your name, most companies from that country should allow your name change.
If you are unable to update your foreign passport, you may choose to undertake a name change in your country of birth. This could result in you having 2 legal name change documents so be sure the spelling is exactly the same in both applications. Some countries can facilitate a legal name change application while living abroad. If you can’t or don’t want to change your name abroad, be mindful of the types of complications that can arise from having 2 different names and always have access to your Canadian legal name change certificate when travelling internationally. You may need to prove why you have credit cards with a different name from your passport.
Once you have made your assessment on changing names and have decided to proceed, complete your province’s legal name change application form. It usually takes a couple of weeks to complete the form and gather all the supporting documents needed. There is a fee to change names which is payable directly to Vital Statistics, the fee varies between provinces and is separate from the cost of purchasing an Easy Name Change kit. Expect to pay between $100 and $165. Vital Statistics Name Change forms and information are available in all Easy Name Change kits or can be obtained directly from Vital Statistics. The form has clear instructions on how to complete it.
There is no right or wrong way to go about changing names.
We’re often asked ‘What should I do’ by Canadian permanent residents who want to change names. Every person’s situation is unique and we are unable to answer this question. You must weigh your desire to be known by a new name, the legal name change process, updating your PR card (for a $50 fee at the time of writing), notifying companies and deciding what to do about your name in your country of birth. We can’t make this assessment for you.
How come Easy Name Change does not provide name change advice for immigration?
Immigration is a complex area of the law and Easy Name Change is not an immigration specialist. As each situation is unique and some are quite complex we do not provide any further information beyond what appears on this page.
If you have any further questions regarding your situation we recommend you speak to an immigration professional, the Canadian Immigration Department or your embassy. Contact details are provided at the end of this page.
Can I use an Easy Name Change kit if I am a non-citizen?
Yes! Once you have determined that you will not have any repercussions with Canadian immigration or your country of citizenship, an Easy Name Change kit will be helpful. The requirements and process of changing your name with Canadian organizations where you hold an account or membership are the same for everyone, regardless of citizenship status.
Our kits provide ready to send emails, letters and company forms for all your nominated companies. If you don’t have proof of name change we also step you through the application process with Vital Statistics. Our kit includes instructions on how to complete each form and help you through the name change process. Once you have your legal name change certificate all you need to do is print, sign, add supporting documents where indicated and post. If you don’t have access to a printer you should purchase the Premium kit which is printed and posted.
Booking international flights
One bit of advice we can provide is to be careful when booking international travel! You should only book flights under the name that currently appears in your passport, even if your intention is to change it. Complications can arise if your application is delayed or rejected and you have a booking under a name that has never legally been yours. Airlines usually re-issue tickets in your new name if you provide a statutory declaration and evidence of your prior name and current name (eg: your old and new passport). However, airlines will not let you change the name on your ticket to any name that has not appeared on a previous or current passport.
Contact Details and links
Department of Immigration and Citizenship: 1-888-242 2100