Married overseas

With the increasing cost of Canadian weddings, an abundance of cheap flights and the promise of sandy white beaches and blue skies, it’s never been more popular to tie the knot abroad. But what about changing your name after you get married overseas?

Canadian government authorities make it simple to take your spouse’s name after marriage, no matter where you were married. You must have a marriage certificate issued by a government agency as religious certificates are not always accepted. If you don’t have a government-issued certificate you could contact that country’s embassy and ask how to obtain a government certificate.

The certificate must also be in English or French. If it is in a different language you must present your foreign marriage certificate along with an approved translation. An approved translation is generally considered to be confirmed by verifying the translator’s stamp or membership number with a professional industry association.

If it is not possible to get a foreign government-issued marriage certificate, or you are unable to get your government certificate translated, you can instead apply for a legal name change with the Vital Statistics office in your province. There are separate fees for filing a legal name change application. Turnaround times vary between 2 and 8 weeks, depending on your province.  See our dedicated section on legal name change for more information.

Getting your records updated

We always recommend updating your driver’s licence and health care card first. Most provinces don’t charge a fee for reissuing these credentials. Some provinces have provincial service offices where you can walk in and have it all done on the spot. Once your government records are updated start changing your name everywhere else.

If you need to send a copy of your marriage certificate as proof of name change, it can help to include a photocopy of your updated government photo ID. This way organizations are less likely to come back and request additional information if they are wary of your foreign marriage certificate.

As Canadian companies have varying name change procedures, there’s no one method to follow. Save hours figuring out dozens of different processes and filling in tedious forms. Get all the instructions and ready to send paperwork in minutes! Just click the button below.


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