Changing names while residing abroad

Individuals living abroad may have a number of records and accounts across 2 different countries. Another common issue is that they may have most of their records in one country but may not know if they can change names outside of that country. We explain how to change names from abroad and have some general issues you may experience below.

Can I apply for a Canadian legal name change while residing outside Canada?

Legal name change applications should be filed with the provincial Vital Statistics office in the province where you usually reside. When completing your province’s legal name change application form you are typically required to declare that you have continually resided in that the minimum period of time prescribed. If you are presently residing abroad you cannot meet this requirement. We recommend downloading your provincial legal name change application form to read through the requirements to see if you meet these before making a decision.

I have proof. Can I update Canadian accounts from abroad?

You may already have a foreign or Canadian marriage certificate or have already been approved for a legal name change. Now you need to get all your Canadian accounts, records and identification changed over while residing in the USA or overseas, but it’s not so straightforward. It all depends on the name change policy for each organization that you need to notify. For example, all provincial driver’s licences and non-driver ID cards can only be updated in person. Most larger banks need to sight your original proof of name change and record your new signature in a branch. So while you may find your passport, some credit cards and most other accounts can be changed over, you could be stuck with Canadian photo ID and bank accounts remaining in your previous name.

How do I change my Canadian passport while abroad?

The Canadian passports office requires a range of proof documents before changing your name, one of which is an updated provincial ID. Because you are unable to update any Canadian driver’s licence or health care card while abroad this can be difficult.

If you are residing abroad for an extended period you can get the name on your passport changed by presenting a foreign equivalent document. For example, if you are residing in Australia present an Australian marriage certificate or legal name change certificate from Births, Deaths and Marriages and an updated Australian driver’s licence. Proof requirements are determined on a case-by-case basis. Speak with the passports office or your local Canadian consulate to learn more.

You should also speak with the authorities who have issued your visa in the country where you are currently residing. They may have certain policies on re-issuing your visa. Visas are usually linked to passport numbers, so when your passport is reissued in a new name and with a new number any linked visas may be invalid.

How do I change all other records while abroad?

Contact each of your Canadian companies directly to ask about their name change process and ask if you should send in a letter, form, email or follow any other name change process while you are abroad. You may get lucky and have all your companies accept a name change request from outside Canada. Do keep in mind many banks and most provincial governments do not allow name changes from abroad as you are most likely to be required to visit a branch in person.

Can an Easy Name Change kit help?

Easy Name Change’s Canadian kits were created for customers presently residing in Canada. As the overwhelming majority of our customers are currently based in Canada, our research only extended to domestic name change requests. We do not allow the input of a non-Canadian address as we can not guarantee any of the notifications we provide would be accepted if sent from abroad. We are also aware there are a few companies where you must attend a branch in person.

Customers abroad may go on to purchase an Easy Name Change kit and will input a Canadian address. If you sign our letters and forms and arrange for them to be dispatched from within Canada these companies will accept your request. But do be aware any companies requiring you to visit in person may be unable to update your name. Should you ever run into issues with these companies when proving your identity you may be required to produce a marriage certificate or court order at that time.


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