Any Canadian citizen or permanent resident can change names. This may be a name change from marriage, divorce or a legal name change. The name change can’t be done as part of your citizenship application. You must follow the same name change process as all other Canadians. It is recommended you get your citizenship certificate or permanent resident card updated following the name change.
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, 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 a resident of that province, varying between 3 to 12 months
- Fingerprinting (only a requirement in some provinces)
If you do not meet these criteria you may not be eligible to change your name in Canada at this stage. To find out more, including if you are eligible to change your name in Canada, contact your provincial Vital Statistics Office directly or download their name change application form.
Already a citizen?
If you’re already a Canadian citizen, you can apply for a legal name change with Vital Statistics in the province where you permanently reside. Provide the standard identification documents as listed on the application form and pay a fee. If successful you will be issued with a legal name change certificate. Although not essential, you can choose to update the name on your citizenship certificate.
Changing names from marriage?
The process is generally easier. Simply show your Canadian marriage certificate as proof of your new surname. You can use a foreign-issued marriage certificate but if it’s not in English or French then you need to provide a translated document too. A married name is an assumed name, so you can be known by either the name on your citizenship certificate or by your married name at any stage. Although not essential, you may choose to have your citizenship certificate updated into your new name. There is no particular advantage in changing the name on your citizenship certificate as you can always prove the link between your names by showing your marriage certificate.
Reverting to your name prior to marriage
If you plan to go back to your former name after marriage you need to show your marriage certificate together with either your birth certificate or divorce decree. You do not need to be divorced to resume use of your former name, however you may be asked for proof that you have decided to go back to your former name, such as a document already issued in your former name or a letter explaining your intent to resume your former name. You do not need to apply for a legal name change. Each company can set out what documents you need to provide as proof of your name change, so it can be inconsistent with what documents you are asked to provide. While unlikley, you may be asked to provide your citizenship certificate in your former name.
Apply to the Canadian Government for a replacement citizenship certificate in your updated name. You can use your new citizenship certificate along with your Vital Statistics certificate of name change as proof of your new name everywhere. Once you have these documents request all organizations update your records.
Easy Name Change supplies the legal name change application form for your province, citizenship replacement application forms, plus all the procedures and forms to change names with hundreds of Canadian organizations.
Are you a permanent resident?
When you apply to become a citizen, the name you provide on the application form will be the same as your name on citizenship. There are no name changes allowed during this process. You can apply for a legal name change either before applying for citizenship or after citizenship is granted.
Updating your Canadian citizenship certificate or application
If your Canadian citizenship application is already in progress then contact the Canadian Immigration and citizenship authority via their website.
If you are already a Canadian citizen you can choose to leave your citizenship certificate in your former name. You will need to show your proof of name change document whenever you are asked for your citizenship certificate as it will link your names together. At the time of writing a replacement citizenship certificate costs $75 and should be completed on a paper form.
It’s recommended permanent residents get their PR card updated following a change of name. We provide the form and filing instructions in your kit. You need to provide proof of name change, such as your marriage certificate or legal name change certificate, so ensure you have one of these documents first. If you haven’t yet changed names or ordered your marriage certificate, we also provide the application forms for your province via the buttons below.
Need to change names anywhere else?
Once you have your marriage certificate or legal name change certificate you need to notify all the necessary organizations of your new name. Start by updating provincial identification, as this is required before your name can be changed on your Canadian passport, citizenship or permanent resident card. We include all federal and provincial authorities including driver’s license, health card, SIN card and more. We also provide ready-to-send notifications and detailed filing procedures for all other companies, including your utilities, phone account, loyalty clubs, insurance, professional associations and more. You’ll need to send in a range of name change forms, letters and emails and there are a number of different processes to follow. To learn to do with each company and get any necessary paperwork, just click the button below.
What about my name in my country of birth?
Anyone with a foreign passport should consider what implications may arise as a result of having documents issued in their birth country under a different name. Some countries allow residents and citizens to change their foreign passport while residing abroad with a Canadian legal name change certificate. Speak to your embassy to find out if your country qualifies and the exact process and laws. Once your foreign passport is in your new name, companies from that country may allow your name change.
If you are unable to update your foreign passport using Canadian documents or if your updated foreign passport is not accepted as proof of your new name then you may be required to undertake a name change in that foreign country. Some countries can facilitate this while living abroad. If you can’t or don’t want to change your name abroad then be mindful of having 2 different names. Remember which name is registered where and always carry a copy of your Canadian legal name change certificate (or marriage certificate/divorce decree) when traveling internationally.
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 few 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 which varies between provinces and is separate to the cost of purchasing an Easy Name Change kit. 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 be completed.
There is no right or wrong way to go about changing names.
We’re often asked ‘What should I do?’ by non-citizens who want to change names. Every person’s situation is unique and we are unable to answer this question. You must weigh up your desire to be known by a new name, the legal name change process, updating your PR card/citizenship papers and notifying companies and deciding what to do about your name in your country of birth. We can’t make this assessment for you.
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?
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 is the same regardless of your citizenship status.
Our kits provide the forms you need to change your name, and instructions and help you through the name change process. You’ll receive name change notifications created in your name and addressed to each of your nominated companies. If any of your nominated organizations have a special name change form we also provide it. Simply print, sign, add supporting documents where indicated and post!
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. Always check your airline’s policy on name changes before making a booking.
Contact Details and links
Department of Immigration and Citizenship: 1-888-242 2100