YOUR GUIDE TO WEDDING PLANNING
A FREE RESOURCE BY JAMIE DELAINE
May 29, 2015 In life

Changing Your Name in BC After Marriage

Where to start, what to do, how to do it!

Yay! You’re married, you’re settling into your new life together, friends are starting to call you “Mrs. ‘New last name'” already and it’s exciting. But it’s not legal yet! Where does a new bride start in this confusing task called Changing Your Name After You’re Married?!  

After spending several days on the task when we got married in 2014, I wrote the guide below to help. In the meanwhile I learnt about Easy Name Change kits, which do all the leg work for you. No matter if you DIY your name change, or use a service, the following guide helps save you time and money, because after all, time is money

In the province of British Columbia, according to the Marriage Act, once you’re married you’re legally allowed to use, 1) the last name of your spouse or 2) the last name on your birth certificate. So, legally, you can sign documents as “Sarah Greene” even if your birth certificate says “Sarah Adams.” However, if somebody asks, “Can I see a piece of ID?” and all of your ID says Sarah Adams… you’d have to carry your marriage license with you everywhere you go, proving that you are indeed married to Mr. Greene.

Do it yourself or save time?

I started the process making an exhaustive list of where to change names. The common ones are below. Then I got on each one to learn the process. My DIY name-change took me about 4 hours to research and get everything organized. However, I recently came across Easy Name Change kits and wish I knew about these when I changed names!

Instead of making the list and calling each company, just select which ones you need to change names with, then the kit contains each company’s form, a ready to send letter or instructions on how to file your name change. Boom! Name change sorted

Use promo code JAMIED5 to save $5 off a kit. 

List of Documents to Change

B.C. Driver’s License
Car Insurance (ICBC)
B.C. Health Services Card
Canadian Passport
Social Insurance Number
Bank Account
Credit Cards

Phewf! Where to start? Let’s start at the top.

B.C. Health Services Card

Contact Health Insurance BC at 604.683.7151 or 1.800.663.7100 to change your name on your BC Services Card. After you’ve received your confirmation letter via mail, you can visit an ICBC driver license office to officially change your name on your services card. Don’t forget to bring: Your confirmation letter.

B.C. Driver’s License

If you moved in with your husband after the wedding for the first time, you’ll need to change the address on your license within 10 days of moving. You can change your address online, if you don’t have time to go into a BC Driver’s License Office, but it’s best to go in person – so you can change your name at the same time. Don’t forget to bring: marriage certificate, two pieces of ID in either your old or new name and money to pay for the new license. (Looking for the closest office near you? Click here.)

Car Insurance

When you have your new married name temporary license (usually a yellow piece of paper until the real thing is mailed to you 2 weeks later!) you can change your name on your insurance. There’s lots of small Autoplan insurance agencies around and anybody can do it for you. Don’t forget to bring: your temporary driver’s license, your marriage certificate and obviously, your insurance papers from your car.

Canadian Passport

This was the very last piece of ID I changed simply because we had too many flights scheduled our first year of marriage! I didn’t want to risk booking a flight in my maiden name or my married name but be without a passport in that name… if that makes sense. I stayed with my maiden name for over a year and didn’t have any issues flying with it at all. I’ve heard you could book a ticket with your maiden name and fly with a passport in your married name, if you carried your marriage license with you at all times. But I wouldn’t risk it.

For any name change, you have to apply for a new passport. You cannot use a passport renewal process for a name change, it needs to be a new Adult General Passport Application form. You’ll need proof of Canadian citizenship (birth certificate or citizen certificate), two supporting pieces of ID in your new name, two photos, one signed by a guarantor and required fees. You’ll also need your marriage certificate (original or a copy.) 

Social Insurance Number

You’ll also need to change your name attached to your Social Insurance Number with the Canada Revenue Agency. You must do this change in person (There are exceptions, if you live more than 100km from a Service Centre, classic Canada, wide open spaces) at a Service Canada Office. Don’t forget to bring: your social insurance number, if you haven’t memorized it, your marriage certificate and another piece of ID. You can also change your marital status and link your account to your spouse’s number.

Remember to use promo code JAMIED5 to save $5 off a kit!

Bank Account

If you’re opting for a joint account (which we did!), you’ll need to go into the bank with your spouse. Randy joined my bank, so I needed a) my marriage certificate to change my last name and then b) he needed his ID to add him to our new joint account.

Credit Cards

The procedure for this will vary from company to company. Some credit cards will be fine with a phone call and providing your new married name, others will want a copy of your marriage certificate mailed in with a copy of your ID. 

& Everything Else!

The items listed above are the major things to change after your wedding, but you’ll find even after all of this paperwork, you’ll still see your maiden name popping up throughout your first year of marriage! Other places I’ve had to change my name include: gym membership, naturopath, doctor, massage therapist, etc.

I hope this list has helped you SO much and really made changing your name something you can look forward to instead of dreading. I loved seeing all my new ID arrive! 

Start building your name change kit at www.easynamechange.com/ca. Don’t forget to save $5 at checkout with voucher JAMIED5!

  • Sé Paterson

    Thank you for laying it out so clearly! My fiancé and I are getting married in a week and the task was feeling a little daunting. It’s good to know that I can just relax about it until our marriage certificate comes in the mail.

  • tangosun1@gmail.com

    Thanks so much for this list!!! The BC government makes it a real hassle to change your name and you can’t do any steps in the wrong order or else you waste a day in beaurocratic limbo. Add the CRA as they need a laborious call from both the husband and wife – CRA 1-800-959-8281

  • Annakins

    I’m going through the name change process as I write this. MSP takes about 4 weeks so make sure you fax your documents in rather than mail. Also, if you own a home in your name you need to change the Land Title and notify city hall for taxes. I was not able to change my last name over the phone with CRA so I had to fax a letter in and that takes another 4 weeks! If I knew it would be this much of a pain, I just would have kept my last name…..

  • Michelle Kearns

    I called msp and they changed it in the computer and I was able to go and change things at ICBC right away this week, weird that different people are having different experiences…thanks for all the help, so nice to have this all in one place!

  • Jaime T

    May I ask whether you have to apply for a legal name change with vital statistics as well?

  • Monika Waber

    You only need to complete a legal name change if you plan to combine or hyphenate your new and old last names.

  • Monika Waber

    I’ve had this page bookmarked since May, and now I’m finally able to get started on this crazy process now that my PR is established- extra crazy, since I’m updating/replacing immigration docs, BC IDs and US passport. Thanks for posting this, it’s such a great help.

    I want to add that when I called MSP today, I was told that I cannot update my name over the phone: they want me to mail a copy of my marriage certificate with my landing records, but made no mention of sending me any kind of confirmation. It seems every time I deal with them these days I get more vague and varied information…

  • channy

    Thank you! This was so helpful and I will be forwarding it on to my other friends!

  • Jana P

    If you already have a joined banking account as my now husband and I did, when you make your name change you will need to have him there to resign banking documents.

  • Mercedes Hemphill

    Thank you for the helpful information. However, I’d like to point out that by saying things like ““Mrs. ‘his last name’”” and “If you moved in with your husband” make some strong assumptions.

    Sincerely,

    Mrs. ‘her last name’

  • Kim Krieger

    Big time. This entire article is incredibly heteronormative. How about some gender-neutral language? It’s 2016, after all. :)

    Sincerely,

    Ms. ‘Myownlastname’

  • Mercedes Hemphill

    Yes!

  • Julia

    If you are doing “Myownlastname” this blog wouldn’t apply to you.. I don’t think Jamie is implying that keeping your maiden name is a bad thing.. shes trying to be helpful. Perhaps your comments would be useful somewhere else.

    Thanks Jamie! I think the majority of us reading this blog, really appreciate you taking the time.. out of your own very busy schedule, to help out with what can be a very confusing process.

  • LowSlash

    If Ms. “Myownlastname” is considering a name change, much like I (a married Ms. “Myownlastname”) am, then this article totally applies! These criticisms are aimed at the language that implies that the only people reading this article are women who are interested in changing their name to that of their husband. When in reality, many people in same sex couples are interested in taking their spouses’ names. Not to mention that there are men who take their wive’s names. It’s not even so much a criticism as an reminder to the writer of the article to be a little more mindful of her pronouns. It IS a very helpful article, and one that I’ve personally looked at numerous times while trying to decide whether to stay Ms. Myownlastname or become Mrs. Myownlastname Hislastname.