How to Change Your Name in BC After Marriage

If you’re a newlywed in British Columbia, then getting used to your new last name is probably at the top of your to-do list. So if you’re interested in learning how to change your name after marriage in BC (and have a bit of fun doing it!), this blog post is for you.

Looking for an easy way to save hours of your time?

If you’re not interested in spending hours of your time changing your name—I highly recommend you purchase an Easy Name Change kit. For just $35, you can purchase a kit that’s customized to help Canadians change their name after marriage. The best part? It comes with a money-back guarantee. If you’re not happy for any reason, they’ll provide a full refund.

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Is changing your name after marriage required?

According to the Government of BC website, you do not have to change your name after marriage in BC. It’s entirely up to you. “After marriage, you can choose to continue using your own surname (last name), or you can start using your spouse’s surname. Assuming your spouse’s surname does not constitute or require a legal change of name under the Name Act.”

How do you take on your partner’s surname after marriage?

According to the BC Marriages Act, after marriage both partners have the freedom to either keep their original surnames or take on their partner’s. All it takes is one document (a marriage certificate) and that name change will be official—you don’t have to do a “legal name change” with the government. Instead, you can simply update all of your documents using your marriage certificate as proof of your new last name.

How long does it take to change your name in BC?

Many brides (or grooms) who change their name, spend multiple weeks combing through every part of their lives and documentation that may require a name change and filling out the appropriate paperwork. A much better alternative would be purchasing an Easy Name Change kits. Instead of spending hours filling out paperwork and triple-checking that you aren’t forgetting any details, you could just buy a name change kit for $35 and call it done. :)

But whether you decide to save yourself hours by buying a name change kit, or try the do-it-yourself route to save a couple bucks—I hope this blog posts helps you!

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

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.

B.C. Driver’s License

If you moved in with your partner after the wedding, 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
  • 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
  • your insurance papers

Canadian Passport

For many, this can be the last place to change your name—as often flights are booked a few months out! It is no issue at all to keep your passport in your maiden name, but change everything else to your married name. 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 can now do this change online on the Government of Canada website. (You can also change your marital status and link your account to your spouse’s number.)

Bank Accounts

If you’re opting for a joint account, you’ll need to go into the bank with your spouse. You will need your ID and marriage certificate to change your last name and then your partner will need their ID to be added to your 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.

Everywhere 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 to change your name include:

  • Gym Membership
  • Health care providers (doctors, specialists, optometrists, massage therapist)
  • All other insurances (home, life, income protection)
  • Communications (cell phone)
  • Utilities
  • Travel rewards
  • Memberships (gym, library)
  • Subscriptions & online services (Netflix, Amazon, Google)

I hope this post has helped you and will make changing your name something you can look forward to instead of dreading. :)

Overwhelmed by the name change process?

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  1. Sé Paterson says:

    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.

  2. tangosun1@gmail.com says:

    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

  3. Annakins says:

    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…..

  4. Michelle Kearns says:

    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!

  5. Jaime T says:

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

  6. Monika Waber says:

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

  7. Monika Waber says:

    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…

  8. channy says:

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

  9. Jana P says:

    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.

  10. Mercedes Hemphill says:

    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.


    Mrs. ‘her last name’

  11. Kim Krieger says:

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


    Ms. ‘Myownlastname’

  12. Mercedes Hemphill says:


  13. Julia says:

    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.

  14. LowSlash says:

    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.

  15. k Mandick says:

    Does gender neutral matter if you dont know what to legally call yourself and you have no legal ID-
    Please FOCUS on the point at hand not your sexuality!!!!!!!

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I’m Jamie! I capture joyful wedding and portrait photos that feel like you—through easy, natural posing. Since 2008,  I've photographed over 270 weddings and nearly 300 family sessions and it’s a joy to spend my career capturing natural, joyful images!

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