I'm a wedding and portrait photographer living in Vancouver, BC with my husband Randy. I photographed my first wedding when I was only 17 years old - and I've photographed over 200 weddings since! I am an avid bookworm, lover of green tea, pretty nail polish & my Labradoodle Harley. Thanks for visiting!
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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.
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.
B.C. Driver’s License
Car Insurance (ICBC)
B.C. Health Services Card
Social Insurance Number
Phewf! Where to start? Let’s start at the top.
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.
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.)
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.
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.)
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!
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.
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.
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!