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.
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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?
When I got married back in 2014, I spent a few days combing through every part of my life that required a name change and filling out the appropriate paperwork. After this mammoth task was complete, as a Vancouver wedding photographer, I wrote the following guide as a resource to my clients.
In the nearly 10 years since I first wrote this blog post, I’ve become familiar with a brilliant company called Easy Name Change kits. (Ahh, I wish I had known about them when I got married.) Instead of spending hours filling out paperwork and triple-checking that I wasn’t forgetting any details, I could have just bought a name change kit for $35 and called 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! By no means am I an expert in this area, but I’ve tried to detail what helped me in the process. Best of luck!
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.)
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
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 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.)
If you’re opting for a joint account, you’ll need to go into the bank with your spouse. My husband 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 included:
- Gym Membership
- Health care providers (doctors, specialists, optometrists, massage therapist)
- All other insurances (home, life, income protection)
- Communications (cell phone)
- 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. I remember being newly married, and finding it so fun to see my new ID arrive in the mail each week.
Overwhelmed by the name change process?
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