Legal Change of Name Application

This section contains information about who can apply for a legal change of name, what steps are required, and what documentation you need to submit with your application.

The average legal change of name application takes four to six weeks to process. We cannot process applications that are missing documentation or payment.

Topics on this page:

 

Situations Not Requiring a Legal Change of Name

Name Change Following Marriage

Section 3 of the Name Act allows you to assume your spouse’s surname after marriage without completing a legal change of name. In most cases, changing your name on bank accounts, social insurance number, driver's license, and other agencies is as simple as showing your current identification and your marriage certificate.

There are only a couple of circumstances in which you would need a legal change of name to take a spouse's name:

  • If you want to create a new surname by adding your birth surname as a middle name, or combining it with your spouse's surname. e.g. Smith-Jones or Smith Jones; or
  • If you want to update your immigration or citizenship documents to reflect a new name or a married surname

If you were born and/or married in B.C., changing your surname legally will change your surname on your birth certificate and your current marriage certificate. If you were born or married outside of B.C. but within Canada, contact your birth/marriage province to find out how it will affect your record.

Reverting to the Use of a Birth Surname

If you assume a spouse's surname, you can choose to revert to the use of your birth surname at any time. To change your name on bank accounts, social insurance number, driver's license, and other agencies, present your marriage certificate and birth certificate or Canadian Citizenship Certificate to prove the link between the two surnames.

Changing the Given Names of a Child Born in B.C.

British Columbia allows the amendment of a child's given name(s) in these two situations:

  1. The child was born in B.C. and is under one year old.
  2. The child was born in B.C. and you can provide certified evidence that they used the proposed given name(s) prior to turning 12. Examples of evidence include:
  • Baptismal records
  • School records
  • Immunization cards
  • Dental and health records
  • Aboriginal band records

All parents listed on the birth registration must complete a Statutory Declaration Re: Amendment of a Given Name on a Birth Record (VSA 411) (PDF, 660KB). Amendments cost $27, plus the cost of witnessing the parents' signatures, certifying documents, and replacing birth certificates.

Who Can Apply for a Legal Change of Name?

To be eligible for a legal change of name, applicants must be:

  • 19 years of age or older (Exception - If you are younger than 19 years old and a parent with custody of your child, you may apply for a legal change of name for yourself and/or your child without consent of your parent(s).)
  • changing their own name, or the name of their child for whom they have custody who is 18 years of age or younger; and
  • living in B.C. or having a permanent residence in B.C. for at least three months prior to the application date

Ways to Apply for a Legal Change of Name

Option 1

Apply and pay online with a credit card. Currently, this option is restricted to applicants 19 or older who are applying to change their own name and not the names of any children.

Submit a printout of your application along with all required documents by mail or in person to the addresses we provide at the end of this section.

Option 2

Complete an Application for Change of Name (VSA 529) form (PDF, 1.02MB) All applicants must complete Parts1 (a) and (b). If you are a parent changing the name of your child, you must also complete Part 2.

Submit the Application for Change of Name along with all required documents and payment in person or by mail to one of the following:

By Mail

Vital Statistics Agency
ATTN: CONFIDENTIAL SERVICES
PO Box 9657 Stn Prov Govt
Victoria, B.C.
V8W 9P3

In Person

Go to any Service BC location.

Cost

Adult (19 years of age or older) without dependent child (18 years old or younger)

$137

Adult (19 years of age or older) with dependent child (18 years old or younger)

$137 + $27 per child

Child (18 years of age or younger)

$137 for first or only child $27 per additional child

Birth or Marriage Search

$27 if event occurred in B.C. and an original certificate is not enclosed

 

The cost of a legal change of name includes a Certificate of Name Change listing the old and new names of all individuals involved in the application. It does not include a new birth or marriage certificate.

Additional Costs

  • Fingerprinting
  • Criminal record check
  • Witnessing your signature on a statutory declaration
  • Certifying documents
  • New identification following the name change

Note: Service BC representatives can witness your signature, and copy and certify documents to submit with your application for a small fee.

Required Documentation

The table below describes the different types of applicants for name changes. Every time a description on the left side of the table matches your circumstance, you should submit the documentation listed to its right in the table.

If you...

Submit this...

Are an adult,19 years of age or older who was born in Canada.

An original Canadian birth certificate. We can only accept birth certificates that include a registration number - commemorative certificates are not accepted.

Are an adult, 19 years of age or older who was born outside of Canada.

certified copy of both sides of your most recently issued Permanent Resident Card or Canadian Citizenship Card/Certificate.

Are both 18 years of age or older AND changing your name A photocopy of the receipt you receive when paying for fingerprint service.

Have changed your name before in Canada.

Your original Change of Name certificate(s).

Have documents that are not in English.

Certified English translations of the documents.

Got married in B.C. and are not divorced or widowed.

Original British Columbia marriage certificate(s) or photocopy if the marriage certificate already lists the exact proposed name. The certificate must include a registration number and cannot be a marriage licence, a commemorative certificate, or a certificate issued by a church.

Got married outside of B.C. or Canada.

A photocopy of the marriage certificate is only required if it explains the use of a surname on a submitted document or that is written on the application.

Are changing the name of your child who was born in Canada.

Your child’s original Canadian birth certificate listing the name of the parent(s).

Are changing the name of your child who was born outside of Canada.

Certified copies of the following:

Provide certified English translations if these are not in English.

Are changing the name of your child, but the name you use now is different from the one listed on your child’s birth certificate.

Documentation showing how you came to have your current name. (i.e. marriage certificate(s), change of name certificate(s), letter of explanation.)

Are changing your child’s last name to the last name of your spouse.

photocopy of your marriage certificate and your spouse’s consent.

Changing the name of your child

Parents:

  1. A photocopy of picture ID for all parents listed on each child's birth registration (i.e. driver’s licence) showing their current addresses. The applicant’s address on the ID must match the residential address on the application. A copy of a recent utility bill in the applicant's name (e.g. BC Hydro bill) is acceptable proof of the current address if i s not listed on identification.
  2. A court order showing the applicant has custody or guardianship, OR a letter stating there is no custody or guardianship order in place.

Children 12 to 18 years old:

A short letter written in ink by your child providing his or her reasons for wanting a change of name.

Remember to have your child sign the application on page 7.

Fingerprint Information

If you are 18 years of age or older AND are changing your name, the Name Act requires you to have your fingerprints taken as part of a criminal record check. If you have a criminal record, the name change is noted in the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) database. Fingerprints are only used for the purpose required by the Name Act and confirmation of the criminal record review is returned to the applicant directly from the RCMP.

Effective July 1, 2014, only electronic fingerprints are accepted. You can have your fingerprints taken electronically at any of the following facilities:

  • Most RCMP detachments
  • Vancouver Police
  • Victoria Police
  • Any RCMP-accredited fingerprinting company or its affiliate who submit fingerprints electronically for the purposes of criminal record checks. For a list of accredited companies and information about affiliates, visit: http://www.rcmp.gc.ca/en/where-do-get-a-criminal-record-check

What Fingerprint Information to Submit with your Change of Name Application

Once you have paid for the fingerprinting service and criminal record check, the fingerprinting official will give you a receipt. Submit a photocopy of the original receipt with your application. Do NOT send the Vital Statistics Agency a copy of your fingerprints or criminal record check results.

Required Consent when Changing a Child’s Name

If you are changing the name of your child...

You must obtain consent from...

And a second parent is listed on your child’s birth registration

And your child is 12 years of age or older

  • Your child.
  • See Part 2 (page 7) of the application. Your child must also hand write a brief letter stating why they want the name change.

To match the last name of your spouse

  • Your spouse.
  • See Part 2 (page7) of the application.

Requesting a Waiver of Parental Consent

The Name Act allows for consideration of a waiver of the other parent's consent. The following is a list of situations for which a waiver of parental consent may be approved. If you would like to request a waiver of the other parent’s consent, consider which situation described below best describes yours and provide all the requested information.

Situation A

The other parent cannot be located after a reasonable, diligent and adequate search has been conducted as demonstrated by the statutory declaration and supporting evidence maintained in the change of name file.

What you need to provide:

  • Custody order (obtain an order from the courts prior to applying to legally change the name of your child

  • A completed statutory declaration from page 9 of the application. List the full mailing address, phone numbers, email addresses and any other contact information for the parent whose consent is to be waived

If you are unaware of the other parent’s whereabouts:

  1. Provide a list of the efforts you have made to determine his/her location; and
  2. Proof of attempted contact or conversation thread regarding the change of name through social media (e.g. Facebook), texting, email threads, etc.
  • If you are registered with the Family Maintenance Enforcement Program (FMEP), include a copy of your latest statement. If you are not registered with FMEP, include a statement indicating that you do or do not receive support from the other parent.
  • A brief letter handwritten in ink and dated by the child if they are 12 years of age or older. Have your child describe why they would like a change of name.

Situation B

The person whose consent is required is deceased, proven by a copy of a government-issued death certificate maintained in the change of name file

What you need to provide:

  • A copy of the death certificate of the person whose consent is to be waived
  • Custody/guardianship order or a letter to state no order is in place

Situation C

A person whose consent is required is unreasonably withholding their consent.

What you need to provide:

  1. Provide proof of attempted contact or conversation thread regarding the change of name through social media (e.g. Facebook), texting, email threads, etc.
  2. If you are registered with the Family Maintenance Enforcement Program (FMEP), include a copy of your latest statement. If you are not registered with FMEP, include a statement indicating that you do or do not receive support from the other parent.
  • A brief letter handwritten in ink and dated by the child if they are 12 years of age or older. Have your child describe why they would like a change of name

Situation D

A person whose consent is required is mentally disordered, as demonstrated by statutory declaration and supporting evidence.

What you need to provide:

  • Custody/guardianship order or a letter to state no order is in place
  • A letter from a physician/court order stating that the person whose consent is to be waived is incapable of understanding what they would be signing
  • A brief letter handwritten in ink and dated by the child if they are 12 years of age or older. Have your child describe why they would like a change of name

Situation E

Exceptional circumstances make it unreasonable to seek the consent of the other parent. Unless you can provide a valid court ordered restraining order/no contact order between the other parent and the child(ren) this option does not apply.

What you need to provide:

  • Custody/guardianship order or a letter to state no order is in place
  • One of the following:
    • A court ordered no contact order
    • A court ordered restraining order
    • A letter from the police indicating you would be in danger if you attempted to contact the parent whose consent is required
  • A brief letter handwritten in ink and dated by the child if they are 12 years of age or older. Have your child describe why they would like a change of name

Notes:

  • The requirements identified here are a guide only and the registrar general of the Vital Statistics Agency has the authority to ask for additional information
  • Statements made in a statutory declaration are considered the equivalent of statements made in a court of law and may provide the basis for action against the applicant if they are proven to be fraudulent