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 six to eight weeks to process. We cannot process applications that are missing documentation or payment.

Reclamation of an Indigenous Name

For information on reclaiming an Indigenous name, visit Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada - Recommendation 17 - Reclamation of Indigenous Names.

Topics on this page:

 

Situations Not Requiring a Legal Change of Name

Name Change Following Marriage

 

After marriage you are not required to complete a legal change of name to use your spouse's last/family name. Under Section 3 of the Name Act, you may continue to use your current last/family name, your spouse's last/family name or a combination of both last/family names. To update secondary ID documents, such as a Driver's Licence, Passport, or Services Card etc., you will have to contact the responsible agency directly (ICBC, Passport Office, HIBC, etc.) and ask them what is required to change your last/family name as a result of marriage. Please be advised that you will likely have to provide a copy of your birth and/or marriage certificate(s).

If you were born and/or married in B.C., changing your last/family name legally will change your last/family name 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 last/family name, you can choose to revert to the use of your birth last/family name 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 last/family names.

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, 1.2 MB). 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

IMPORTANT NOTE: Covid-19 update - Many fingerprinting agencies have now reopened. However, before beginning your change of name application, contact your local RCMP/Police department or accredited fingerprinting agency to ask if fingerprinting/criminal record check services are available at this time.

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:

Submit the appropriate 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.
NOTE: For a fee of $17 our Vancouver office, located at 250-605 Robson Street, can witness your signature on the statutory declaration and certify original documents

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: For a fee of $17, the Vancouver Vital Statistics office located at 250-605 Robson Street, can witness your signature on the statutory declaration and certify original documents

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.

All  original Canadian birth certificate(s). 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.

All your original Canadian Change of Name certificate(s). If you have had a previous change of name in Canada, your birth certificate or immigration document must be in your new name. 

Have documents that are not in English.

Certified English translations of the documents.

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

All original British Columbia marriage certificate(s) or photocopy if the marriage certificate already lists the exact new 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(s) of your child(ren)

Parents:

  • 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 it is not listed on identification.
  • Children 12 to 18 years old:

A brief letter handwritten in ink and dated by the child(ren) providing their reasons for wanting a change of name.

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

Fingerprint Information

PLEASE NOTE: Covid-19 update - Many fingerprinting agencies have now reopened. However, before beginning your change of name application, contact your local RCMP/Police department or accredited fingerprinting agency to ask if these services are available.

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. The receipt must show a date. The date on the receipt must be within 30 days of the date the application is received in the Vital Statistics Agency.

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 scenario below best describes your situation.

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/guardianship court order(s) for child(ren). You must obtain an order from the courts before applying to legally change the name for your child(ren)

  • 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 their location(contact with friends/family); and
  2. Provide proof of attempted contact or conversation thread regarding the change of name through social media (e.g. Facebook), texting, email threads, etc.
  3. Provide dates of last contact between the other parent/applicant and the other parent/child(ren)
  • 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(ren) if they are 12 years of age or older. Have your child(ren) 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 court order(s) for child(ren) 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(ren) if they are 12 years of age or older. Have your child(ren) 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 court order(s) for child(ren)
  • 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(ren) if they are 12 years of age or older. Have your child(ren) describe why they would like a change of name

Situation E

Exceptional circumstances make it unreasonable to seek the consent of the other parent. Some examples may include:

  1. You have sole guardianship of your child(ren) and all parental responsibilities of your child(ren)
  2. You have a custody/guardianship court order(s) for child(ren) AND one of the following:
    • A valid no contact order prohibiting the other parent's contact with the child(ren)
    • A valid restraining order prohibiting the other parent's contact with the child(ren)
    • A valid protection order prohibiting the other parent's contact with the child(ren)
    • A letter from the police indicating attempted contact with the other parent would pose a risk to the safety of the child(ren)
  • A brief letter handwritten in ink and dated by the child(ren) if they are 12 years of age or older. Have your child(ren) 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