If you’re here then chances are you’re taking your spouse’s surname after marriage. While it’s super exciting to be starting life together, the thought of all the hassle associated with your name change is just the opposite. We’ve teamed up with Canada’s leading name change service to break your name change down to 6 easy steps. We explain how to do it yourself (handy if you’re a bit cash strapped after your wedding) and how to outsource it to save weeks of hassle (you’re welcome!)
We’ve teamed up with the experts at Easy Name Change in this XX part of our 5 part series on changing names, and this article is looking at Canadian newlyweds!
Meet the pro
Genevieve Dennis founded Easy Name Change in 2008. They provide ready to send forms, letters and emails along with fully researched company instructions. The company has helped over 1 million people transition to their new name.
Decide if you’ll do the research & paperwork yourself or outsource it
If you’ve got better things to do than spend all day on hold and searching each company’s website for their name change information (which is usually not posted online anyway), then a name change kit is the way to go. Good quality name change kits let customers choose all the companies they need, then receive ready to send paperwork that they can just sign and send off. It’s also a bit of a bargain for French Wedding Style customers at just $30! (Just use code FWSCA5, valid to end 2024)
On the other hand, if you have the time and want to save some cash then the overall name change process is much the same, but you’ll need to make a thorough checklist and contact each company directly to learn the process. See if the company has a special form, or else where you should send in your letter or email. Ask what proof and information to include.
Whichever way you decide, you’ll still need to go in person to get your driver’s license updated and likely your bank account too. Some companies need to see your original marriage certificate and record your signature on file.
Get proof of your new name (tip: it’s just your marriage certificate!)
Some good news – there’s no need to register any official change of name with the government! “It surprises so many customers to learn they don’t need to complete a legal name change form” says Dennis. “The only proof needed to take your spouse’s name is the official marriage certificate”. The marriage certificate allows for all common married surname changes; either swapping out your surname for your spouse’s, or adding your 2 surnames together.
If you were married in a religious ceremony you’ll need to apply for a legal name change with your provincial government/service office (Vital Statistics).
Ontario residents have a few additional options where they can file the married name change to be recorded on their birth certificate. You can read more about that in our special Ontario article, but there is no particular advantage or benefit.
FROM HERE, WORK YOUR WAY THROUGH YOUR CHECKLIST.
There’s no special order to updating your name, although it’s generally recommended you prioritize government organizations and update photo ID early on in the process.
In person name changes
These ones are a total pain in the neck. No matter if you get a name change kit or not, you need to go in person to some places so they can check your original marriage certificate and identification. These companies also want their staff to be present when they record your new signature.
Banks: Most banks need you to attend any branch in person. You can’t make an appointment in advance, but if there’s no queue you should be in and out in 10 minutes. Only smaller banks with very few to no branches let you change names by mail.