This past week I finally completed the process of changing my name after marriage! And let me tell you, no one warned me how long, drawn out, repetitive and tedious it would be! Did I mention frustrating?!
I’ll save you from the gorey details, but lets just say it took nearly 12 months, countless hours and dozens of repeated applications! My experience may not be that of all future wives, but if I can save even one of you from the trouble, I think I’ve served you well!
So without further ado, I present to you a master guide to changing your name after marriage in British Columbia.
1. Marriage Certificate
Throughout the entire process you’ll be required to show official proof of your marriage, ie: your marriage certificate. If you plan to mail in your applications or apply online, you’ll need reigstered copies from the government. To do this, order multiples upon applying for your initial.
If you’re like me and you prefer human contact, where you can ask any and all necessary questions at once, ie: you’ll be applying through most of this process in person, then your one certified copy is enough.
This process should take roughly 2-4 weeks, depending on the time of year you apply.
2. Medical Services Plan – MSP CareCard
As of 2013, you need to have your Health Care updated prior to applying for a new drivers license. Simply have yourself added to your Husbands plan or him to yours.
In addition, for the sake of both your medical records and your medical services plan, it’s essential that you update your care card to match your other ID. To do so, you must apply for a replacement.
Note: As of July 2014 | The New BC Services Card now includes Driver Licence and MSP (Care card) as one card. In order to have this, MSP needs to be notified first before going to the Motor Vehicle branch and MSP takes about 30 days to process.
3. Drivers License
As your drivers license is typically your primary piece of ID, I suggest updating it first or as soon as you recieve your marriage certificate. It’ll be used throughout the entire process of changing to your married name, along with your official marriage certificate for proof of authentication.
4. Social Insurance Number – SIN Card
While it’s a card many of us rarely think about, it’s our legal obligation to keep our sin card up to date for medical purposes. From the time of a successful application to receiving your new card, it should take roughly 2 weeks for completion.
NOTE: As of March 2014, they no longer issue a physical SIN card. Instead, they will issue a letter.
Changing your passport to your married name can be one of the more challenging steps in this process, simply because the route you take depends on multiple factors. You will more than likely need to apply for a passport as if it were your first time, using the General Adult Passport Application.
Keep in mind there are multiple circumstances that can sway whether or not you must apply in person at a government agent office or the official lower mainland passport offices. Amongst the greatest concerns, is whether or not you plan to travel in the next 30 days. If so, head directly to the official offices located downtown vancouver and surrey.
- Passport Application Information
- Passport Canada Processing Details
- Passport Office Service Locations
- General Adult Passport Application
NOTE: As of Oct. 20, 2014, the name that appears in the passport will be the same name that is on the proof of Canadian citizenship, however, there are some exceptions.
6. Revenue Canada
It’s important that you inform CRA of your change of name for taxation purposes, as well as for your medical records, as the health care division of British Columbia is billed and managed by Revenue Canada. Luckily it’s a simple phone call that lasts less than 5 minutes!
You will need the following information:
1. Your Assessment Notice to prove your identity. (They will ask specific line items from that Assessment Notice).
2. To tell them you are changing your marital status from Single to Married and you will need your spouse’s SIN number to do so.
3. After you change your name/marital status with CRA, your spouse is also required to call and update his/her marital status and will need your SIN number as well.
7. Bank Accounts, Credit Cards + Payroll
Unfortunately, there’s no easy 1,2,3 plan for changing over your bank accounts, credit cards and payroll to reflect your new married name. Thankfully, none of them are time sensetive or vital to completing this process of changing to your new married name officially. Besides your credit cards, which you will likely use to as your second piece of ID regularly, the above can be changed over time.
KME advice: As bills come due, pay day approaches and you finally have a need to run inside the bank, take the time to update your records then.
8. The fun stuff
I’d bet my last penny that most newlyweds will get to changing over the fun stuff before getting to the official ones. I’m talking email signatures, online accounts such as your blog bio and social media platforms, like your facebook and twitter accounts. So as time permits and your excitement motivates, be sure to change over your cyber presence to reflect your new married name.
So there you have it, lovelies: A no non-sense, complete guide to changing to your married name in British Columbia, Canada. Have questions or know of a great service that can help lessen the stress of this process, email me. I’d love to know about it!
ps: I’ve presented the above in the proprer order of priority, to minimize wait time, repeated visits to the government office and delays between seperate document applications!
**Please note this guide was written in 2011 and updates spuratically. As guidelines and government procedures change throughout the years, be aware the above may have changed.
pps: For those of you busy bodies, who would prefer to have the fuss and logistics of changing your name handled for you, there’s a nifty “Easy Name Change” kit available Here. We’re excited and proud to start offering these kits, complementary to all KME clients.