Guide to altering your personal name.

There are various reasons why people change their names, from reverting to an old name after divorce to changing the surname of their child, religious reasons, and even political purposes.

It is legal to change your name, except when done with the intent to commit fraud or crime. However, if you are considering changing your name in Canada, you must be aware that different procedures may apply depending on the province. Here are some important things to keep in mind when changing your name in Canada:

  • The process of adopting a new name legally is called a name change.

If you are at least 19 years old (or between 14 and 18 in some provinces) and not involved in crimes against humanity, you can apply for a passport name change. If you are below this age, your parents can complete the process on your behalf.

How to request a change of name in Canada

Foreigners residing in Canada can also change their names. However, to do so, they must provide a complete application form and a statutory declaration that has been signed by a notary public, commissioner of oaths, or commissioner of taking affidavits.

The requirements for changing names vary depending on the province. Ensure that you understand what is needed in your province before you begin the process.

Each province has an independent organization responsible for changing names. Contact the relevant government agency in your province to get started.

In Alberta, one of the prerequisite for a name change is that you should not be enlisted in the high-risk criminal registry. Once you fulfill this requirement, you can proceed to:

  • - Find your supporting documents.
  • - Fill out the name change application form.
  • - Contact a fingerprint scanning firm to begin the process of submitting digital fingerprints.
  • - Submit the application form and pay the $120 application fees.
  • - Surrender your existing birth certificates.
  • It takes at least 6 weeks and at most 8 weeks to complete this process, and successful applicants will keep their new name permanently.

In British Columbia, there are three options for applying to change your name. The first option is to do it online, but this is only available to individuals who are at least 19 years old (not their dependents). The second option is to download the adult or minor application form, fill it out, attach the necessary documents, and mail everything to the vital statistics office along with a payment. The third option is to complete the walk-in application process at an office of the Vital Statistics Agency.

In the province, it is possible for applicants to physically visit any Service BC location to deliver their application in person.

The cost of a legal name change in British Columbia varies between $27 and $137, depending on the specific type of name change.

Once you have submitted your application, it typically takes 6 to 8 weeks to receive notification of your name change, and you are allowed to retain your new name for as long as you like.

If you live in Ontario, you can download the necessary application forms via the government website. Alternatively, you can request for the forms to be delivered to your address by contacting ServiceOntario using their provided contact details. Once the forms are completed along with the necessary documents and service fee, it can be filed to the office of the registrar general through the available mail address or by visiting Service Ontario's name change center. The cost of processing the request in Ontario is $137, or $22 if the application is submitted with a parent's name change form. It's worth noting that children between the ages of 16 and 17 will need to provide proof of consent from adults with legal custody before changing their names. Foreign citizens must have lived in Ontario for a minimum of 12 months before applying to use the legal name change service.

If you've applied for a single name, or to reclaim it, the processing time is likely to be longer, although most requests are completed within 6 to 8 weeks from the date of application. Successful applicants can keep their new name or change it again at any time.

In Quebec, anyone over 14 years of age is eligible to request a name change. However, applicants must first undergo preliminary analysis to ensure their eligibility before continuing with the application process. This requires a sworn statement, and public notice must be given to anyone with an interest in the name change. Those filing to change the names of children aged between 14 and 18 must notify their parents or guardians, and parents requesting their child's name change must inform their child of their intentions. The cost of processing a name change request in Quebec is between $27.50 and $136, depending on the specific application requirements. It typically takes 90 business days to process the request, assuming all necessary documents are provided during the application process.

It is possible to make name change applications from outside Canada, though the specific process and requirements will vary. In such cases, it's important to apply to change the name on Canadian passport details before returning to Canada. Notifying the Canada Revenue Agency and other government agencies is also advisable. It's important to note that changing back to your original name requires the same application process as before.

It's important to remember that procedures for changing your name differ depending on the province and may involve online application, mail delivery, or in-person filing. Costs and age restrictions also differ from province to province.

Despite any variations, the procedure remains consistent, as the necessary paperwork and permissions remain unchanged. Those seeking to alter their name should take note that they are accountable for informing pertinent government entities of their updated name after a successful implementation. It is imperative that they finish the passport name alteration process in Canada."

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