Legally changing your name in Alberta is a lengthy process, but we have helped many people to complete a Legal Name Change and we can help you too.
When is a Legal Name Change not required?
There are many cases where you can legally assume another name without undergoing the lengthy and expensive Legal Name Change process.
If you have recently got married, you don’t have to go through the Legal Name Change process – just bring in your marriage licence and we can change the name on your driver’s licence or ID card. If your marriage licence is not in English, you will need to provide a certified translation.
If you have been using your spouse’s last name and now wish to revert back to your maiden name, you may do so by presenting either your birth certificate or your marriage certificate which state your maiden name. We can use this supporting documentation to change your Alberta Driver’s Licence, ID Card and Alberta Health Card.
You also do not need to do a Legal Name Change if you are correcting a mistake on the birth record. If the birth was in Alberta, ask us about getting a Birth Certificate Amendment. If the birth occurred outside of Alberta, you will need to contact the jurisdiction where the birth occurred in order to amend the birth record. When the amendment is received, you can bring it to us so we can update your Driver’s Licence or ID Card (if required). If the amendment document is not in English, we will need to see a certified translation.
Parents can change a child’s given (first) name if the child is under the age of 10. This change can be processed as a birth record amendment.
It may also be possible to amend the birth record in cases where a biological father and mother apply together to have the father’s name added to the birth record, in which case the last name can be changed as an amendment.
If you are adopting a child under the age of 12, you can change the child’s last name at the same time. We recommend that you contact Vital Statistics at 310-0000, then 780-427-7013 (toll-free) for questions related to this process as amending parentage can be complicated.
Restrictions for Choosing a New Name
Your new name must contain a first name and a last name. It must use the English alphabet. It cannot contain numbers, non-letter charcters (i.e. $) or profanity. It can contain these non-letter characters: period (.), hyphen (-) or apostrophe (‘). A name can be refused if it causes confusion, embarrasses the person, defrauds or misleads the public or causes offense on any other grounds.
Legal Name Change Requirements
- You are eligible to apply if you are over 18 and an Alberta Resident. If you are under the age of 18, you may apply if you are a parent or guardian of a child and/or legally married or living in an adult interdependent relationship.
2. You also must be able to provide valid government-issued ID with your full name, photo, and a unique identification number. If the ID contains an expiry date, it must not be expired. If the document does not have an expiry date, it must have been issued within the previous 5 years. Examples include: driver’s licence, provincial identification card, treaty status card, citizenship card, permanent resident card, passport, etc.
3. You will also be required to show or submit a Legal Name Document.
If you are born in Alberta and you don’t have a birth certificate, you don’t need to provide one. If you were born in another province in Canada, you will need to surrender your original Canadian birth certificate. The birth certificate will not be returned. Please note that for a Legal Name Change for a child, the parent’s names must appear on the birth certificate.
If you were born outside of Canada, you must show your original Name Document to your registry clerk. A notarized copy is acceptable in cases where an original cannot be obtained.
4. Electronic fingerprinting is required for all persons 12 years of age or older. We can provide a referral to an agency to provide this service; cost is additional.
5. If you are legally married, you will be required to provide a Marriage Certificate. All original Canadian birth certificates must be surrendered. If you were married in Alberta and do not have a marriage certificate, Vital Statistics will access the marriage record and you won’t be required to provide one. If your marriage certificate is not in English, you will need to provide a notarized translation.
6. If you have legally changed your name previously, please be prepared to disclose and document all previous names.
Cost of Legal Name Change
Our fee for Legal Name Change applications is $250 for one person. We can add additional dependent family members for an additional $10 per person fee. This fee includes the Commissioner for Oath for the Applicant’s Affidavit.
How to Apply for a Legal Name Change
The first step is to come to our office and request a Change of Name Application and Information Guide. We will walk you through the process, but we recommend that you take the package home and take the time to read it carefully. You should expect for the process to take up to three months and there will be additional delays if Vital Statistics requires any additional documentation.
Please note that Legal Name Changes are generally published in The Alberta Gazette. If you do not want your name to appear in this publication, you will need to apply for a court order from the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench. Information about this is provided in the application.