Legal Change of Name Information
In Alberta, do all change of names require the formal completion of a legal change of name application?
No, there are different options depending on your circumstance. For example a name may be changed in the following situations without a legal change of name. It is advisable to contact the Vital Statistics office with your particular situation before you begin a legal change of name.
Married Last NameThere are no legal requirements to change a name after marriage. When a person wishes to use a new married last name, he/she may assume his/her new spouse's last name or a combination of his/her current last name and the new spouse's last name. In Alberta, this change is not considered a legal change of name.
AmendmentsIn some cases, a correction to a person's name does not require a legal change of name and may be changed through the amendment process when the person is born in Alberta.
Change in ParentageWhen adding or deleting the father/co-parent from the birth record of a child younger than 12 years of age, the child's name may be changed at the same time. In Alberta this is not regarded as a legal changes of name.
In Alberta, are there name restrictions when completing a legal change of name?
Yes. The legal change of name information guide provides information on common restrictions and limitations when choosing a new name. The new name:
- must contain a first name and last name
- must use the English alphabet
- cannot contain numbers, non-letter characters and/or profanity
- may only contain the following punctuation marks: period (.), hyphen (-), apostrophe (')
- can only contain limited types of accents (please ask a registry agent for the complete list)
- A name can also be refused by the Registrar of Vital Statistics if it might:
reasonably be expected to cause confusion, be a cause of embarrassment to any person, be used in a manner that could defraud or mislead the public or, be objectionable on any other grounds
Will my legal change of name be public information?
Yes. All legal change of names processed and finalized in Alberta are public information and must be advertised in the Alberta Gazette. You may provide a court order than dispenses with the Alberta Gazette publication, but the information remains public and anyone may search for the information. If the legal change of name should be confidential, a different kind of court order that seals the legal change of name record is required. Court orders must be issued by the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench. Please contact the Vital Statistics office if you have any questions regarding a legal change of name being public information.
How do I submit fingerprints for a legal change of name?
Fingerprints must be obtained from a fingerprinting agency in Alberta. There are two types of fingerprints. Effective May 01, 2014 only electronic fingerprints will be accepted. All application submitted with manual fingerprints will be returned unprocessed.
- Electronic fingerprints are taken through an electronic device such as a LiveScan machine and are electronically transmitted to the Canadian Criminal Real Time Identification Service (CCRTIS) in Ottawa. CCRTIS will send you a confirmation letter. A copy of the electronic fingerprint report (C-216C form) or the confirmation letter must be submitted with your legal change of name application.
- Manual fingerprints are taken with ink on the fingerprint form and the original fingerprints (not a photocopy) will be given to you by the fingerprinting agency at the time the fingerprints are taken. This original form (C-216C) must be submitted with your legal change of name application.
To locate a fingerprinting agency/department near you, go to the RCMP detachment Website at www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/ab/det-eng.htm and contact the detachment closest to you. The RCMP detachment will know where the closest fingerprinting agencies are located; also many RCMP detachments are able to do fingerprinting themselves.
Note: Please contact each service provider to confirm cost and estimated completion time.
Do I have to order new certificates once I legally change my name?
Yes. You must surrender all Canadian birth and marriage certificates as part of the legal change of name application process.
- If you were born or married outside of Alberta, you must contact the Vital Statistics office within that jurisdiction.
- If you were born or married in Alberta, the surrendered Alberta certificates will be cancelled and replaced free of charge as part of the legal change of name process with certificates reflecting the new name.
Who can apply for a legal change of name?
A legal change of name can only be processed for Alberta residents who are 18 years of age or older. An applicant must be a resident of Alberta and remain a resident of Alberta throughout the change of name application process.
A person who is in Alberta temporarily, maintains a regular residence outside of Alberta, is in Alberta on a temporary visa (e.g. student, work etc), or is a tourist or visitor is not an Alberta resident and is not eligible to apply for a change of name in Alberta.
If you are younger than 18 years of age and wish to legally change your or your child's name, you may be the applicant if you are one of the following:
- legally married
- living in an adult interdependent relationship
- the parent of a child
- the guardian of a child
How can I obtain an application?
The legal change of name application form is available at all registry agent offices.
How much does it cost to legally change a name?
In addition to the Alberta government fee per application form, and the RCMP Civil Fingerprint Screen Services fee of $25.00 per person, registry agents are authorized to charge a service fee. Contact a registry agent office for payment details.
What kind of information is required to process an application?
Depending on the circumstances, identification, consents, dispensations, court orders, affidavits, proof of marital status or guardianship orders may be required to process a legal change of name.
How do I submit an application?
An application for a legal change of name must be requested and submitted through a registry agent office. Applications mailed directly to Vital Statistics will be returned unprocessed.
Once Vital Statistics approves and processes the legal change of name, a Change of Name Certificate is mailed to the mailing address listed on the application form.