After getting married, you have the choice of retaining your maiden name or changing your last name to your spouse’s last name. Some people will do this informally but retain their maiden name on all their legal documentation, but there is a formal legal process to change your name. If you do not want to change your name completely, you can combine your name and your spouse’s name using a hyphen.
When you informally assume your married name, you can use it to introduce yourself, however, your maiden name will remain on any kind of formal document. If you are being sponsored as the spouse of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, it is better to keep your original maiden name until the sponsorship process is completed, otherwise your new name will be inconsistent with your other documents, including your passport. This could cause problems with the immigration application since the immigration authorities will expect your name to be consistent on all legal documents.
Once the sponsorship process is completed, you can then takes the steps necessary to formally change your name and have your documents amended accordingly.
The process of changing your name involves submitting your documents by the officiant after the wedding ceremony. After the documents are submitted, you can apply for your marriage certificate ten weeks post registration of the marriage. When your application is successful, you will receive your marriage certificate. When the officiant submits your marriage documents, you will get a Record of Solemnization of Marriage, which is not a marriage certificate. You can only get the certificate once the marriage is registered by the officiant.
You can begin your name change process by taking your marriage certificate and other identification documents to the relevant service office. You can change your health card, photo ID card and driver’s license. You can also change other documents including vehicle registration, passport, and social security number and so on. When you submit your application to change your name along with your marriage certificate, you will receive a new birth certificate with your new name.
The best thing about the name change process is that you can revert to your maiden name no matter if you are still married, divorced or separated without needing to give a reason. It is still quite a long process to revert back and most people often do not do it because of the inconvenience it causes but it can be done. You simply need to provide the documents that show the link between your married name and maiden name. In case you were born abroad, you can provide your citizenship certificate. Your foreign marriage certificate can also be accepted if you got married abroad and your union is recognized by the government of Canada.