Change your name or the name of your spouse or child

Apply to legally change your name or the name of your spouse or child. You don’t need to complete this process to change your last name to your spouse’s last name.

Use the Change of Name Application Form to change your name, your spouse’s name or your child’s name.

You don’t need to complete this process to change your last name to your spouse’s last name.

Consent

The consent of a spouse may be required when a married person is changing their last name. The consent of the other parent may be required when a parent is changing the name of a child under 16 years of age. If you don’t have consent, you need to provide a court order that dispenses with (does away with) the need for consent.

If you need to provide consent, complete the Consent for Legal Change of Name (on the Change of Name Application Form). Sign the consent in the presence of a person authorized to take sworn statements, like a lawyer, justice of the peace, notary public or commissioner of oaths. The witness needs to affix (add) their stamp or seal. They might charge a fee for this service.

Fee waiver for residential school survivors

Residential school survivors and their families who want to reclaim a name that was changed by the residential school system can apply to have the fees waived for reclaiming their name (getting a Change of Name Certificate) and changes to records with the change of name (for example, Birth Certificate and Marriage Certificate). Contact Vital Statistics for more information about the waiver.

Fingerprinting

If you’re 12 or older, you need to get your fingerprints taken.

You can change your name if you have a criminal record. Fingerprinting matches your new name to your criminal record.

Children 11 or younger don’t need to have their fingerprints taken.

Changing your sex indicator

If you apply to change your sex indicator at the same time that you apply to legally change your name you need to use the Change of Name and Change of Sex Indicator Application - 16 Years of Age or Older Form (instead of using both the Change of Name Application Form and the Change of Sex Indicator - 16 Years of Age or Older Form). You also need to meet the requirements for changing your sex indicator.

Eligibility

You can apply for yourself, your spouse or your child if you’re 16 or older. You also need to meet 1 of the following criteria:

  • you were born in Nova Scotia
  • you have lived in Nova Scotia for at least 3 months immediately before applying for a name change

How to apply

  1. Contact Vital Statistics to get the Change of Name Application Form.
  2. Complete the application.
  3. Check the application for details on all required supporting documents.
  4. Include payment with your application.
  5. Send your completed application, supporting documents and payment by mail or fax. Or visit Vital Statistics or drop them off at Access Nova Scotia.
  6. If you’re 12 or older, complete the For Fingerprinting Agency chart (on page 5 of the application). Take the completed form with you to 1 of the following approved agencies and get your fingerprints taken: RCMP, Commissionaires Nova Scotia or municipal police department (or other police department providing policing services in the province).
  7. The agency submits the fingerprints to the RCMP’s Canadian Criminal Real Time Information System. If you’re 19 or older, the Canadian Criminal Real Time Information System notifies Vital Statistics that it received the fingerprints. If you’re 12 to 18, you get a notification in the mail from the Canadian Criminal Real Time Information System and you need to send the notification to Vital Statistics by mail or visit Vital Statistics.

How long it takes

It should take 6 to 8 weeks to get the Change of Name Certificate and any updated Birth Certificates or Marriage Certificates. It can take longer if more information is needed or if your form hasn’t been filled in correctly.

Cost

Activity Fee
Application (includes 1 Change of Name Certificate) $165.70
Application for residential school survivors (includes 1
Change of Name Certificate)
No cost
Additional people included on the Change of Name Application Form $24.95 per person
Additional people included on the Change of Name Application Form
for residential school survivors and their families
No cost
Amendments (changes) to records with change of name
(for example, Marriage Certificate)
$24.95 for each record
Amendments (changes) to records with change of name
(for example, Marriage Certificate) for residential school survivors
No cost

You may also need to pay for:

  • fingerprinting services
  • getting a signature witnessed by a person authorized to take sworn statements
  • new certificates from Vital Statistics
  • certificates required for births and marriages outside of Nova Scotia

See all fees for Vital Statistics certificates, licences and services.

Payment options

Visa, MasterCard, American Express, debit card, cheque, money order, cash. A cheque or money order should be made payable to the Minister of Finance. Payment options may vary depending on how you apply.

Before you start

Make sure you have:

  • Birth Certificates for anyone on the application who was born outside Nova Scotia (for children under 16 and born outside Nova Scotia, the Birth Certificate needs to include the names of the parents)
  • proof of residence (like a Driver’s Licence or Health Card) if you were born outside of Nova Scotia
  • any Marriage Certificates if married outside of Nova Scotia
  • immigration documents for anyone on the application who is changing their name and was born outside of Canada (depending on the date the immigration documents were issued, you may need to provide additional documents)
  • any necessary consents from a spouse or other parent, or a court order
  • witness available to sign documents if required