FAQ

Vital Statistics

Birth



What is paternity?

What is legitimization?

If I was born outside Alberta, do I have to register the event with Alberta Vital Statistics?

Marriage



Do I have to change my last name when I get married?

When applying for a marriage licence, are blood tests required?

If I was married outside Alberta, do I have to register the event with Alberta Vital Statistics?

I am getting married outside Alberta. Do I have to do anything with Vital Statistics in Alberta?

The marriage officiate who performed our marriage gave us a marriage statement/certificate. Why isn't it accepted?

We are planning to get married in Alberta. Where do we purchase a marriage licence?

Where do I get a copy of my divorce documents?

How do I change my last name back to my maiden name?

Is there a mandatory waiting period between the time the licence is issued and the marriage ceremony?

Ordering Certificates



I wish to purchase a birth, marriage or death certificate and the event happened outside Alberta. Whom do I contact?

How long does it take to get a certificate?

How do I know if I need a certificate or a Photocopy of Registration of an event?

How do I access Vital Statistics records?

Legal Change of Name



How do I legally change a name?

Death



Where do I get a copy of a will?

Corrections/Amendments to Registrations



How do I make a correction or change to a Vital Statistics record (For LAST Name changes see "Legal Change of Name")?

Birth

What is paternity? Back to the top

When the parents of a child are not married to each other, the father must acknowledge paternity and both parents must jointly request the surname chosen for the child by signing paternity forms. This lists the unmarried parents on the Registration of Birth. For more information regarding the paternity process, contact the Vital Statistics office.

What is legitimization? Back to the top

This is the process used to alter the birth registration of a child born out of wedlock, to show the natural parents of the child have since married each other. For more information regarding the legitimization process contact the Vital Statistics office.

If I was born outside Alberta, do I have to register the event with Alberta Vital Statistics? Back to the top

Only events which occur in the province of Alberta are registered by the Alberta Vital Statistics. Vital events are only registered where they occur.

Marriage

Do I have to change my last name when I get married? Back to the top

The wife has the following choice of surnames to use after marriage:
  • her maiden name
  • a previous married name
  • her current husband's surname
  • any combination of the above providing it is not more than 2 surnames.
The new combined name may or may not have a hyphen. As a result of traditions and common practice, the use of the husband's surname by the woman after marriage is legally accepted in Alberta. A legal change of name for a wife in such situations is not required. A married man may use his wife's surname after marriage, however, this is not a recognized tradition or common practice, therefore, the husband may have difficulty using his wife's surname when conducting business affairs. To avoid difficulties a legal change of name could be undertaken by the husband. As it is customary for the wife to take the husbands' surname, the changing of the surname on identification is not usually problematic. The wife presents her Marriage Certificate, proving she is married to the man whose surname she wishes to use, and the identification is changed. It is suggested that confirmation with each organization be made, as to what they require to make the change.

When applying for a marriage licence, are blood tests required? Back to the top

No. Vital Statistics ended blood testing in 1986.

If I was married outside Alberta, do I have to register the event with Alberta Vital Statistics? Back to the top

Only events which occur in the province of Alberta are registered by the Alberta Vital Statistics. Vital events are only registered where they occur.

I am getting married outside Alberta. Do I have to do anything with Vital Statistics in Alberta? Back to the top

No. All the licensing documentation requirements will be according to the laws of that jurisdiction. The marriage event will be registered where it took place, outside Alberta.

The marriage officiate who performed our marriage gave us a marriage statement/certificate. Why isn't it accepted? Back to the top

Statements/certificates are required by the Marriage Act to be issued by the marriage officiate. These documents are to confirm that a marriage has taken place; however, they are not a legal document. When a legal confirmation is required a Certificate of Marriage issued from the records of Vital Statistics must be obtained.

We are planning to get married in Alberta. Where do we purchase a marriage licence? Back to the top

Marriage licences are purchased from any registry agent. Consult the registry agent listing for a registry agent close to you or the Yellow Pages under Licensing Services.

Where do I get a copy of my divorce documents? Back to the top

Vital Statistics does not record divorces. Contact the court house in the town or city where the divorce was granted. (See Alberta Courts.)

When unsure of where in Canada the divorce took place, contact:
Central Divorce Registry
P.O. Box 2730, Station D
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 1W7
Telephone: (613) 957-4519



How do I change my last name back to my maiden name? Back to the top

In normal circumstances, a woman has assumed her husband's surname without a formal legal change of name. In this case the woman may revert back to her true legal name, which her birth certificate will reflect. The wife presents her Certificate of Birth proving her maiden surname that she wishes to use, and the identification is changed. It is suggested that confirmation with each organization be made, as to what they require to make the change. If the marriage took place in British Columbia, Ontario or Quebec, contact that province's vital statistics department to confirm a legal change of name has not been processed. If the marriage took place outside Canada, check the customs of that country.



Is there a mandatory waiting period between the time the licence is issued and the marriage ceremony? Back to the top

There is no waiting period between receiving the licence and the marriage. The marriage may take place the same day the licence is issued, but no more than three months from the date the licence is issued as the licence expires after three months.

Ordering Certificates

I wish to purchase a birth, marriage or death certificate and the event happened outside Alberta. Whom do I contact? Back to the top

Contact Vital Statistics in the province where the event occurred. For more information, go to Canadian and other Vital Statistics offices.

How long does it take to get a certificate? Back to the top

When an application is received for a registered vital event that is fully and correctly completed, documentation can be produced within two to three days. When the documentation is needed within a specific time frame, make the registry agent or Registry Connect aware and provisions can be made to accommodate the situation.

How do I know if I need a certificate or a Photocopy of Registration of an event? Back to the top

Certificates and Photocopies of Registrations are very different from each other. They look different and the information they contain is different. Certificate - specific and limited information taken from a registration document and transcribed to a certified certificate made of bank note paper. Births and marriages come in two sizes: small and large. Death certificates are available in the large size only. Stillbirths are not available in certificate form.

Photocopy of Registration - Photocopies are rarely needed by citizens and are, by law, for restricted use only. They are generally only required for court or consulate purposes. They are not used as identification. This is an actual copy of a registration completed at the time of the event. Available in this format are births, stillbirths, marriage and deaths. Copies of legal change of name certificates may also be issued in this form. To know which style you need for a specific reason, it is suggested that you contact the organization that needs the document for confirmation of style.

How do I access Vital Statistics records? Back to the top

The records of Vital Statistics are confidential and can only be accessed by eligible individuals. For Alberta residents, application for specific documents must be made through a registry agent. Non-Alberta residents can contact Registry Connect for more information.

Legal Change of Name

How do I legally change a name? Back to the top

To legally change a name, complete a "Change of Name" form. Depending on the circumstances, presentation of identification, fingerprints, court orders, dispensations, statutory declarations, proof of marital status, custody orders may be required. To process a legal change of name, an individual may:

  • complete the forms themselves
  • seek legal council to assist them with the form requirements
  • contact a registry agent and have a clerk assist them with the forms

In all cases, the final approval, processing and production of the "original" legal change of name certificate is done by the Vital Statistics office. All legal change of name forms may be obtained from a registry agent. Once the legal change of name has been completed and is registered with Vital Statistics, a change of name certificate is issued to you. Additional certificates can be purchased through a Registry Agent. When a married woman wishes to use her married surname, which is her husband's surname, a legal change of name is not required. For information or clarification on the legal change of name registration process, contact the Vital Statistics office in Edmonton.



Death

Where do I get a copy of a will? Back to the top

Vital Statistics does not keep a Wills Registry. Please contact:

Public Trustee Office
4th Floor, John E. Brownlee Building
10365 97 Street
Edmonton, Alberta
T5J 3W4

Telephone: (780) 427-2744

or

Surrogate Court Law Court Building
1A, Sir Winston Churchill Square
Edmonton, Alberta
T5J 0R2

Telephone: (780) 422-2434



Corrections/Amendments to Registrations

How do I make a correction or change to a Vital Statistics record (For LAST Name changes see "Legal Change of Name")? Back to the top

From time to time the records of Vital Statistics may require corrections/amendments. Amendments may be a result of errors made at the time of registration or may reflect a desired change. Requests for amendments can be made directly to the Vital Statistics Office and require statutory declarations supported by acceptable documentation. There is a $20.00 amendment fee when correcting/altering a registration. Exception: A fee is not applicable when the amendment request is made within 90 days from the date of the event. NOTE: A last name change, in most situations, is not considered a Correction or Amendment to a registration. A last name change is more involved and it is advisable to contact the Vital Statistics office with your specific situation, as circumstances will vary. For more information or clarification on the amendment process, contact the Vital Statistics office.