How to update a green card after changing your first or last name: step by step instructions
There are several reasons why you might want to change your green card name. Every day people get married and divorced, which often leads to a formal change of name. Others may simply decide to change the surname to a more Western style after immigrating to the United States. Whatever the reason, changing a name on a green card is relatively simple. More details about this procedure were told by the publication Citizen path.
It is important to understand that the name change must occur before you update the green card. That is, you will need registered copies of your marriage certificate, divorce order, adoption order, or other court-issued document certifying that your name has been changed by law. With this in place, you can proceed to change the name on your green card.
Legal name change
In the United States, you can change your name for any reason. Ultimately, name changes are governed by state law, so the rules differ from state to state. But adopting a new name isn't limited to marriage, divorce, etc. You can just wake up and decide to change your name.
In most cases, you will need to apply to your local authority. There will likely be a small fee and legal notice in the local newspaper may be required to announce the name change.
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If you do not already have a registered copy of the name change document, you will need to request one. One photocopy is not enough. Name change documents submitted to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as proof of name change must be registered with the appropriate civil authority.
Fill out Form I-90 to change the name on the green card
With proof of an official name change, you must file Form I-90, Application to Change Permanent Resident Card. When asked if your name has changed “legally since the issuance of your permanent resident card”, you must answer “yes”. You will have the opportunity to write your new name.
You will choose “my name or other biographical information has been legally changed since the issuance of my existing card” as your reason for applying. USCIS will print your new name on the new green card.
Correction of the name in the green card
Sometimes it is necessary to change the name because USCIS made a mistake. Unfortunately, this happens too often. Green cards arrive by mail with the wrong spelling of the name and very often it is not the fault of the applicant.
In these cases, you will need to select “My existing card contains invalid information due to a DHS error” on your I-90 form. Unfortunately, this poses a problem. You will be required to provide a valid green card when filling out the I-90 form. The good news is that there are no application fees and no biometric service fees required. You must attach to your application:
- Original permanent resident card with incorrect information. A copy of the card will not be accepted.
- Confirmation of your correct name or biographical data that you correct. For example, provide a copy of the original court order with your name or a registered copy of your original marriage certificate, divorce certificate, birth certificate, adoption order, passport, or related court documents.
You will be left without a green card until a new one is sent. This usually takes several months. You can get an I-551 stamp on your passport as temporary proof of your permanent resident status. Once you receive the I-797C, Notice of Action (Notice of Receipt), make an appointment at your local USCIS office to receive the stamp.
Change of name during the naturalization process
Did you know that you can change your name during the naturalization process? It is not necessary to first receive a new green card. There are actually two ways - before naturalization or during naturalization.
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If you recently changed your name, you can submit your official document with the changed name (marriage certificate, divorce decision, etc.) along with Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. USCIS will use your new name on the naturalization certificate.
When permanent residents apply for naturalization using Form N-400, they have the option to request a name change when granted US citizenship. This allows for more Americanized names to be adopted. A petition for a name change is prepared and sent to a federal court during the naturalization process. No additional costs. The name change becomes final upon naturalization of the applicant by a federal court. Again, USCIS will use your new name on your naturalization certificate.
Of course, you can change your name even after naturalization. You may need to renew your certificate of naturalization. To do this, fill out Form N-565 "Application for Replacement of Citizenship Document". Again, you will need proof of your legal name change again. USCIS will provide you with a new certificate that will include your new name.
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