US Immigration News

How to Change Your Legal Name On Your Green Card

3.75 minute read
"Do you want to change your legal name on your Permanent Resident Card or Green Card? There could be several reasons why someone might want to change their official name on a government-issued document. This includes getting married or divorced or just wanting a more Western name after immigrating to the US. Despite the reason, it is a simple process to change your name on your Green Card."
Written by My Visa Source Team
Published on:  Jun 7, 2021
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Do you want to change your legal name on your Permanent Resident Card or Green Card? There could be several reasons why someone might want to change their official name on a government-issued document. This includes getting married or divorced or just wanting a more Western name after immigrating to the US. Despite the reason, it is a simple process to change your name on your Green Card. 

The one thing to remember is that your name change must be finalized before applying to update your Green Card. Meaning that you must have your registered marriage certificate, divorce decree, adoption decree or any other court-issued document stating that your name was changed due to the legal process. 

How to Change Your Legal Name in the United States?

Changing your name in the United States is not limited to reasons such as marriage or divorce. Many people chose to rename themselves for several reasons, for example, after a gender-affirming surgery, to adopt a more westernized version, etc. One can easily apply at a local government office for a name change by filing some paperwork. There might be a small fee and the requirement of publishing your new name in a local newspaper as an announcement. 

You can request a copy of your name change document if you don’t already have one. However, for immigration purposes, you must submit the document registered with the proper civil authority. A normal photocopy of your document would not suffice the requirement. 

How to Apply for Name Change on Your Green Card?

Once you have the required legal document for your name change, you can easily file Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card. This form is used to renew or replace your Green Card if it has been lost, stolen or destroyed or just expired. This form is available on the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website. 

You can just answer yes to the question asking if your name has been legally changed since the issuance of your Green Card. You can also file this form for the sole purpose of changing your name. In that case, you can select, “My name or other biographic information has been legally changed since the issuance of my existing card.” The USCIS will issue you a new Green Card with your new name. 

What If There Was an Error in Your Name?

It happens that the USCIS can make an error while printing your name on the Green Card. If a Green Card arrives with your name misspelled, then it is not your fault. In such cases, you won’t be required to pay any biometric service fee. You will be required to file Form I-90 for the reason that your existing card has incorrect information due to an error of the State Department. You would also be required to submit the following documents along with this application:

  • Original Green Card with incorrect information
  • Legal document stating your correct name, for example, a marriage certificate, divorce decree, birth certificate, adoption papers, other court issued documents, etc

The one challenge in such cases is that submitting your original Green Card to correct it will leave you without one for several months. To avoid any trouble, you can get an I-551 stamp on your passport as proof of your permanent residence. You can schedule an appointment at your local USCIS office to get this stamp as soon as you receive your I-797C, Notice of Action. 

How Can You Change Your Name While Becoming a US Citizen?

It is a common question among immigrants who have applied for US citizenship. Some events may lead you to change your name during your naturalization process. Therefore, you must ensure that your Certificate of Naturalization has your new name to avoid confusion. There are 2 ways to do this:

During Naturalization: 

You have the option of requesting a name change when you are granted US citizenship. This request must be made when applying for naturalization with Form N-400. This requires the applicant to petition for the name change to the federal court while applying for naturalization. Your name change will become finalized along with your citizenship application. The main benefit is that there is no extra cost. The USCIS will issue a Certificate of Naturalization with your new name. 

After Naturalization: 

You can update your Certificate of Naturalization to state your new name. This can be done easily after legally changing your name. You can file Form N-565, Application to Replace Citizenship Document along with the legal document reflecting your new name. A new certificate will be issued by the USCIS reflecting your new name.

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