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Navigating Name Changes in Marriage-Based Green Card Applications: A Detailed Guide

When you get married and decide to change your surname, this change is officially recorded on your marriage certificate. This legal provision allows for a name change without requiring a separate court order, making the process more straightforward. However, challenges may arise when you apply for a marriage-based green card and find that your new surname doesn’t match the one on your passport or other identification documents. This raises an important question: should you submit the green card application under your previous name or your new married name?

Applying with a New Surname

Even if your passport still shows your previous name, you can apply for a green card using your new married name. All you need is your marriage certificate, which is a legally recognized document. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will accept this without any issues. When filling out immigration forms, you can use your married name and include your passport and birth certificate that show your previous name. Once approved, USCIS will issue the green card in your married name.

Sponsor/Petitioner Name Changes

If the Sponsor or Petitioner has changed their surname after marriage, they can complete the forms using their new married name. The marriage certificate serves as sufficient evidence for this change.

Travel Considerations

When traveling with a newly issued green card, it’s crucial to carry a copy of your marriage certificate along with your passport, especially if the passport still bears your previous name. This will resolve any discrepancies between your passport and green card.

Changing Names Post-Issuance

If you initially use your non-married name on the green card application and later decide to change it to your married name, you’ll need to file an I-90 application with USCIS. Be aware that this will incur an additional fee and may involve extended processing times. Therefore, it’s advisable to choose the name you intend to use regularly.

Consult an Immigration Attorney

The complexities surrounding post-marriage name changes and immigration can be challenging to navigate. For personalized guidance on navigating the complexities of name changes and immigration, don’t hesitate to contact Berardi Immigration Law. Our experienced team is here to assist you every step of the way.

*Please note that in the United States, the rules for name changes on marriage certificates can vary by state. Some states may allow for name changes directly on the marriage certificate, while others may require additional legal processes such as filing a petition for a name change in court. Therefore, it’s important to consult the specific guidelines and laws of the state in question for accurate information.

If you have any questions on the green card process, be sure to contact Berardi Immigration Law today