When and how to change your name on your Green Card
A permanent resident card, commonly known as a green card, must reflect the holder’s correct name. A green card is issued to new immigrants as proof of their legal resident status in the U.S. So it is important that this document has the holder’s correct name and other personal information like their date of birth.
Name change can happen for any reason and is not restricted to marriage or divorce. The rules to have an individual’s name changed vary from state to state. Applicants will generally be required to file paperwork at local government offices in their states. They will need to pay the required fee and follow instructions. Once they get the copy of their legal name change document, they can file the green card name change application.
They must provide court issued documents or their divorce or marriage papers to show that they have legally changed their name. Only after that can they apply for a green card name change.
The renewal form needs to be filed to get a green card renewed or replaced. Green card renewal is the process that legal residents will need to go through every ten years. That is because a green card is valid only for a ten year period, after which it will expire. Since this card is issued as the proof of one’s legal residency in the U.S., legal residents will need to make sure their cards are valid and up to date. Though the expiration of the card will not cause the expiration of the holder’s status in the U.S., legal residents must remember to renew their cards every ten years.
Green card replacement that can be done using the same form is meant for those who want to get their green cards replaced for reasons including a name change or to get a lost or destroyed card replaced.
Changing your name at Citizenship
Green card holders who wish to become U.S. citizens can get their names changed when they apply for naturalization. They will also need to provide the new name they would like to use. Many choose to change their names when they apply for citizenship as they can do it at no extra cost.
However, it is possible to change the name at the time of applying for citizenship only if the naturalization oath ceremony will be held in a court, presided over by a judge. A name change cannot be done if the oath is administered by a USCIS officer.
Special Note: A green card MUST be on your person at all times, failure to do so is a federal misdemeanor. So do not copy it and carry the copy! Carry the real card!
If you have a case that involves green cards or questions about another immigration matter, please give me a call at 386-310-2914.