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Name Change Before, During or After Naturalization?

Discussion in 'US Citizenship' started by smariner, Apr 20, 2009.

  1. smariner

    smariner Registered Users (C)

    When’s the ideal time to change one’s last name (assuming the person is eligible for naturalization)?
    1. Before naturalization (Indian passport, GC, SSN, etc needs to reflect this --- I assume that this is somewhat more laborious)
    2. During naturalization (I don’t believe that our local field office of USCIS in WA state offers this option)
    3. After naturalization – does this option lead to additional paperwork/hassles if one later decides to move back to India OR when getting OCI/PIO (since the Indian records will not have a reference to the new name)? Will it cause problems if one re-applies for the Indian citizenship/passport after a name change as a US-Citizen?
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 20, 2009
  2. Bobsmyth

    Bobsmyth Volunteer Moderator

    Option one may lead to delays during application process as it requires them to cross check your previous names during the name check process. Also, you would need to pay for name change.

    Option two is available to every applicant, regardless of DO. There may be a slight delay in processing as some DO only have judicial oaths every few months. Application fee covers name change.

    Option three seems easiest since you change your name after you obtain citizenship. As for delays with OCI/PIO, the OCI/PCI application process would most likely ask for your previous name and new name along with name change certificate. I'm sure they deal with this kind of scenario often as other Indians decide to change their names during or after N-400 process.
  3. Eaglesfan

    Eaglesfan Registered Users (C)

    You are correct regarding first two but you might be wrong on third option. Third option not only involves the immigration but also the paper ads, judge and getting security clearances etc unless it is marriage based last name change.

    My personal opinion is to get it done during the citizenship unless it is a marriage based last name change.
  4. Bobsmyth

    Bobsmyth Volunteer Moderator

    How does the third option involve immigration? Once you become a citizen you can apply for a name change in the court system without having to go through USCIS. And what security clearances are you referring to?
    There was a recent poster who successfully applied for a name change after naturalization without any of the issues you stated.
  5. Eaglesfan

    Eaglesfan Registered Users (C)

    If you change your name don't you have to change your citizenship certificate.

    When I said clearance I mean for regular name change procedure. I inquired about it in PA. These are the steps we need to take

    1. File the application in court
    2. Give paper ad
    3. Get the police clearance. We need to go to certain Govt office and get the FP done. It is the responsibility of the person to get the clearance and file it in the court.

    I got the above info from dist. court in PA....
  6. Bobsmyth

    Bobsmyth Volunteer Moderator

    If you change your name after the oath (regular name change) , you don't need to change your naturalization certificate as the name change document shows you have changed your name. For example, when applying for a passport you would send it naturalization certificate along with name change document. There's absolutely no need to obtain a new naturalization certificate first.

    As for the providing police clearance records, there are no additional background security check that can take months with USCIS.
  7. hii19

    hii19 Registered Users (C)


    Ususlly how long does it take to change the name?
  8. Bobsmyth

    Bobsmyth Volunteer Moderator

    If it's done as part of the naturalization process it could add a slight delay depending on your DO and the availability of judicial oaths. At some DOs there's no delay as they are authorized to perform judicial oaths.

    If done after the naturalization process, my guess is the name change request takes effect a few days after you submit the required documents to the court.
  9. smariner

    smariner Registered Users (C)

    Here's what I heard from a couple of people -- has anyone tried doing this?

    Assuming that a lady wants to have the name changed from her maiden name to her married name --- it should not require a "legal name change". Instead, the following process should be considered (assuming the person is currently/legally married):

    1. On Part 1.A. of the naturalization application, list the married name in the “Family Name (Last Name)” field.
    2. On Part 1.B. of the application, include the maiden name in the “Family Name (Last Name)” field – assuming that the maiden name is reflected on her green card.
    3. On Part 1.D.1 of the application, mark the box “NO” to the question “Would you like to legally change your name?”

    This is possible since the married last name can be considered her current legal name.
  10. Lolitochka

    Lolitochka Registered Users (C)

    what do you mean by "regular name change"? I am planning to change my both first and last names, would that be more complicated? Also, you mentioned that there were other people here who successfully changed their names after becoming USC, i am trying to search those threads here, but i cant find them. Is there any way you could provide a link, please?
  11. Bobsmyth

    Bobsmyth Volunteer Moderator

    Regular name change means name change done outside of naturalization process. Changing both first and last name is still one process, meaning not more complicated. What are your concerns at this point?
  12. Huracan

    Huracan Registered Users (C)

    I would do 1 or 2 if the DO offers it. I believe some offices don't do name change, period. For example San Jose I don't think they do name changes. At least they didn't a few years ago. If you change name after naturalization you'll have to use your old certificate with your new court papers to obtain passport and things like that. If you do it before or during naturalization you'll end up with a certificate with your changed name that you can use for obtaining passport and any other document under your new name. I wouldn't be scared about any delays because of checking your old name, it probably won't have any impact. Go ahead and change name ahead of naturalization or during naturalization if your office entertains the idea of judicial naturalization.
  13. Lolitochka

    Lolitochka Registered Users (C)

    Thank you, Bob,
    no concerns, just want to make sure I have all the info before starting the process of name change
  14. Lolitochka

    Lolitochka Registered Users (C)

    Do you need to change your name first on your passport or driver's license? I mean, would they accept the court order on name change for new passport purposes even if you bring your old DL as a second ID? Or, do you need to change your name on your DL first and then go to the passport agency?
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 7, 2010
  15. Jackolantern

    Jackolantern Registered Users (C)

    Natz. certificate + name change order will allow you to obtain the new DL or passport, in either order. You don't need the passport to get the DL or vice versa.
  16. Bobsmyth

    Bobsmyth Volunteer Moderator

    The naturalization certificate serve as both a proof of citizenship and identification for passport application purposes. No need to present DL since you have naturalization certificate and name change document.

  17. vchepurnova

    vchepurnova New Member

    How can I change my name after Naturalization?

    2 months ago I passed my naturalization test. The examiner asked me whether i wanted to take my husband's last name. I had no time to think of it and decided to do it. After that when I came home i did lots of research about how to change my names in my another passport (I have another citizenship in Russian Federation) and realized that it would be too complicated and a procedure will take a couple of months which i must spend over there. So, my question is: Is it possible to take back my previous names and change my naturalization certificate???
    Thanks in advance )
  18. Jackolantern

    Jackolantern Registered Users (C)

    Are you sure you can't get it done through a Russian consulate in the US? Or with the help of a lawyer in Russia who can handle most of the procedures for you while you wait in the US, so you wouldn't have to be in Russia for more than a few days (or perhaps not at all)? Or do they have a simpler process for marriage-based name changes?

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