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Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Immigration Law
Satisfied Customers: 99981
Experience:  Private practice in several areas, including immigration
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Hi, I am currently working here in the US on a H1B Visa which

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Hi, I am currently working here in the US on a H1B Visa which will expire towards the end of the year 2014. I will be getting married to a US Citizen this September. I would like to change my name to my husbands-to-be last name in the process of applying for a conditional green card to avoid having to change the H1B. I don't know where to start. Can you help me?
Hello friend. My name is XXXXX XXXXX welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: (1) this is general information only, not legal advice, and, (2) there may be a slight delay between your follow ups and my replies.

This process is actually quite simple. The following are the steps that you can take to ensure that your name properly is reflected on all documents:

1) First, you marry your fiance. After you marry him, you will receive paperwork confirming your marriage, i.e. the marriage certificate - ask to get at least 3 certified copies;

2) You then change your name on your driver's license (here) and SSN card (here);

3) Then, when filing with USCIS for anything else or simply this by itself, include a cover letter that explains your change of name and a copy of your updated SSN card and driver license with the name name as well as a certified copy of proof of marriage. You see, USCIS does not have a "NAME CHANGE" form unless it is for change of name on a greencard, so the cover letter acts as the request for the name change.

If you already receive your greencard without yet doing step 3, no worries. Simply file a form I-90 (here) with the proper proof and then USCIS will send you a card with your updated name.

I hope this helps and clarifies. Best of luck.

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.


Hi Ely,



Thank you very much for your quick response to my question. It seems fairly simple, but I still have some follow up questions. I just want to make sure I am doing everything right since I have read a fair amount of posts in forums about similar issues, and some people turn up with real problems. Here are some follow up questions that correspond with your #’s:



  1. Do I change my name on the marriage certificate to the new name already? That would be the first time I would use the name.

  2. I have read in other threads that the SSN office won’t accept the last name without the USCIS documents which I won’t have at that point. Maybe that was an unrelated post, I can’t remember. Have you heard of that before? What documentation will I need to present at the Social Security office as identity? My German passport will still show my maiden name as well as the H1B under my maiden name. Will that be a problem?


 


I would then want to apply at USCIS with my new name as described in your #3. That would be the conditional green card, right?


While the application is pending, will I be able to travel freely with my German passport and old H1B? Or will I need any other documentation?



Thanks again for your help,



Kirsten


Hello K,

Thank you very much for your quick response to my question.

It is my sincere pleasure!

It seems fairly simple, but I still have some follow up questions.

Of course, and this is what I am here for.

Do I change my name on the marriage certificate to the new name already? That would be the first time I would use the name.

The marriage certificate will be proof that you married, and will help affect the name change overall. In other words, you can tell the clerk at the time of getting the certificate if you wish to keep the name or not, and the paperwork should reflect this.

Once this is done, the marriage certificate serves as the main document that you use to change your name in any official and unofficial documents - DMV, SSA, USCIS, etc. Most will require a quick application and a copy of the marriage certificate to process the name change.

I have read in other threads that the SSN office won’t accept the last name without the USCIS documents which I won’t have at that point. Maybe that was an unrelated post, I can’t remember. Have you heard of that before? What documentation will I need to present at the Social Security office as identity? My German passport will still show my maiden name as well as the H1B under my maiden name. Will that be a problem?

Please do not believe everything you read. You can see what you would need to change your name on your SSA card here. For you, this would mean:

Marriage document;
Current Driver License;
Proof of immigration status including your Employment Authorization; and
Application for another SSA card (here)

My German passport will still show my maiden name as well as the H1B under my maiden name. Will that be a problem?

No, but keep proof of the marriage and the "paper trail" that shows your name change just in case when you travel. Eventually, you will want to change your German Passport too with the local German Consulate.

I would then want to apply at USCIS with my new name as described in your #3. That would be the conditional green card, right?

Right.

If possible, it is best to send in the request for a new name WITH THE CONDITIONAL GREENCARD application.

While the application is pending, will I be able to travel freely with my German passport and old H1B? Or will I need any other documentation?

Name change aside, you should not travel while your paperwork is pending with USCIS, I am afraid. If you must, an I-131 is needed prior to doing so - here. If you get this and travel, keep proof of your name change as explained just so you can show that the two names are XXXXX XXXXX person.

My wife has the same issue and she was quite fine.

Thanks again for your help,

Meine Freude und viel Gluck!

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