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taxmanrog, Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 605
Experience:  Licensed CPA, MA, MST with 31 years' experience. Teach Accounting and Tax courses at Masters level.
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If an American citizen gets legally married in China to a

Customer Question

If an American citizen gets legally married in China to a Chinese citizen and the American citizen wants to change her name in the US to her new last name. Bringing her marriage certificate to a social security office is needed but it's in Chinese. How do they work with that? Do we have to pay for a translator to be part of this name change at the office? Your advice. Her husband will not be with her in the states yet is that ok for changing her name when she comes to visit?
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Social Security
Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 6 months ago.

Hello: This is Phillipsesq. Welcome to JustAnswer! I am reviewing your post, and I will post my response very shortly. Thank you for your patience.

Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 6 months ago.

You must produce a translated and certified/original copy of the Marriage Certificate. That is, you must produce a copy of the Marriage Certificate translated to English and the original Marriage Certificate. There is no need for a translator at the SSA's local office. If SSA desires, SSA can send the original Marriage Certificate to its approved Translator to translate.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Does this translated and certified/ original marriage certificate, must it come from China and be translated in English with some official certification? They have the original marriage certificate, but being all in Chinese what's the best way to have this done? Better in China before she comes home to visit? She will only be home a couple weeks before going back.
Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 6 months ago.

It would be better to get it translated in China.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Does the same office often send the original marriage certificate to its translator? Even if an English copy comes from China? If so how long will it take to issue a new card? Doesn't she need to prove she's married in the USA to her Chinese husband in the case she wants to move her new husband back with her in the next year? Is it better to start his Visa application while they live in China? She wNts to legally change her name on her as card and drivers license when she comes to visit. Sorry for so many questions. Hard to know these things since no one else has done this we know of.
Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 6 months ago.

What are you referring as to the "same office?"

You have now introduced issues that were not part of your initial post into your follow-up questions. So, I will opt out and give another Attorney the opportunity to further assist you.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I mean does the Socual Security Office often send the original marriage document to their translators as You mentioned earlier? Do you know how long it takes to complete getting a new social security card with a new married name when it's out of the country? Last question
Expert:  taxmanrog replied 6 months ago.

Hi! My name is Roger. I am a CPA who specializes in US taxation of individuals who work outside of the US as well as third country nationals who come into the US.

Congratulations on your marriage! I wish you both all the best!

I have run across your situation several times. It is your responsibility to get a certified copy of your marriage license. Then you take it to a translator who will give you a certified translation. Bring both of these to the Social Security Administration and they will change the name. Be prepared to leave both copies with them. I have not seen where they will question a certified translation by sending it to their own translator. That is the reason for paying for a good, accepted translation service.

Don't let her forget that even if she is living with you in China, she has a responsibility to file US income tax returns each year. If you would like to file jointly with her, you will have to obtain a Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). You do this by filing a Form W-7.

I hope this helps! If you have any more questions, please feel free to let me know, and I will be happy to answer.

Thanks! Have a great weekend!


Expert:  taxmanrog replied 6 months ago.

Hi! I was just following up to see if you have any questions. This question is still on my "open" list because you have not rated me yet. If you were satisfied with my services, please rate me highly. This will not change the fees that you paid, but it will close the question for me.