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How to Obtain a Permanent Resident Name Change

In the United States, the green card issued to permanent residents serves purposes beyond indicating their legal immigration status. The biographic data contained in this document also makes it an official form of identification. To this effect, green card holders are legally required to keep their personal information up to date.

Whenever permanent residents undergo a legal name change, they are expected to go through the process of updating their information on their immigration documents. This is a common process for women who get married in the U.S., a country where wives are customarily expected to take the last name of their husbands. This would be one occasion that merits a name change. Another instance would be if the green card holder decides to revert to her maiden name after a divorce.

Many American jurisdictions allow residents to change their names for reasons other than marriage or divorce. A green card holder who performs as a musician may choose to make his or her artistic name legal by means of a name change request filed in the county court where he or she resides. Courts will accept this request as long as there are no debt or legal issues that would be negatively affected. If a permanent resident has filed for bankruptcy, he or she must first obtain a discharge document from the court before the name change request can be granted.

As soon as a court order or decree is issued to indicate the name change, permanent residents should start the process of amending their I-551 green cards. Here are the steps:

  • The court document indicating the legality of the name change should be the original or a copy certified by the county clerk. This document must be included with the packet of forms to be reviewed by a processing center of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
  • Legal residents can ask San Diego naturalization lawyers to handle the process on their behalf. Otherwise, they can travel to a local USCIS office or start the process online.
  • The USCIS form that needs to be completed and submitted is the I-90. The fees as of 2018 include $455 for processing plus $85 for biometrics. The total must be paid even if USCIS case adjudicators determine new fingerprints are not required.
  • In most cases, the USCIS processing center will mail the amended green card using the existing photograph and fingerprints. However, residents who received their green cards many years ago may be required to report to their local USCIS office to update their biometrics.
  • Once the amended green card is received, residents should not use their previous document. Attempting to do so for legal business could be considered a fraudulent crime and may complicate matters for those who are seeking U.S. citizenship services in San Diego.

For more information on immigration services in San Diego, CA, contact the trusted immigration attorneys at KS Visa Law. Schedule an appointment today by calling 858-874-0711.

May 2024