Friday, December 9, 2011

Name Change - 2 ways to do it

One caller during a radio show wanted to inquire about Name Change during citizenship interview. He explained that he is a green card holder and is applying for citizenship in two weeks. He wanted to change his name. A friend had told him that he has to change name by filing the petition with name change.

There are two ways to change name:

1. If you are a permanent resident (aka green card holder), you can change your name as part of your naturalization if a court in your area conducts naturalization oath ceremonies. Otherwise no name change can be recorded on your Certificate of Naturalization unless you already changed your name legally (such as by marriage) before completing the naturalization process.

If you decide to change your name, you will be required to complete a Petition for Name Change during your interview. Petitioning the court to change your name may delay the date of your oath ceremony, in some cases. If you petition to change your name, the new name will not be legally binding until after your oath ceremony. The new name will appear on your Certificate of Naturalization. You can start using the new name. No other legal formality is required.
During the last citizenship interview with a client, the interviewing officer at Immigration Service (USCIS) had client sign the form right there and my client will now use her new name and get citizenship certificate with such new name as well.

The U.S. of Citizenship and Immigration Services (formerly known as the INS) does not process petitions for a name change after naturalization. However, you still may change your name after naturalization by other legal means.

2. The other legal method is by filing the Petition for Name Change in Superior Court of California in your local county. The procedure also requires having to publish the Notice of Name Change in a local newspaper for 3 weeks first. And then going before a Judge after furnishing the proof of such publication with the court. A judge conducts a bare skeletal hearing and confirming certain representations in the Petition for Name Change. The judge then signs the Order of Name Change Petition. You can then start using your new name.