Q: Name change on green card help!!!
I got married to a U.S. citizen in my home country of El Salvador. I didn't get my name changed at the time, but want to now. I came to the U.S. a few months after getting married on a student visa. Due to complications with the school I planned to attend, along with my first baby on the way, I didn't attend school. I applied for Permanent Residency a few months after arriving in the U.S. During the interview with the USCIS agent I asked him to change my name on the card to my Husband's last name. I just got my green card in the mail and the name wasn't changed. I called the USCIS office and they said they saw that they were supposed to change it but for some reason did not. Should I got forward with changing the name, they said it would be free since it was their mistake. I wonder if it is ok to do this since in my home country of El Salvador I didn't have my name changed and I never legally changed it here. We never filed our marriage in the U.S. or anything like that.
A: Congratulations upon being approved for Permanent Resident status. Generally, when a woman becomes married and desires to embrace her husband's last name as her own, the law will recognize that new name without any necessity for filing a marriage certificate or taking other steps to accomplish the name change. From an immigration legal standpoint, having the USCIS issue a replacement "Green Card" with your husband's last name shown as your last name, will not be consequential for your ability to continue to be a Permanent Resident or to become eligible to apply for naturalization. If you decide to seek a replacement "Green Card," be prepared for the USCIS to take a long time to complete its responsibilities.
In keeping with Justia policy, this communication is intended as general information and not legal advice, and it does not create an attorney-client relationship.
David N. Soloway
Frazier, Soloway & Kennedy, PC
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