A permanent resident card, commonly known as a green card, must reflect the holder’s correct name. A green card is issued to new immigrants as proof of their legal resident status in the U.S. So it is important that this document has the holder’s correct name and other personal information like their date of birth.
In the case of a name change because of marriage or divorce, legal residents must contact U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to get their names changed on their green cards. The replacement process should be started by filing Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card, followed by submitting biometrics information.
Anyone applying for a green card name change will need to provide proof of legal name change. The name change can be due to different reasons including marriage, divorce or just to adopt a different name. Whatever may be the reason, it is mandatory to hold a green card that reflects the right legal name.
Form I-90 – Purpose
Form I-90 is the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) form that needs to be filed to get a green card renewed or replaced. Green card renewal is the process that legal residents will need to go through every ten years. That is because a green card is valid only for a ten year period, after which it will expire. Since this card is issued as the proof of one’s legal residency in the U.S., legal residents will need to make sure their cards are valid and up to date. Though the expiration of the card will not cause the expiration of the holder’s status in the U.S., legal residents must remember to renew their cards every ten years.
Green card replacement that can be done using the same form is meant for those who want to get their green cards replaced for reasons including a name change or to get a lost or destroyed card replaced. Form I-90 can be downloaded from the USCIS website and completed by hand or completed online.
Those filing the I-90 application to get their green cards replaced because of a name change, will need to answer “yes” to the question “Has your name legally changed since the issuance of your Permanent Resident Card?” This question comes under the first part of the I-90 application, “Information About You.” Followed by that, they will need to provide their new name.
Under Part 2 of the application, Application Type, applicants will have to provide the reason for filing the application. They will need to select “My name or other biographic information has been legally changed since issuance of my existing card.” Remember, USCIS will not accept an application to change the name on a green card if evidence of legal name change is not attached with the application.
Legal Name Change
Name change can happen for any reason and is not restricted to marriage or divorce. The rules to have an individual’s name changed vary from state to state. Applicants will generally be required to file paperwork at local government offices in their states. They will need to pay the required fee and follow instructions. Once they get the copy of their legal name change document, they can file the green card name change application.
They must provide court issued documents or their divorce or marriage papers to show that they have legally changed their name. Only after that can they apply for a green card name change.
I-90 Application Filing Fee and Filing Address
$455 is the Form I-90 application filing fee. There is an additional $85 biometric services fee. Applicants will need to pay $540 using a check or a money order.
Form I-90 can be filed online or mailed to the following address.
P.O. Box 21262
Phoenix, AZ 85036
1820 E. Skyharbor, Circle S, Floor 1
Phoenix, AZ 85034
Once the application is received by the USCIS and once the agency starts processing the applications, applicants will receive notification about their biometrics appointment. It is mandatory to carry with them their marriage or divorce papers or other legal name change papers to the scheduled appointment. USCIS will mail them a new green card with their legal names once their application is processed and approved.
Change Name When Applying for Citizenship
Green card holders who wish to become U.S. citizens can get their names changed when they apply for naturalization. They will need to answer “yes” to the question “Would you like to legally change your name?” on Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. They will also need to provide the new name they would like to use. Many choose to change their names when they apply for citizenship as they can do it at no extra cost.
However, it is possible to change the name at the time of applying for citizenship only if the naturalization oath ceremony will be held in a court, presided over by a judge. A name change cannot be done if the oath is administered by a USCIS officer.
It is wise to complete the form online as it would help reduce errors. When filling in a form online, it is easier to correct any mistakes. Errors on a paper form means having to start over with a fresh form.
The step by step instructions we provide on our website will help applicants fill out the form easily. These instructions will help them eliminate common but costly errors that could cause delays or even rejections. Applicants also can take the Form I-90 eligibility test before they complete the form.