Legal name changes happen in cases of divorce, marriage, or by a court order- such as a simple change of name request to a court. The US government recommends a replacement Green Card as the best solution for a trouble-free, long-term result.
What is a Green Card?
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) issues the Permanent Resident Card or I-551. This card proves your right to stay in the US on a permanent basis and will prevent most actions to interfere with your rights and freedoms including seizure and processing for deportation.
The current version of the Green Card contains coded information to prove that the card is real and not a fake copy. The information is biometric, such as a fingerprint, which means that it will only identify one person.
The Risks of Name Change
In most cases, you will not have to change your name when married or divorced unless you choose. In today’s political climate, many people may be reluctant to deal with the Immigration Service even for a routine matter. According to the rules, you are entitled to change your name by filling out the request form online or in person. You will either get an approval with a new card by mail or get a request to appear at a field office to take photos and fingerprints for the new card.
Procedure for Getting a New Green Card
- The first step is to apply for a name change with the USCIS. You can begin the process online or at a local USCIS office.
- You must pay the processing fee when you apply.
- You must wait for USCIS to process your request and send you an approval or request for more information.
- Since the card contains bio-metric information and requires proof of your identity, applicants are required to attend a biometrics appointment to submit fingerprints and take a photograph for the new green card.
Cost of New Green Card
The filing fee for a replacement Green Card is $455. The processing fee for biometric information is $85. The total costs for a replacement Green Card to change a name is $540.
*Important: Keep your information from a name change such as marriage license, divorce decrees, and court orders. This information supports your request for a name change with USCIS.
Updated on 02/11/2019