One of the most common predicaments that lawful permanent residents encounter are inconsistencies between what their names are and what names are reflected on their "green cards." This may happen, for example, when an individual who becomes a permanent resident subsequently gets married and wishes to assume her husband's last name. Ordinarily, a United States Citizen would just go ahead and take her husband's last name and report the change to all the necessary agencies. However, for the permanent resident, it is important that he/she bear a card that reflects the most up-to-date information. If the green card reflects the original last name, it is not likely-the way that things are going at New Jersey's Motor Vehicle Commission offices these days-that the person will be able to secure a license with the new name without the necessity of first getting a new green card issued with the new name. This type of situation will also happen, as another example, if a permanent resident goes through a name change process to change his/her name, (which in New Jersey involves filing a petition with the Superior Court of New Jersey, publishing the hearing date for the name change, getting the Order signed by a Judge, publishing the Order in the newspaper, and registering the change with the Department of Treasury).
What immigration form is used to apply for a new green card with the new name?
If a name, or for that matter, any biographic information has changed since the issuance of the last card, the permanent resident should apply on Form I-90 for a new card. Applicants are advised: "Submit a copy of the original court order reflecting your new name or a copy of your marriage certificate, divorce decree birth certificate, adoption decree, passport or applicable court documents, etc. A marriage certificate or court documents submitted as evidence of name change must have been registered with the proper civil authority."
Once the individual receives a new green card with the new name, he or she should be able to secure a new license with the proper name (assuming all the other documentary requirements are met, ie., six points of identification.)-insert link
Any other ways to change names?
Permanent residents should be aware that if they are eligible for naturalization, they may also choose to change their names at the naturalization hearing. He/she may indicate the name change on the N-400 application and assuming that the application for citizenship is approved, he/she will receive a Name Change Order that is usually appended to the Naturalization Certificate. The newly minted US Citizen would then show the Name Change Order to all the relevant agencies, ie., New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, Social Security Administration, etc.
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