change your name on a green card

Can You Change Your Name On A Green Card?

Whether you’ve recently gotten married or prefer to have a different name after arriving in the US, you must notify USCIS as soon as possible. It’s important that your green card has your current legal name and there are rules to how quickly you can change your name on a green card.

In this post, we’ll learn when you need to submit a name change request, how long it takes and what the process will look like.

Currently, a lawful permanent resident (or green card holder) is legally allowed to change their name.

There are three scenarios where you would change your name:

  1. You have gotten married and have chosen to take your new spouses’s last name.
  2. You’ve divorced and wish to change your last name back to your maiden name.
  3. You have now legally changed your first or last name (or both).

Changing your name on your green card isn’t rocket science. But, there is a specific process you have to follow.

Case Example:

 Marina is a lawful permanent resident (green card holder) who has recently changed her last name. When she initially applied for her green card (I-485), she did not change her maiden name. However, after a year of marriage, she decided that she wanted to take his last name.

Now that her last name has changed, she began the process of filing the change with USCIS. To do this, she completed form I-90, Application to Replace Green Card.

Don’t let the form name confuse you. Technically, you are applying to replace your old green card even if you still have it.

Your green card needs to be replaced because your name is no longer valid. This is why we are applying for the I-90 form and USCIS will send you a brand new green card with your new name.

Changing Your Last Name After Marriage

Changing your last name after marriage is very common!

I’ve done this myself. 😊

Changing your last name is pretty easy if you have a marriage certificate. Once done, you can then either apply for a green card with your new last name or you can replace your green card after the name change.

Of course, it’s much easier to simply apply for a green card after your name change. But, I know that this may not always be possible so if you must change your name after the green card is issued, that’s not a problem.

Can a man change his last name to his wife’s last name?

One question I get often is whether the man in the relationship can change their last name.

Pretty cool, right? We’ve come a long way in society when a man wants to take his wife’s last name. 👍 One power couple where the husband took the wife last name is Zoe Saldana and Marco Pergeo.

In this case, it’s pretty much exactly the same way as a woman changing her last name.

  1. Go to your county clerk’s office.
  2. Bring your marriage certificate and another form of ID.
  3. Complete legal forms to request name change.
  4. Start using your new name on all immigration forms.

How To Notify USCIS of Your Name Change

The first step of changing your name on your green card is to let USCIS know of your new name.

You do this using form I-90.

Interestingly, form I-90 is also used when you lose your green card and need a replacement sent to you. But, in this post we’ll be talking about the I-90 when it comes to requesting a name change.

To notify USCIS of your name change, you would simply gather your evidence and complete form I-90. Then, if you are mailing your form to USISC you would simply send this package to the follow address:

For U.S. Postal Service (USPS):

P.O. Box 21262
Phoenix, AZ 85036

For FedEx, UPS, and DHL deliveries:

Attention: I-90
1820 E. Skyharbor, Circle S, Floor 1
Suite 100
Phoenix, AZ 85034

Cost To Change Your Name On A Green Card

Unfortunately, there is a hefty fee to replace your green card after you’ve changed your name.

If possible, you may want to change your name around the time of removing conditions or renewing your green card. Others may wish to wait until they apply for US citizenship.

This way, you pay the fee once and change your name at the same time.

The cost to file form I-90 is $455 plus the biometrics fee of $85 for a total of $540. I told you that it was hefty!

Additionally, you have the option to file form I-90 online (and pay online) or mail I-90 with a check, money order or credit card authorization form.

Thankfully, you do have the option to pay the filing fee by credit card if you don’t have the cash on hand. Use form G-1450, Authorization for Credit Card Transactions.

Never include cash with your I-90 application! USCIS doesn’t accept it and there is a higher chance that your mail will be opened if someone believes there is cash inside.

How Long Does It Take To Change Name On Green Card?

To change your name on a green card can be a lengthy process. It’s actually very similar to when someone applies for a green card for the first time.

I’ve broken down the process into several steps below:

Step 1: Submit I-90 and supporting evidence to USCIS (time varies)

The first step in changing your name on your green card is completing form I-90 and gathering evidence. It’s important to submit all documents that will be required.

This is usually your marriage certificate or legal name change documents and a form of ID (such as your old green card).

Next, you would either submit everything online or mail it in with your payment.

Step 2: Receive the first notice of action from USCIS. (1-2 weeks after filing)

After you’ve submitted form I-90 with your supporting evidence, you will receive a letter in the mail from USCIS. This letter will let you know that they have accepted your application to replace your green card.

It’s important that you hold on to this letter as it is your proof of a pending application. It also contains important information such as your receipt number where you can check the status of your case.

Step 3: Complete your biometrics. (6-8 weeks after filing)

Next, you will then wait several weeks for another letter in the mail informing you of your biometrics appointment. This is what you paid the $85 for!

At the biometrics appointment, you will need to bring the appointment letter, your old green card and a form of ID (if you don’t have your old green card).

You will then be fingerprinted, photo taken and asked to sign some documents. This appointment usually lasts about 30 minutes but it really depends on how busy they are when you get there.

Learn more about the biometrics appointment.

Step 4: Receive your new green card with your new name. (8-12 months after filing)

Finally, after the biometrics appointment is complete there will be several months of waiting.

This is probably the hardest time for most applicants. Waiting to hear from USCIS can be agonizing!

Eventually, you will be notified that there was a decision made on your case. Hopefully, you will be approved and receive your new green card in the mail.

Be sure to check the spelling of your new name to be sure it’s correct.

Summary: Change Your Last Name On A Green Card

Let’s wrap up this post by briefly going over the most important aspects of how to change your last name on a green card.

First, make sure that your name was changed legally! You can’t simply start using a different name without the proper evidence. Be sure to include your marriage certificate or legal name change with form I-90.

Next, submit the I-90 either online or by mail with the correct filing fee. Not doing this will delay the processing of your application by months! Try to avoid this by following the instructions on the I-90.

Lastly, complete your biometrics appointment on time. You can certainly get there a little early but generally, you should go to the ASC on the date and time listed on the appointment letter.

Once you finally receive your new green card, make sure that your name is spelled correctly.

That’s it! You’ve completed the process to change your name on your green card. Now, I highly recommend that you keep your new green card somewhere safe (preferably at home) so you don’t lose it.

Do you know what happens when someone loses their green card? Yup – you have to file form I-90 all over again and pay $540 again!

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