Do I Need to Change the Name on My Green Card If I Get Married?

by Tom Streissguth

    The United States Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS) issues the Permanent Resident Card, or I-551, informally known as the "green card," to those immigrants holding resident status in the United States. The card carries vital information as well as a photograph; in the case of a name change due to marriage you must apply for a new card.

    Change of Name after Marriage

    U.S. law requires that your I-551 carry your current legal name. You do not have to replace the card if you do not change your name after the marriage. Federal law requires you to apply to the USCIS in order to effect the name change and replace the I-551.

    Form I-90

    In order to replace the I-551 bearing your former name, the USCIS requires you to fill out Form I-90, Application to Renew or Replace Green Card. The filing fee as of 2011 was $450, which includes both a $365 filing fee and a charge of $85 for the biometric data. You may e-file the application online at the USCIS website, or mail the paper form to USCIS, P.O. Box 21262, Phoenix, AZ 85036.

    Application Support Center

    After filing the I-90, you will receive an appointment letter for an appearance at an Application Support Center. A government subcontractor operates this center, which will be located close to your home or in the nearest large city. You must bring a certified copy of the marriage certificate, or a court order, reflecting the name change.

    Biometrics

    The Application Support Center will take biometric data, including a fingerprint and a photograph, that will be present on the new green card. If the application is approved, your replacement I-551 will arrive in the mail within a few weeks. You must destroy the old I-551, which is no longer valid.

    About the Author

    Tom Streissguth has worked for over 15 years in the legal field as a writer and legal assistant, and has authored numerous articles on Social Security disability law. He has many nonfiction and reference titles in print, including works for The Gale Group and Lerner. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from Yale University.

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