Can You Change Your Name After Getting a Green Card?

By Christine Funk, J.D.

Can You Change Your Name After Getting a Green Card?

By Christine Funk, J.D.

A legal permanent resident can have their Alien Registration Receipt Card, typically known as a Green Card, modified or updated to reflect a legal name change. To begin the process of doing so, they must file an application with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Changes due to a marriage, a divorce, or simply due to personal preference (provided, however, that it is not done in an attempt to avoid debts or otherwise deceive) are common. Most states do not require information about immigration status when legally changing a name and will not be aware of it on the previously issued Green Card.

Woman staring into the distance

Changing Your Name on Your Green Card

Names are legally changed under applicable state law. Many states do not require information with regard to your immigration status when you apply to make this change. In California, Florida, and Georgia, for example, the legal process for this changing is the same whether you are a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident If marriage or divorce is the reason you're legally changing your name, make sure to have a copy of the marriage certificate or divorce decree.

After legally making this change under state law, you can replace your old green card with a new one that bears your new one. This is done by filling out an Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card (Form I-90) and submitting it online or by mail to the USCIS. This form requires the following information:

  • Family name
  • Date of birth
  • Mailing address

It is essential to complete all sections of Form I-90. Once the form is complete, the applicant must sign the form. USCIS rejects unsigned forms.

There is a fee associated with filing Form I-90 to change your legal name on your Green Card and a fee for biometric services. Be aware that you may also have to pay certain fees depending on the reason for the change.

Status Updates

When you file your Form I-90 online, you create an online account. If you file your Form I-90 on paper, the government will scan the documents online and create an online account for you. You then receive instructions on how to access your USCIS online account.

Using your online account, you can pay the requisite filing fee, check the status of your name change request, receive notifications, receive case updates, and manage your contact information. If you move, you can use your online account to change your address.

Additional Information Needed

In addition to filing Form I-90, applicants must include the appropriate legal documents that establishes the change. The appropriate legal document could be a marriage certificate, a divorce decree, or another document establishing a name change. You must also provide a copy of your current Green Card.

Changing your name is an intensely personal decision. It is often a good idea to consult with a family law attorney. Knowing your options and requirements will help ensure that the process happens correctly and efficiently.

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not LegalZoom, and have not been evaluated by LegalZoom for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.