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

By Cindy DeRuyter, J.D.

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

By Cindy DeRuyter, J.D.

In order to maintain your permanent resident status, the United States Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS) requires that you maintain a permanent resident card. The form, also known as a green card, includes all of your personal information, including your name and photo, and serves as an important form of identification. It must, therefore, include accurate information. If a green card is your main source of identification for showing your immigration status and you rely on it to remain in the country, it is imperative that you follow the appropriate steps to update it after changing your name.

Two wedding bands lying on an American flag

Name Change Requirements

The process for legally changing your name isn't that complicated. Your reasons for changing your name are your own, and there are only a handful of limitations, which include:

  • No use of phrases that are registered trademarks
  • Nothing obscene
  • No use of a name with the intent to defraud someone else

Whether the change is due to a marriage, the desire to westernize your name, or any other reason, you will run into major complications if your green card does not correctly reflect your legal name. In order to comply with the requirements of the USCIS, you need to update your green card as soon as your name is legally changed. There is additional paperwork needed to do this.

Updating Your Green Card

When you have the proper documentation of your legal name change, you can apply to replace your green card using an Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card (Form I-90). In the application, there is an option to select that you are requesting a new card due to a legal name change. You need to select that option and then indicate that the purpose of your request is that your name or other biographical information has legally changed since the original green card was issued.

Once you submit your application, you receive a brand new green card that correctly reflects your new legal name. You must also pay a filing fee when you file your application.

Errors on Your Green Card

The federal government isn't infallible. It's possible that despite your best efforts, there may be a mistake, such as a misspelling, on your green card. If you notice that your name or other identifying information on your green card is incorrect, it is necessary that you request a new card with the correct information immediately.

When you need to correct an error with your name on your green card, you also use Form I-90. In this situation, there is an option to request a new card based on incorrect data due to a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) error. When you request a new green card due to DHS error, there is no fee. However, you need to provide your original green card with your misspelled name as well as proof of the correct spelling.

Legally changing your name is your decision, but it is imperative that you comply with the requirements of the USCIS in order to prevent your name change from affecting your immigration status.

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.