Applying for United States citizenship allows any applicant to do a name change. You can lawfully change your name without any additional court procedures by simply writing your new name in part 2, question 4 of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Form N400, Application for Naturalization which is designed for this purpose.
When Doing a Legal Name Change, A Swearing-In Must Take Place by an Immigration Judge
Only a judge has the authority to grant you a name change at the swearing-in also known as an Oath Ceremony. This name-change service is available only through USCIS offices where the swearing-in (oath) ceremonies are held in a courtroom and officiated by a judge, not a USCIS officer.
In certain parts of the U.S., ceremonies conducted by a judge are held only a certain number of times a year. So, this means that asking for a name change will result in having to wait longer than most people to obtain U.S. citizenship.
Specific areas in the U.S., perform swearing-in ceremonies quite routinely at a USCIS office immediately after the naturalization interview. In some instances, your request for a name change on Form N400 cannot be done. You will need to follow the name change process provided under your state’s law, which most likely involves submitting a name change petition with the state court. After the court grants you a name change and presuming you have obtained U.S. citizenship you will be required to apply for a new certificate of naturalization, using Form N-565, Application for Replacement Naturalization/ Citizenship Document.
To learn more about Form N-565, Application for Replacement Naturalization/ Citizenship Document see your nearest immigration attorney’s office.
Certain Restrictions on the Name You Can Choose
Changing your name is not as easy as one might think. There are legal restrictions on what you can change your name to. A judge will not grant approval on a name change in the following types of circumstances:
- Your goal is to change your name for fraudulent reasons, such as trying to escape capture for a crime you committed in the past or to avoid paying a debt
- The name you are trying to change it to is the same as another person’s name who is famous or an entity for example: Jennifer Lopez, Beyonce Knowles, Brad Pitt, Ronaldinho, or Charles Schwab
- Your name is intentionally confusing such as “Delta Jet” or “BMW”
- Your name is threatening, obscene, or likely to stir up violence, for example, “Slap you silly” which will not be allowed
Can An Immigration Lawyer Assist With a Name Change
If you are applying for U.S. citizenship through naturalization and you need help with requesting a name change, Gambacorta Law Office will provide you with the guidance you need when making that request for a change of name. Call us at 847 443 9303 to schedule an appointment today.