Can I change my name when I become a U.S. citizen?
Yes. When you become a citizen, you can also change your name. You may want to make your name shorter or longer, like by adding or taking out a middle or last name. You may also want to change your name completely or make your middle name your first name.
When will my name change?
If you are approved for citizenship, you will attend a ceremony where you take an oath of allegiance to the United States. During this oath ceremony, the judge decides whether to approve the new name you chose. If approved, you new name will be printed on your naturalization certificate. Since your name will not change until your oath ceremony, all of the notices you receive from USCIS until your ceremony will be in your current legal name.
Are there any names that I cannot choose?
Yes. Although the judge will probably accept any name that you choose, there are some exceptions. You cannot choose a name for an illegal reason, like to avoid debt or avoid being arrested. You should not choose a name that is intentionally confusing, like “Officer,” or “Doctor,” or a name that is offensive. You also should not choose a name that belongs to a famous person like “President Barack Obama,” and you should not choose a name that belongs to a well-known company, like “Boston Baked Beans.”
Do I need to change my name on my other documents?
Yes. You can use your naturalization certificate to change other legal documents you may have such as your Social Security card, driver’s license, and credit cards. You must go through each organization’s office to change these items.
How do I change my name on my other documents?
Below are some guidelines to help you change your name on your other legal documents. You should always speak with the agency directly to verify any specific procedures to follow or documentation to submit.
- You will need proof of your identity and proof of your U.S. citizenship.
- Proof of Identity: driver’s license, state issued ID card, or passport
- Proof of Citizenship: Naturalization certificate or U.S. passport
- You will fill out an application for a Social Security card.
- You must deliver or mail these documents to your local Social Security office.
- Your new Social Security card with your new name will be mailed to you as soon as all the documents have been verified.
- You must change your name on your license in person at a Massachusetts RMV office.
- The RMV requests that you change your name with the Social Security Administration before you apply to change your name on your driver’s license.
- You must fill out Form T21042.
- You will have your picture taken, and will need to provide your signature for your new license. There is a fee of $25.00.
The requirements for having your passport name changed depend on how long you have had the passport. This information is for U.S. passports. For foreign passports, please contact the appropriate consulate for more information.
If you do not have a passport and are applying for the first time, you will need:
- Application form for a new passport;
- Evidence of your name change (Naturalization Certificate); and
- Passport fee.
If you have had your passport for less than one year, you will need:
- Application for a passport name change;
- Your current valid passport;
- Evidence of a name change (Naturalization Certificate); and
- Passport fee.
If you have had your passport for more than one year, you will need an application form for passport renewal.
Go to your bank and present evidence that your name has changed (a copy of your Naturalization Certificate). You should bring other identifying information that you have had legally changed, like your Social Security card and your driver’s license.
You should wait to change the name on your credit card until after you have changed your name on your Social Security card, driver’s license, and at your bank. This will make sure that there is no confusion in billing and payment information.
After you have changed your other legal documents, the process for changing your name on your credit card is pretty simple. In most cases, you can call your credit card company and request to change your name. You can also write a letter to the credit card company and request a name change. If your credit card is issued from your bank, you can go to the bank in person with your new legal identification documents and ask for a new credit card.