Name Change Corrections During the Naturalization Process: What You Need to Know

Name Change Corrections During the Naturalization Process: What You Need to Know

Obtaining United States citizenship is an exciting and life-changing event. But, it’s not uncommon to encounter administrative hiccups, such as a misspelled name on official documents and certifications. Fortunately, there are procedures to fix these issues and ensure your citizenship journey is smooth and error-free.

You can easily address name-related discrepancies with Form N-565. This form allows you to request an official name change on your naturalization certificate, granting you the identity you wish to carry forward as a U.S. citizen. How you file and whether you must pay a fee depends on your circumstances. In this article, we will outline the process required for various situations that may require a name change. 

At Scott D. Pollock & Associates, P.C., we understand the significance of your naturalization process and the importance of getting every detail right. Our experienced attorneys will help you throughout your entire journey. With our support, you can change the name on your naturalization certificate and confidently embrace your new status as a proud U.S. citizen.

Can I Change My Name During the Oath Ceremony?

Absolutely! The naturalization process allows for a name change on your official Certificate of Citizenship by filing a Petition for a Name Change at the swearing-in ceremony. 

To file a request, submit your completed N-565 to the USCIS officer at your oath ceremony. The officer will review and approve the name change request if there are no issues. You will receive your certificate with the updated name.

However, a USCIS officer does not have the authority to change your name legally. Only a judge can make this change. So if your oath ceremony isn’t in front of a judge, you will not have this option. Alternatively, you can do your oath ceremony when a judge is available. 

N-400 Name Change

You can request your name change during your naturalization interview by completing the name change request section on Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. You will then receive a certificate proving your legal name change during your swearing-in ceremony. 

If the USCIS officer denies your request during your interview, you cannot change your name as part of the naturalization process. Instead, to change your name legally, you must file Form N-565 after receiving your naturalization certificate.

Be sure to consult with an immigration attorney to determine the best approach for your situation. Every state has different requirements for name changes, so your attorney can help you navigate the specifics in your jurisdiction.

Name Change After Naturalization Process

If the USCIS denies your name change request during your interview process, you can change your name after you have undergone the naturalization ceremony.

The most common approach is to follow your state’s name change court procedure. Follow these tips to successfully change your name through state court after becoming a U.S. citizen:

  • Consult your attorney – Have your attorney review your state’s specific name change requirements and forms. Your attorney can provide guidance tailored to your situation.
  • Gather necessary documents – These documents may include government ID, marriage certificates, divorce decrees, and birth certificates. 
  • Complete name change petition – File a name change petition with your local state civil court. Outline the reasons for requesting the change.
  • Attend court hearings – Some states require a  name change hearing. The judge will assess your petition and evidence.
  • Receive court order If approved, the court will issue a formal order declaring your name change legal.

Having an attorney assist with your state’s post-naturalization name change process ensures you take the correct steps.

Application for Replacement Naturalization Document

Once the court accepts your letter or name change request (or both), you may need to request a new naturalization certificate with your corrected name. You must apply for a replacement naturalization/citizenship document using Form N-565.

Speak with your immigration and naturalization lawyer about how best to correct or change your name during your naturalization process.

What to Expect After Submitting Form N-565

After submitting Form N-565 to request a replacement naturalization certificate with your new name, it takes about ten months to receive the updated certificate. 

Processing times can vary based on how busy your local USCIS office is. You can check Form N-565 processing times for your local USCIS office to receive an estimate. Follow up with USCIS if your case exceeds the estimated processing time. 

Form-565 Filing Fee

The filing fee for Form-565 is $555. However, you will not have to pay the filing fee if your name is misspelled due to a USCIS clerical error. 

Should I Change My Name Before or After Naturalization?

You can change your name before you apply for naturalization, or you can wait until after you become a U.S. citizen. Which option is best for you? Here’s what you need to know.

To change your name before applying for citizenship, you need to update all your immigration paperwork with your new name before you apply. If your name change petition is denied, it could complicate your citizenship application. However, if your petition is approved, your naturalization certificate will show your preferred name immediately.

The second option is to use your current legal name when completing the naturalization process. Then once you are a citizen, you can submit a simple form to request a new naturalization certificate with your preferred name. This option avoids the risk of denial before citizenship but can take longer. Your new certificate will arrive after naturalization.

There are good reasons to consider both options. The Scott D. Pollock & Associates, P.C. team will help you determine the best option for your specific case.

What Records Do I Update After I Receive My New Certificate?

Once USCIS approves your Form N-565 and you receive your replacement naturalization certificate showing your new legal name, there are a few essential steps to take:

  • Review new certificate – Verify that all information is accurate on your new naturalization certificate, including the spelling of your official new name.
  • Update social security record – To ensure your name matches for legal employment and benefits, bring your original and new naturalization certificates to your local SSA office to update your name in their records.
  • Change driver’s license/ID card – Visit your local DMV office with the necessary paperwork to request a new license or ID card showing your updated name.
  • Notify the passport office – Send a certified copy of your new naturalization certificate to the passport office to update your name in their records.
  • Change your bank accounts – Go to your bank with the required documentation to change the name on any checking, savings, or other financial accounts.
  • Update work documentation – Provide your employer a copy of the new certificate to change your name on payroll and personnel records.

Contact a Naturalization Attorney Today

We are happy to work with you if you have questions about requesting a name change during the naturalization process. The attorneys at Scott D. Pollock & Associates, P.C. have several decades of combined experience. 

We understand that having your name misspelled on legal documents can be frustrating. We are here to help make the corrections necessary to ensure a smooth citizenship process. 

We are here to provide you with the knowledge, support, and help you need. Contact us at 312.444.1940 or complete our online form today. We look forward to working with you.


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