Can You Change your Name When You Apply for Naturalization?

The form you file to apply for naturalization is form N-400.

To be eligible for naturalization—the process of becoming a U.S. citizen, you must fulfill the following requirements:

  • You must be at least 18 years old.
  • You must have lived as a permanent resident continuously for five years, three years or one year, depending on you status. (It’s three years for the spouses of U.S. citizens, and it’s one year for those serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.)
  • You must have spent the last 30 months inside the United States and the last three months in the state in which you are applying.
  • You must be a person of “good moral character” and have a clean criminal record.
  • You must be able to read, write and speak English.
  • You must know basic facts on U.S. history, government and civics.
  • You must have attachment to the U.S. Constitution.

Changing your name during your application for naturalization is possible. There is a question in Form N-400 that specifically asks you if you would like to legally change your name. You check the box yes or no and fill in your name in the form. This is the way your name will appear on your naturalization certificate.

However, changing your name on your application requires you to have already gone through the legal name-change process, which is either through marriage/divorce or through a court-ordered name change. If you haven’t done that by the time of filing your application, you can do it at the naturalization interview.

The naturalization interview is administered by a USCIS officer. The interview is largely centered around reviewing your application. You will be asked questions about the answers you gave in your application as well as the documents you submitted as required proof. The interview is also used to test your English skills.

During the interview, you can let the USCIS officer know that you are interested in changing your name. The USCIS officer will make sure the federal judge swears you as a U.S. citizen with your new name during the Oath Ceremony. You will receive a date for your Oath Ceremony in the mail.

At the Oath Ceremony, you will be sworn in with the name you gave the USCIS official. That same day, you will also receive your citizenship certificate, which will also have your new name.

After this, you can contact the appropriate agencies to have them change the name on your social security card, driver’s license, passport and any other document.

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