If you have been wanting to change your name—whether your first name, last name (surname) or both—applying to become a naturalized U.S. citizen on Form N-400 offers you a possible way to do so.
If you have been wanting to change your name—whether your first name, last name (surname) or both—applying to become a naturalized U.S. citizen offers you a possible way to do so, and with few administrative hassles.
You can legally change your name without extra court procedures by simply filling in your chosen new name on USCIS Form N-400 (the Application for Naturalization issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, or USCIS). Part 2, Question 4 of Form N-400 is specifically meant for this purpose.
For a Legal Name Change, Swearing-In Must Be Done by a Judge
There is one catch. This name-change service is available only through USCIS offices where the swearing-in (oath) ceremonies are held in a courtroom and presided over by a judge, not a USCIS officer. Only a judge has the authority to grant your name change at the swearing-in ceremony.
In some regions of the United States, ceremonies presided over by a judge are held only a few times per year, so asking for a name change will result in your waiting longer than most people to receive citizenship.
In other regions, the swearing-in ceremonies are routinely held at a USCIS office—sometimes right after the naturalization interview. In such a case, your request for a name change on Form N-400 cannot be acted upon. You will need to follow the name change procedures provided under your state's law, which most likely involve filing a name change petition with the state court. After the court grants your name change, and assuming you have already become a U.S. citizen, you will need to apply to USCIS for a new certificate of naturalization, using USCIS Form N-565.
To find out your options, contact your local USCIS field office—the one that will be conducting your interview—and ask whether a judge performs the ceremony.
Or, you can wait until your receive notification of your USCIS interview date, and ask the officer reviewing your case whether a judge will preside over your swearing-in. (Unfortunately, you cannot pick and choose which USCIS office to attend your interview at. USCIS makes this decision for you.)
If you are in luck, and are approved for citizenship at the interview, the officer will have you fill out a form called a Petition for Name Change during your interview.
Restrictions on the Name You Can Choose
Note that there are legal restrictions on what you can change your name to. The judge will not approve your name change request in the following types of circumstance:
- You want to change your name for fraudulent reasons, such as to escape capture for a crime or to avoid paying a debt.
- Your new name interferes with someone else's right to a name, particularly that of a famous person, such as Barack Obama, Brad Pitt, or Kim Kardashian, or of a company, such as Charles Schwab or Berkshire Hathaway.
- Your name is intentionally confusing, such as "Annum 2013" or "Airbus Jet."
- Your name is threatening, obscene, or likely to incite violence. "Kick U. Down," for example, is not likely to be allowed.
For more information on the relevant law, see the Name Change page of Nolo's website.
More on Naturalized Citizenship
If you're still in the planning stages, here's free, accurate, and up-to-date legal information on every step of the process of obtaining U.S. citizenship. For the whole scoop on getting American citizenship, see the book, Becoming a U.S. Citizen: A Guide to the Law, Exam & Interview, by Ilona Bray (Nolo).
Commonly Asked Questions About the Naturalization Process
No. You can file USCIS forms yourself, including Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, which can be submitted online. However, some people choose to seek assistance from a lawyer or Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR)-accredited representative.
If you decide to get legal assistance, you can start here:
Many people offer to help with immigration services. Unfortunately, not all of them are authorized or qualified to do so. If you are seeking legal help to complete your Application for Naturalization, please be aware that only attorneys and EOIR-accredited representatives can provide legal advice about which forms and documents to attach to your application, explain immigration options you may have, and communicate with USCIS about your case. For additional information, please review USCIS’ guidance on the unauthorized practice of immigration law.
If you decide to submit Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, without legal assistance, obtain information about the naturalization application process and study materials to help you prepare for the naturalization test at the Citizenship Resource Center. Also visit, the N-400, Application for Naturalization page and read the instructions.
Yes. USCIS publishes a complete list of the 2008 and 2020 version of the civics test.
The USCIS officer will ask the applicant only the civics questions on the lists for both versions of the test.
USCIS provides free educational resources to help applicants prepare for the naturalization test. Find study materials for the 2008 version of the civics test and English language test, as well as study materials for the 2020 version of the civics testto help you prepare.
In addition, the Find Help in Your Community page allows individuals to search for low-cost or free citizenship classes throughout the United States.
No. However, some answers may change because of elections or appointments. As you study for the test, make sure you know the most current answers to these questions. Visit the Civics Test Updates page to find answers to these specific questions.
For the 2008 version of the civics test, there are 100 available civics questions on the naturalization test (PDF, 295.55 KB), but you will not be asked to answer all of them during your naturalization interview. You will be asked up to 10 questions from the list of 100 questions. You must answer 6 questions correctly to to pass the 2008 version of the civics test.
For the 2020 version of the civics test, there are 128 available civics questions on the naturalization test, but you will not be asked to answer all of them during your naturalization interview. You must answer at least 12 of the 20 questions correctly to pass the 2020 version of the civics test.
To qualify for citizenship, generally applicants must demonstrate they have continuously resided in the United States for at least 5 years before submitting Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. This means you must be residing exclusively in the United States – not in any other country.
You may travel to another country, including your home country, provided no other legal impediment precludes you from doing so. However, if a trip lasts longer than 180 days, USCIS may determine that you have not continuously resided in the United States and therefore are ineligible for naturalization.
In addition to examining the length of your trip abroad, USCIS will look at the frequency of your travel. To qualify for naturalization, an applicant must spend at least half of their time in the United States. This is known as the “physical presence” requirement. If you take frequent, short trips abroad that result in you spending more than half your time outside the United States, then you will also be ineligible for naturalization.
The requirements of “continuous residence” and “physical presence” are interrelated but are different requirements. A naturalization applicant must satisfy each requirement to be eligible for naturalization.
No. In addition to preparing for the reading, writing, and civics portion of the naturalization test, you will need to prepare for the speaking portion of the naturalization test and meet all other naturalization requirements. The speaking test occurs during the eligibility review. USCIS offers interactive practice tests to help you prepare.
During your naturalization interview, a USCIS officer will review the responses you provided on your Form N-400, Application for Naturalization with you. The USCIS officer will ask questions to clarify or confirm your responses. Prepare yourself for the English speaking test by making sure you understand each question on the application and can respond to each question according to your situation.
You have demonstrated an ability to speak English if you generally understand and can respond accurately to the USCIS officer. Applicants may ask the USCIS officer to repeat or rephrase questions during the naturalization interview. For additional information on how USCIS officers assess English language abilities, please see the Scoring Guidelines for the U.S. Naturalization Test (PDF, 343.17 KB).
Certain applicants, because of age and time as a lawful permanent resident, are exempt from the English requirements for naturalization and may take the civics test in the language of their choice. For more information, see exceptions and accommodations.
Yes. You can legally change your name after filing your application for naturalization with USCIS. If your name has changed after you filed a naturalization application, you must promptly provide USCIS with the document(s) that legally changed your name(s), such as a marriage certificate, divorce decree, court order, or other official record. Make sure to mention your name change and bring the documents related to your name change at the time of the interview.
You can also legally change your name when you naturalize. The instructions to Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, include information on what is required when you wish to change your name at the time of naturalization. At the time of the interview, the USCIS officer will record the name change request and ask you to sign a name change petition, which USCIS files with a court before the judicial oath ceremony. Upon receipt of the petition, the court signs and seals the petition. The petition is later presented to you during the naturalization ceremony as evidence of the name change.
All name change requests facilitated through USCIS will require you to take the oath of allegiance at a judicial ceremony, rather than an administrative one. As far as possible delays, USCIS has little control over the judicial ceremony calendar. However, most courts are very supportive in accommodating the need for naturalization ceremonies.
Yes. You should bring certain original documents to your interview. In the instructions to Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, USCIS provides an extensive list of examples of original documents that you should bring to the interview, depending on different case scenarios. Examples of these documents include: original birth, marriage, divorce, final adoption and naturalization certificates; court orders/decrees; evidence of child support payments; court-certified arrest reports; and probation/parole records. Certain certified copies of documents can also be provided.
You should also submit copies–preferably certified copies–of these documents at the initial filing of your application. These documents should be submitted as evidence in support of your application, and will facilitate the USCIS officers’ review of your request.
Applicants for naturalization seeking an exception to the English and/or civics requirements for naturalization because of a physical or developmental disability or mental impairment are encouraged to submit this form at the time they file Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, with USCIS. However, USCIS recognizes that certain circumstances may prevent concurrent filing of the naturalization application and the disability exception form. Accordingly, an applicant may file the disability exception form during any part of the naturalization process, including after the application is filed but before the first examination, during the first examination, during the re-examination if the applicant’s first examination was rescheduled, and during the rehearing on a denied naturalization application.
The decision on your Form N-648 will be made at the time of your naturalization interview. If your Form N-648 is found to be sufficient, and the licensed medical professional who completed your Form N-648 indicated on the form that you were unable to comply with all of the educational requirements, the officer will conduct the eligibility interview in your language of choice with the use of an interpreter and will not test you on any of the educational requirements.
If your Form N-648 is found to be sufficient, and the licensed medical professional indicated on the form that you were unable to comply with only some of the educational requirements, the officer will administer the tests for the other requirements. You will be permitted to use an interpreter if the medical professional indicated that you were unable to comply with the English speaking requirement.
If your Form N-648 is found to be insufficient, the officer must proceed with the eligibility interview in English and administer all portions of the English and civics testing as if you had not submitted Form N-648.
A lawful permanent resident is required to have valid, unexpired proof of lawful permanent residence in his or her possession at all times. Applying for naturalization does not change this requirement. For this reason, you must generally apply to renew your expiring Green Card even if you have applied for naturalization. For more information on renewing your Green Card, visit uscis.gov/green-card/after-we-grant-your-green-card/replace-your-green-card or uscis.gov/i-90.
Unless you are eligible for an exception to the English or civics requirements, you will be given two opportunities to meet the English and civics requirements. If you fail any portion of these requirements, you will be retested during a new interview on the portion of the test that you failed (English or civics) between 60 and 90 days from the date of your initial interview.
Note: Due to recent policy changes, some applicants for naturalization may have the choice to take the 2008 or 2020 version of the civics test at their re-exam. Visit the 2020 version of the civics test page to learn more. See also the USCIS Policy Manual Volume 12, Part E, English and Civics Testing and Exceptions, Chapter 2, English and Civics Testing.
There is no limit to the number of times you can apply for naturalization, but you must pay the filing fee for each Form N-400 you submit to the agency.
The Name Change Process for Naturalized Citizens
The United States offers several different processes for people to legally change their name. There are different procedures that must be followed based on your citizenship or immigration status. In addition, many states have different rules governing name changes. For example, some US states do not even require native US citizens to file with the government for a name change. Mere usage could be enough for the change to be legal.
Changing Your Name as a Naturalized Citizen
It is common for those immigrating to the United States to legally change their name. To do this, there are two approaches available. A naturalized citizen may choose to change their name at the time of naturalization, or they may go through the name change process at a state court level after naturalization. However, both approaches are nuanced, with small details that are critical to the process.
Changing Your Name During the Naturalization Process
Changing your name on the citizenship application (Form N-400) is the most direct, and possibly cost-effective, way to change your name. The form requires an individual to confirm or deny if they would like to change their name. If they respond that they would, then there is a space to write in what the new name is. The layout is very straightforward, asking if you would like to change your name and, if so, what would you like your name to be.
Once the application is filed and you are granted citizenship, one needs to swear their oath of allegiance before a judge. Typically, an oath of allegiance is performed before a USCIS officer. However, USCIS officers do not have the legal authority to swear in someone who is changing their name. A judge does have this authority. The difficulty with this arises from the fact that oath of allegiance ceremonies are held much less frequently than those administered by USCIS officers. Therefore, it may lead to delays in receiving naturalization because of the gaps in judicial ceremonies.
After swearing the oath of allegiance before a judge, an individual receives their certificate of naturalization with their new name on it. At this point, the name change process is complete.
Changing Your Name After Becoming a Citizen
One may change their name after naturalization by going through the courts, or by some “operation of law” such marriage or divorce. This process can be difficult to pin down because of differences between state laws. Although this is not typically an issue with divorce and marriage, it can get extremely varied based on the state. Some different laws that may change from state to state can include: where you file for a name change, needing to provide a valid reason for a name change, who you must inform of the change, if you have to give a general notice of the change (posting in a newspaper), what criminal convicts are allowed to change their name, as well as several others.
Regarding the immigration side, it is much less complicated. Unless a court orders you to notify USCIS about the name change, there is no obligation to notify them of your name change. The name change will be effective without notifying them. However, it is in a naturalized citizens best interest to do so. To do this, a naturalized citizen would file Form N-565 with USCIS. Form N-565—titled Replacement of Certificate of Citizenship or Naturalization—is used to receive a new certificate after a legal name change or an error on the original. It is a good idea to request a new certificate that reflects the name change.
If you have any questions about your immigration status or how to change your name during the immigration process, please contact our office. Also, be sure to subscribe to our blog for more immigration news and updates.
Delays of several weeks—and even months—between when U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) conducts the citizenship interview and when the applicant is scheduled for the swearing-in ceremony are frequently an issue, even under normal circumstances.
Unfortunately, we are not living in normal circumstances. As of early 2020, the most likely reason for this delay is the coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic, which has resulted in the closure of USCIS offices and cancellation of swearing-in ceremonies for the immediate future.
Once USCIS offices reopen, the most likely cause of a delay outside normal processing times would be that either:
- Your name still hasn't been cleared by the FBI, which needs to finish running a security check before USCIS can grant you citizenship. This is especially likely to cause delays if you have a common name, or share a name with a person considered a threat.
- USCIS or the federal courts are backed up in fitting people into their scheduled ceremonies. In some parts of the U.S., only the federal courts conduct these ceremonies; in others, the courts have passed this authority onto USCIS, in which case the scheduling is usually faster (and sometimes same-day). But, for example, if you requested a name change, which only the federal court can do, and you live in a region where most of the oath ceremonies are conducted by USCIS, that might account for the delay.
- Something has gone wrong. USCIS is a big bureaucracy, and mistakes and lost files happen. Also, the letter with your swearing-in notice could have been lost in the mail. (We're assuming you didn't change your address in the days since your interview.)
As for what to do, here are the steps most likely to help:
- Get in touch with USCIS's Contact center. If it can't handle the matter from a distance, it might make an appointment for you to visit the nearest USCIS office (if and when these open to the public again). Be ready with your green card and copies of your naturalization-related paperwork, in particular any letter of recommended approval that the USCIS officer gave you at the end of your interview.
- Send a letter to the USCIS office that handled your interview. Include your A-number on the letter, and a copy of the recommendation letter given to you by the USCIS officer there.
- Consult an attorney. Following up on delays and lost files is a regular part of every immigration attorney's work. An experienced attorney will know what the typical wait times are in your region and how to make inquiries.
A final note: As you alluded to, you cannot petition for your parents to receive U.S. lawful permanent residence until you yourself are sworn in as a citizen and have received a citizenship certificate as proof of your new status.
Change n400 delay name
Can I change my name during the N-400 naturalization process?
Yes. You can request that your legal name be changed on your N-400 application. If your application is approved, your name will be changed during your oath ceremony.
Can I change my name while I am applying with an N-600 application for deriving citizenship through a U.S. parent?
No. Name changes cannot be done as a part of the N-600 application. Instead, N-600 applicants must change their name separately through a court.
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, your 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 a separate process to make each of these changes.
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.
- Social Security Card
- 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.
- Driver’s License
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 a name / address change request form. (https://www.mass.gov/doc/nameaddress-change-request-form/download)
- 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 U.S. passport name changed depend on whether and how long you have had the passport.
If you already have a U.S. passport, you can find the information about how to change your name here.
If you do not have a U.S. passport and you are applying for the first time, you will need:
- Application form for a new passport; which you can fill it out online or download and then present the form in person
- Evidence of your name change (Naturalization Certificate)
- Passport fee
If you have had your U.S. 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)
- Passport fee
If you have had your U.S. passport for more than one year, you will need an application form for passport renewal.
For foreign passports, please contact the appropriate consulate for more information.
←Return to FAQ List
Name Corrections and Changes in the Citizenship Process
Sometimes a foreign national’s name will be spelled incorrectly on immigration documents, such as their green card. You can correct the spelling of the name on your green card by requesting a correction on an Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card (Form I-90). This involves paying a fee. You may not need to pay a fee if you correct your name during the naturalization process. Another option involves going to court to legally change your name.
You can indicate a name change on Form N-400, which is the main form for naturalization. Even if you do not ask for a name change at this point, you can ask to file a Petition for Name Change at your USCIS interview. If USCIS grants your application for citizenship, you can change your name if you attend a naturalization swearing-in ceremony in court. You will get a certificate to show that your name was legally changed, and the correct name will appear on your Certificate of Naturalization. If you do not go through a naturalization ceremony in court, USCIS can use the correct name on the Certificate of Naturalization, but you will not be able to change your legal name unless you go to court.
Correcting Errors on the Certificate of Citizenship
If you have citizenship automatically through a U.S. citizen parent, you can ask for a Certificate of Citizenship to help you correct errors in how your name was spelled on certain official documents. These may include your birth certificate or records of asylum or refugee status. You cannot choose a new name when you get a Certificate of Citizenship, but you can use it to correct an error in the spelling of the name.
When you submit Form N-600 to ask for the Certificate of Citizenship, you must ask for the correction in a cover letter attached to the application. (You should use your current name on Form N-600, even if it is misspelled.) If appropriate, you can supplement your request with an affidavit from a parent or guardian who can explain the mistake and corroborate the request. You can submit other evidence of the error as well.
USCIS may be reluctant to accept certain types of corrections, so you may need to provide alternatives from which it can choose. You may be able to get your name partly corrected or changed to a form that is more similar to your actual name, even if it is not fully corrected. The extent of the correction may depend on the strength of your proof for the error. Sometimes including proof of a parent’s name change or correction can make a difference.
Going to Court for a Name Change
If you cannot persuade USCIS to change or correct your name, you can pursue a separate court proceeding in a state or local court. You may have some limits on what you can choose for your new name, but these should not pose a challenge if you are simply trying to correct the spelling of your name. You probably do not need a lawyer to get a name change, since this is a relatively informal process. Community organizations may give you advice on how to seek a legal name change on your own.
You will also like:
- Stethoscope prestige medical
- Verb live technology
- Dream world collectibles ventura
- Gtx 1080 laptop
- John luke duck dynasty
- A&a landscape services
Morning came into its own and interior items outside the canopy began to emerge from the twilight. On the right hand was the head of the bed with pillows. Opposite was a chest of drawers with delicate silver handles. Angelica decided to check the contents of the boxes for women's underwear or at least towels. The floor was terribly cold.