The naturalization process holds great importance for numerous immigrants, serving as a noteworthy achievement. It instills a feeling of belonging in their new homeland aside from the benefits and privileges of U.S. citizenship. However, some individuals may want to change their names while going through the process for various reasons.
This article tackles the concept, the steps involved, and the potential option to change your name. Moreover, it discusses the essential procedures and highlights an immigration lawyer who can guide you.
What Is Naturalization?
Being naturalized refers to how immigrants can acquire U.S. citizenship. This process grants them the same rights, privileges, and responsibilities as those who gained citizenship through birth. It serves as a means for them to fully integrate into their adopted country and actively participate in its political, social, and economic interests.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), under the Department of Homeland Security, oversees this process. A successful application grants immigrants access to the rights and duties of U.S. citizenship. It includes voting rights, the ability to travel using a U.S. passport, access to government benefits, and the opportunity to sponsor family members for immigration.
To qualify, individuals must meet specific requirements outlined in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). These criteria generally include being at least 18 years old and having lawful permanent resident status (LPR) or Green Card for a certain period.
Further, it also requires one to maintain continuous residence in the United States. You must also demonstrate good moral character, pass an English language proficiency test, and pass a civics test on U.S. history and government.
Once you grasp its idea and importance, you can start navigating through the necessary procedures. Familiarize yourself with the fundamental steps immigrants must undertake to become naturalized citizens.
What Are The Steps To Becoming A U.S. Citizen?
The process consists of steps individuals born in foreign countries must go through to acquire citizenship. From eligibility assessment to a naturopath-taking ceremony, they guarantee a comprehensive evaluation of an individual’s qualifications and commitment to becoming a citizen.
The initial stage of the process involves determining whether you fulfill the criteria established by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to qualify for citizenship. You must be 18, possess a Green Card or permanent residency, and exhibit good moral character. Moreover, you must be capable of speaking, reading, and writing basic English and having knowledge of U.S. history and government.
Completion Of Form N-400 Application
Once you have confirmed your eligibility, you must accomplish and submit Form N-400. It collects personal information, background details, and supporting documents. Provide information regarding your identity, residency, employment history, and any trips outside the United States in the past years. Additionally, you must attach photographs and supporting documents, such as a copy of your Green Card, tax returns, and relevant certificates or court orders.
Appointment For Biometrics
After submitting your application, you will receive a notice scheduling an appointment for biometrics. You must visit a USCIS application support center to provide your fingerprints, photographs, and signatures. These biometric details are utilized for background checks, including criminal records, to verify your eligibility.
Interview With The USCIS
After the biometrics appointment, the next step is an interview. A USCIS officer will examine your application, authenticate your information, and assess your proficiency in the English language and knowledge of U.S. civics. They may ask about your application, background, and the documents you submitted. It is essential to prepare for the interview by studying the provided study materials and practicing your English language skills and civic knowledge.
Oath Of Allegiance
If your application is approved, you must attend a ceremony where you will recite the Oath of Allegiance to the United States. It symbolizes your commitment to uphold the principles and laws of the country while renouncing allegiance to any other nation. After that, you will receive a certificate officially confirming your U.S. citizenship.
While you go through the process of becoming a citizen of the United States, it is crucial to be mindful of other factors that may come up. One consideration is whether you can change your name while acquiring U.S. citizenship.
Can You Change Your Name While Obtaining U.S. Citizenship?
During the process of becoming a naturalized citizen, you have the option to modify your name. If you desire to do so, you can ask for a name alteration while filling out Form N-400. It enables you to assume a new official name as you attain U.S. citizenship.
You must adhere to the correct protocols should you modify your name while going through the procedure. Submit all the required paperwork to substantiate your appeal. Neglecting to do so could lead to setbacks or problems in the process.
Steps In Changing Your Name
Changing your name can be a significant decision, whether due to marriage, divorce, personal preference, or any other reason. Here are the essential steps should you decide to make changes to your name:
- Show your intent to change your name. To request a name change, complete Form N-400 and select the appropriate box indicating your intention. This section is in Part 1 of the form.
- Attach supplementary papers. In addition to your application, you must provide supporting documents verifying the name change. These documents can include marriage certificates, divorce decrees, court orders, or other legal papers. Ensure to obtain certified copies of these papers to go with your application.
- Pay the fees. Submit your application with your payment covering the processing fee and the name change request. The amount may vary, so it is necessary to check the USCIS website or consult an immigration attorney to determine the current fees.
Once your application is processed, you will undergo an interview with a USCIS officer. Inform them of your desire to change your name. They will review your application, ask questions about your background and eligibility, and discuss the name change request.
If your application is approved, the final step is to take an Oath of Allegiance to the United States. During this process, you will state your preferred new name, which will appear on your certificate.
Who Can Help You Change Your Name?
It is advisable to seek help from professionals who can offer assistance if you want to alter your name while going through the process. Here are some individuals who can provide the necessary support:
- Immigration attorneys. These professionals often deal with the complicated immigration process. They can guide you in changing your name and ensuring the accuracy and completeness of all the required documents and forms.
- USCIS customer service. USCIS has customer service representatives who can address your queries and provide information about the process. It includes assisting you with the steps for changing your name.
- Community organizations. Local community organizations, such as immigrant support groups or cultural associations, can offer valuable assistance. They can connect you to individuals who have undergone the same process and experiences. They can refer you to an immigration lawyer who can provide guidance or recommendations.
Remember that altering your name does not automatically give you the unrestricted freedom to modify it whenever you want. When you become a U.S. citizen and obtain the certificate, the name you desire to adopt becomes legally acknowledged. It entails the obligation to use your new name for all official matters.
The option to change your name during the process exists. However, it begs the question: why do people choose to change their names in the first place? Understanding the motivations behind name changes sheds light on the various personal, cultural, and practical reasons driving individuals to embrace a new identity.
Why Do People Change Their Names?
Some people decide to change their names for various reasons. Here are a few common motivations for name changes:
- Integration and identity. Some individuals choose to change their names to fully immerse themselves in the culture and society of their adopted country. It allows them to adopt a name that aligns with their new identity as U.S. citizens and helps them feel more connected to their new home.
- Cultural convergence. Immigrants opt for this change to blend more easily into U.S. culture and traditions. It benefits individuals with hard-to-pronounce or frequently misspelled names as it can streamline administrative and communication processes.
- Family unity. Changing names can occur to match the names of other family members who have already made name changes. It helps create a sense of unity and solidarity within the family.
- Career advancement. Some individuals alter their names to enhance their professional image or appeal. They may select a name that sounds more professional or easier for clients or colleagues to remember.
- Religious or cultural beliefs. Religious or cultural beliefs can influence name change. Some may choose a name reflecting their religious faith, honor a specific deity, or embody cultural traditions.
Changing one’s name is a personal decision and not a requirement. But before deciding, individuals should carefully consider its implications. Seeking guidance from immigration attorneys or professionals working on name changes can provide valuable advice to navigate the process smoothly.
The process of obtaining U.S. citizenship offers individuals not born in the United States the chance to become citizens. It allows them to feel a sense of belonging and fully participate as U.S. citizens. If you want to feel like a true blue American, you can change your name during the process.
You can assume a new legal name by demonstrating your desire on Form N-400 and submitting the required supporting documents. Seek assistance from immigration lawyers, USCIS customer service, legal aid organizations, and community groups to ensure a seamless procedure. Remember that changing your name is a significant decision, so it is crucial to consider all aspects and consult the proper professionals.
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