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memmy

Double Last Name after marriage

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Dear All,

I have a question regarding my last name change. My fiance is an American citizen and I am a Ukrainian citizen. We plan to marry in a few days ( I am in the US now), then I leave home for Ukraine, and we file for a CR-1 visa. The question I have is: what should I do with my last name change? Is it better

a) to keep using my maiden name after marriage, through the whole immigration process,

b) to take his last name and have it stated in the marriage license (but keep using my maiden name when filing petition and so on), or ....

c) to use a double hyphenated last name ( his and mine), so that the immigration officials see both my last names at the same time and there is no confusion whatsoever.

Would a double last name help to avoid a mismatch in the documents from the US and from Ukraine ( birth certificate, Ukrainian passport, visa, SSN ( I already have SSN in my maiden name, because I studied in the US a few years ago), International Ukr. passport, and finally our American marriage certificate).

Thanks in advance for your replies!

Edited by memmy

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Use whatever name you want to have. They are used to this sort of thing. It will cause no troubles.


AOS for my husband
8/17/10: INTERVIEW DAY (day 123) APPROVED!!

ROC:
5/23/12: Sent out package
2/06/13: APPROVED!

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In some countries women aren't allowed to change their names, so if you don't want to change it at home (or can't), you don't have to. If you want to, go ahead and get new documents (passport) in new married name.


AOS for my husband
8/17/10: INTERVIEW DAY (day 123) APPROVED!!

ROC:
5/23/12: Sent out package
2/06/13: APPROVED!

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If I take his last name, what will happen to my documents back home? Will I have to change them? Thanks!

Depends on several factors, for example: Do you have property (house, flat, etc) that you would need to sell at some point and all papers need to reflect a unique name? Is there any legal or medical related reason you need to at some point in the future use your original name (for example, maybe you would need to make medical decisions on behalf of an incapacitated parent or relative itn the future). If there is any reason, then keep your original name and documents; I am also here assuming dual citizenship is ok in Ukraine.

Hyphenating is a good solution overall but many have found (I am one) that US forms and record keeping are not foreign-friendly and can become a drag (in my case, I have 2 last names but here only one is used, when you hyphenate, often the resulting last name does not fit into forms and record formats and then causes other problems to say the least. Let's not even get into characters not in the English set (and not just not-Roman but anything that is not in the standard English alphabet). One other solution I've seen is combining last names, for example the mayor of LA lastr name was Villar and his wife was Raigosa; they now use Villaraigosa. It doesn't work that well across different languages though, my wife and I tried several combinations and some were funny sounding and some plain weird; so she ended up using mine and not changing her documents at home (Poland).

Ah, and I was forgetting that it is not uncommon that husbands change their name to their wives. I had before.

Edited by Gosia & Tito

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Depends on several factors, for example: Do you have property (house, flat, etc) that you would need to sell at some point and all papers need to reflect a unique name? Is there any legal or medical related reason you need to at some point in the future use your original name (for example, maybe you would need to make medical decisions on behalf of an incapacitated parent or relative itn the future). If there is any reason, then keep your original name and documents; I am also here assuming dual citizenship is ok in Ukraine.

Hyphenating is a good solution overall but many have found (I am one) that US forms and record keeping are not foreign-friendly and can become a drag (in my case, I have 2 last names but here only one is used, when you hyphenate, often the resulting last name does not fit into forms and record formats and then causes other problems to say the least. Let's not even get into characters not in the English set (and not just not-Roman but anything that is not in the standard English alphabet). One other solution I've seen is combining last names, for example the mayor of LA lastr name was Villar and his wife was Raigosa; they now use Villaraigosa. It doesn't work that well across different languages though, my wife and I tried several combinations and some were funny sounding and some plain weird; so she ended up using mine and not changing her documents at home (Poland).

Ah, and I was forgetting that it is not uncommon that husbands change their name to their wives. I had before.

Thanks so much for your reply! I haven't thought that hyphenation could be such a drag, but now I see that! I do have a parent at home who may need my help in the near future and I do have some property back home too. What name did your wife use when you filed I-130 Petition form ( yours or her maiden) and what name does she use now for her SSN and driver's license, and for booking tickets when she goes to Poland? Are they suspicious of her American last name ( I suppose she has it on her GC) and her Polish last name in her Polish passport? If I take my husband's last name, how will I be able to use my maiden name back home, or to travel home?

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Depends on several factors, for example: Do you have property (house, flat, etc) that you would need to sell at some point and all papers need to reflect a unique name? Is there any legal or medical related reason you need to at some point in the future use your original name (for example, maybe you would need to make medical decisions on behalf of an incapacitated parent or relative itn the future). If there is any reason, then keep your original name and documents; I am also here assuming dual citizenship is ok in Ukraine.

Hyphenating is a good solution overall but many have found (I am one) that US forms and record keeping are not foreign-friendly and can become a drag (in my case, I have 2 last names but here only one is used, when you hyphenate, often the resulting last name does not fit into forms and record formats and then causes other problems to say the least. Let's not even get into characters not in the English set (and not just not-Roman but anything that is not in the standard English alphabet). One other solution I've seen is combining last names, for example the mayor of LA lastr name was Villar and his wife was Raigosa; they now use Villaraigosa. It doesn't work that well across different languages though, my wife and I tried several combinations and some were funny sounding and some plain weird; so she ended up using mine and not changing her documents at home (Poland).

Ah, and I was forgetting that it is not uncommon that husbands change their name to their wives. I had before.

Ukrainian law currently does not recognize dual citizenship:(

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Ukrainian law currently does not recognize dual citizenship:(

Does not recognise is different to "does not permit". They permit it, but in Ukraine they are Ukrainian and that alone.

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Dear All,

I have a question regarding my last name change. My fiance is an American citizen and I am a Ukrainian citizen. We plan to marry in a few days ( I am in the US now), then I leave home for Ukraine, and we file for a CR-1 visa. The question I have is: what should I do with my last name change? Is it better

a) to keep using my maiden name after marriage, through the whole immigration process,

b) to take his last name and have it stated in the marriage license (but keep using my maiden name when filing petition and so on), or ....

c) to use a double hyphenated last name ( his and mine), so that the immigration officials see both my last names at the same time and there is no confusion whatsoever.

Would a double last name help to avoid a mismatch in the documents from the US and from Ukraine ( birth certificate, Ukrainian passport, visa, SSN ( I already have SSN in my maiden name, because I studied in the US a few years ago), International Ukr. passport, and finally our American marriage certificate).

Thanks in advance for your replies!

As you are processing a Cr-1 your choice to have it different in both countries is made for you. Whatever name is on your home passport will be the name on your visa and the name on your GC. So if you don't change your passport, you won't get your US documents in a different name.

Immigration doesn't care what name you keep as long as it's a legal change. if you want to change it, change it. If you don't, don't. It's a personal choice.

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In Ukraine, they don't permit to have a dual citizenship./

Actually that's what I was correcting. They don't RECOGNISE it, which is different to not permitting.

This link here shows you that they "do not recognise": http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ukrainian_citizenship

This link says if you have dual you face a fine but again says "does not recognise" rather than "does not permit": http://ukraine.usembassy.gov/dual-nationality.html

For example, Japan "does not allow" (it's mentioned as "not permitted by law" so it's illegal): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_nationality_law#Dual_nationality you'll see the wording is entirely different to Ukraine. Ukraine does not recognise, but doesn't make you give up your home countries passport or automatically cancel it (like Japan does). They'll fine you if they find out but otherwise they ignore it and to them you are always Ukrainian.

Gary&Alla's Alla is applying for USC, I believe her Oath Ceremony is coming up. Ask them about it if you want more details.

Edited by Vanessa&Tony

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Thanks so much for your reply! I haven't thought that hyphenation could be such a drag, but now I see that! I do have a parent at home who may need my help in the near future and I do have some property back home too. What name did your wife use when you filed I-130 Petition form ( yours or her maiden) and what name does she use now for her SSN and driver's license, and for booking tickets when she goes to Poland? Are they suspicious of her American last name ( I suppose she has it on her GC) and her Polish last name in her Polish passport? If I take my husband's last name, how will I be able to use my maiden name back home, or to travel home?

She changed her name to mine when we married (meaning, the last name I have in my US documents (I am the USC, but naturalized). My last name is not so "American" (I am originally from South America). We did not do the 130 as she came on a K-1 and then did the AOS (which did not include the 130); in the forms for AOS we used her new married name and in the boxes where "Other" names were, her maiden name. Her SSN and drivers is with her new married name.

When we travel we use the name in the passport (her original name) because that is what must match the boarding pass, but notice that we do not yet have GC (which will come in the new married name). I don't know if the GC will list her original name. When traveling, we'll use the name in her passport, which she will not change, and will carry the marriage cert (when traveling abroad) just in case. I'd think that as she gets inspected at customs, they will see 'other' names and her maiden when they check the GC.

Poland does not recognize dual citizenship and does not reject other citizenship a Polish wold have, that is, when a Polish is in Poland, he/she is Polish regardless of any other citizenship he/she might have and while same Polish person is outside of Poland then he/she would be also recognized as citizen of the other country (perhaps is same in Ukraine, but notice the 'not recognize' is different to 'not allow'). In your case, you would need to check whether that could become a problem; that is what led us to keep her Polish documentation same. The only reason we would register our marriage in Poland is if we move there permanently, which is not very likely; though we might move to France or the UK within the next 5 years and I'll be looking into that

Edited by Gosia & Tito

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In Ukraine, they don't permit to have a dual citizenship./

Now that I think of it, this is not so different to my own case. I do have other citizenship and I do use documents from that country in specific and required instances; for example to vote (we are required to vote even if we do not live in the country); when I am in said country, I also use my local id to run errands and for legal matters.

The major difference is traveling, and I use the name under my US passport (just 1 last name as opposed to two); and what we are planning to do (for out of the country traveling) is use the name in her passport and carry the marriage certificate in case there are questions when we come back to the US. As I said, I would think the inspector at customs will see the other names when he/she checks the name in the GC. I will ask about that during the interview for GC coming up in a few weeks.

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Does not recognise is different to "does not permit". They permit it, but in Ukraine they are Ukrainian and that alone.

Sounds like in Poland. They use jus sanguinis - right of blood; meaning, to be Polish, you have to be born to a Polish (at least one parent) and NOT to be born in Poland. And while in Poland, you are Polish period.

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