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Changing First Name when applying for US Citizenship

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Hello everyone,

 

I am a US citizen and my wife is a Russian citizen. We have been married and living in the USA for 10 years. She is a green card holder for about 9 years. Now she is thinking of applying for US Citizenship. After our marriage, she changed her last name and that required her to get a new domestic and a new international Russian passport, each of which took a lot of time and effort. Now she would like to change her first name when she applies for US Citizenship, but she is worried about all the implications and has several questions. We are hoping others in this forum have gone through similar experience and give us some guidance on this.

 

Here are her questions.

(1) Once she gets the US passport, can she still keep her Russian domestic and international passport? Are those still valid documents to travel to Russia?

(2) If she can still keep the Russian passports, does she have to change the names there as well? Her preference is not to change the names on those passports, if that is okay.

(3) When she travels out of USA, typically she will use her US passport. However, when she goes to Russia, can she use her Russian passport when entering in Russia or does she have to get a Russian Visa just like I do? She goes to Russia about once in two years. 

(4) Today, she can get special visa for me and our kids when we go to Russia. Can she continue to get us those special visas? 

 

Basically, she is trying to figure out all the problems she might face for changing her first name when applying for the US citizenship. Thanks to everyone in advance!

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Let me start with what I have done and plan do to and why ...

 

I have a Russian domestic and international passport with my original Russian surname.  I do not need to change those names because I got married in the USA and I have no plans to change those documents (and not required to) because my important Russian pension and property documents will remain in my original Russian surname. 

 

I use my new USA married surname on all USA documents and plan to use my USA married surname for my future USA passport.  

 

When I get my USA passport and travel anywhere including Russia, I will travel as an American and get the required visa.  I will not use my Russian international passport to enter Russia because of the border control laws to get out of Russia as a Russian citizen (taxes paid, any stupid reason to stop you, etc).  Once I am in Russia entering as an American with appropriate entry visa, I can conduct my personal business in Russia with my original domestic passport with my original Russian surname.  However, as an American you have to register your whereabouts with your American name according to Russian visa laws.   I then leave Russia as an American with the appropriate exit visa.

 

Also, being a dual national Russian subjects you to getting on a dual citizen list that I don't wish to be on by Russian law.  I will thus continue to use my original Russian surname on Russian documents and my USA married name on USA documents. 

 

My answers based solely on my opinion:

 

1) You can keep your original Russian documents and travel to Russia but I would not do it.  Easier to get out of Russia as an American with appropriate exit visa.

 

2) You can keep the original Russian documents unchanged.

 

3) Travelling as an American is preferred if you want to leave Russia without increased risk of being subject to exit laws as a Russian citizen.

 

4) Getting a visa should not be a problem.

 

"Basically, she is trying to figure out all the problems she might face for changing her first name when applying for the US citizenship." 

 

I think it is a great idea to have a different USA legal name than your Russian legal name.  Research Russian dual-citizen list law.

Edited by Juniper

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On 3/19/2019 at 7:55 PM, Juniper said:

 

 

 

When I get my USA passport and travel anywhere including Russia, I will travel as an American and get the required visa.  I will not use my Russian international passport to enter Russia because of the border control laws to get out of Russia as a Russian citizen (taxes paid, any stupid reason to stop you, etc).  Once I am in Russia entering as an American with appropriate entry visa, I can conduct my personal business in Russia with my original domestic passport with my original Russian surname.  However, as an American you have to register your whereabouts with your American name according to Russian visa laws.   I then leave Russia as an American with the appropriate exit visa.

 

 

 

 

Unfortunately you will not be able to get a visa to visit Russia in your US passport unless you renounce your Russian citizenship, so your plan will not work.


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2 hours ago, Neonred said:

Unfortunately you will not be able to get a visa to visit Russia in your US passport unless you renounce your Russian citizenship, so your plan will not work.

Thank you for info, I will happily give up Russian citizenship.

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