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Salutations, one and all!

 

I apologise for my lacking presence around the forum since my approved interview date; as you can all imagine, things have been rather hectic ever since my arrival into the US of A.

 

My other half and I sealed the deal with marriage on May 20th, so we're finally on the way to getting all of our AOS done and dusted!!

 

However, I do have a fair few questions regarding what steps I need to be taking now that we are indeed married. I'm aware of and have been looking at the AOS step-by-step guide etc, but some extra clarification would be fab.

 

First and foremost, we arranged when booking our marriage ceremony that I am having my surname changed to that of my husband's. I made sure to specifically state it, as I didn't want any further confusion down the line. We received a package from our courthouse marriage ceremony, but most of its information seems contradictory (to me personally; it says to fill out and return a marriage certificate and marriage license... which we did at the ceremony itself). We received our marriage certificate in the mail (currently trying to pin them down on the certified copy we paid for) and all of that jazz, so is there anything further I need to do now that you're all aware of, WA State dwellers?

 

The marriage package does also tell me how to change my name on my Social Security Card and everything, but I've seen some contradictory/ confusing advice from others on the forum as to whether it's worth doing as such. I have my own card from working abroad on the J Visa previously, and by all accounts this will remain active without any further tweaking but won't be valid until I get my work authorisation paperwork. Should I head into the office and get my name changed on the card? If so, will this impede the AOS process at all? If memory serves, I need to fill out the AOS paperwork using my maiden name, so I really don't fancy causing confusion/ any delays in our packet being processed.

 

Further to the above question, what will happen with my UK Passport? Obviously it is all registered in my maiden name, and has until 2024 until it runs out. Would I be better to keep my maiden name on it until the renewal date, or is it required for me to apply for a new passport/ name change copy/ whatever might be required? If so, how can I do that?

 

Another glaring confusion for me at present is receiving a US Driver's License. I've researched the rules for WA Licensing and everything, but it outlines essentially having to take all of the WA tests in some manner or other. Is that rather common practise? I'm almost 24 years old and have had my UK full License since the age of 17, but this doesn't seem to count for much. I'm aware that I need a US Driver's License to take for AOS interview, so I'm somewhat apprehensive of this fact now that I think about it and how much seems to be involved.

 

I'm also very aware of my requirement for a State-Issued identification card to take in order to set up a bank account/ multiple bank accounts here in the US. My husband and I have already signed a lease agreement for our apartment, at which we're living with a roommate, so we have that aspect down pat, and obviously my SSN is actually helpful in this circumstance as well. The missing piece is that State-Issued ID, which I was told I can get at the DMV... but there's not really any clear-cut information about what I require in order to get such an ID card. Is it a driver's license? Is it something else? The DMV is, of course, always packed up like a tin of sardines which isn't ideal in order to get information, and their lines are always busy at our local office. Have any of you encountered this, and what is it all about?

 

And on an unrelated note, I'm having a blast in Washington State! The weather is very reminiscent of the UK but far warmer on a regular, which I'm absolutely in awe of. Couple that with its Evergreen State status, and I'm honestly in heaven.

 

Thank you for any advice/ assistance in advance, guys!

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Re the driving: yes it’s common practice to have to do the tests. I did in WI, it’s all pretty common sense standard, I didn’t bother to study at all and still passed with no mistakes.

 

Also you don’t “need” a licence when it’s time for AOS, or even your current state having issued you ID, so long as you have an ID issued by a recognisable state; such as your passport or UK drivers licence (if unexpired). Plenty of people don’t or can’t drive, it would be ludicrous to have a state issued drivers license as a requirement during AOS

 

As for changing your name, in 99% of cases all you need to do that is your marriage certificate. I wouldn’t touch your passport until it’s time to renew unless you like spending money on things you don’t have to. 

 

For bank account etc again it doesn’t need to be a “state issued” ID just a valid picture ID. I opened my current bank account while I was here over a year ago on a tourist visa with my passport and nothing else. Some banks require a SSN but not all or even most. 

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2 minutes ago, dentsflogged said:

Re the driving: yes it’s common practice to have to do the tests. I did in WI, it’s all pretty common sense standard, I didn’t bother to study at all and still passed with no mistakes.

 

Also you don’t “need” a licence when it’s time for AOS, or even your current state having issued you ID, so long as you have an ID issued by a recognisable state; such as your passport or UK drivers licence (if unexpired). Plenty of people don’t or can’t drive, it would be ludicrous to have a state issued drivers license as a requirement during AOS

 

As for changing your name, in 99% of cases all you need to do that is your marriage certificate. I wouldn’t touch your passport until it’s time to renew unless you like spending money on things you don’t have to. 

 

For bank account etc again it doesn’t need to be a “state issued” ID just a valid picture ID. I opened my current bank account while I was here over a year ago on a tourist visa with my passport and nothing else. Some banks require a SSN but not all or even most. 

Hiya! Thank you for the response.

 

Ah, no problem at all; I gathered it was a requirement but wasn't sure how it worked from state to state. I primarily confused myself by all of the rigorous explanations on the WA Licensing site. I'll brush up on my knowledge of driving laws/ regulations for this state and go ahead to take the tests when we have the financial excess for it! At the moment I'm fine with being a pedestrian due to everything being so close.

 

Oh I see! God, that makes it so much easier. 

 

Great stuff on the name change! Due to the registry office asking me about changing my name when we booked the ceremony/ paid for the marriage license, is it safe to assume that they've sorted out the name change? I'll keep trying to get in touch with them but they're unfortunately very slippery to get a hold of on the phone. And as for the passport aspect, that's honestly great news! I wouldn't have minded awfully if it was required of me by law to get it changed/ updated but absolutely would have complained the whole time; dealing with the passport office is NOT cheap business!! I'll keep my passport as it is until the renewal date comes up.

 

Interesting... my husband and I went into his bank, which is actually a Credit Union, and I handed over everything I had at the time (SSN, proof of address, etc), and the man we spoke to at the desk said that I needed a state-issued identification. I'll have a little gander into this aspect a bit more; it might have just been the guy we happened to speak to on the day, or it might be an extra requirement due to Credit Unions functioning a little bit differently to banks. I found it a bit odd as well, truth be told. Hopefully we can drop in on Monday/ Tuesday having cleared things up to get my own bank account and our joint account set up utilising my UK passport.

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46 minutes ago, AmyOlivia said:

Salutations, one and all!

 

I apologise for my lacking presence around the forum since my approved interview date; as you can all imagine, things have been rather hectic ever since my arrival into the US of A.

 

My other half and I sealed the deal with marriage on May 20th, so we're finally on the way to getting all of our AOS done and dusted!!

 

However, I do have a fair few questions regarding what steps I need to be taking now that we are indeed married. I'm aware of and have been looking at the AOS step-by-step guide etc, but some extra clarification would be fab.

 

First and foremost, we arranged when booking our marriage ceremony that I am having my surname changed to that of my husband's. I made sure to specifically state it, as I didn't want any further confusion down the line. We received a package from our courthouse marriage ceremony, but most of its information seems contradictory (to me personally; it says to fill out and return a marriage certificate and marriage license... which we did at the ceremony itself). We received our marriage certificate in the mail (currently trying to pin them down on the certified copy we paid for) you dont need a certified MC. You only need an original and you will provide photocopies of it for the AOS package forms. and all of that jazz, so is there anything further I need to do now that you're all aware of, WA State dwellers?

 

The marriage package does also tell me how to change my name for US Citizens, it does not work that way for immigrants and your county services would never offer the instructions for immigrants on my Social Security Card and everything, but I've seen some contradictory/ confusing advice from others on the forum as to whether it's worth doing as such. Doubtfully you would be able to, dont bother. Apply for a replacement SSN in your married name on the I765 instead. I have my own card from working abroad on the J Visa previously, and by all accounts this will remain active without any further tweaking but won't be valid until I get my work authorisation paperwork. Should I head into the office and get my name changed on the card? If so, will this impede the AOS process at all? If memory serves, I need to fill out the AOS paperwork using my maiden name very incorrect. You file for AOS in the name you wish to be known as after marriage. Your EAD or GC will be likely the first ID in your married name that will allow you TO change everything else so you need that to state the name you wish to elect to take after marriage. , so I really don't fancy causing confusion/ any delays in our packet being processed.

 

Further to the above question, what will happen with my UK Passport? Obviously it is all registered in my maiden name, and has until 2024 until it runs out. Would I be better to keep my maiden name on it until the renewal date, or is it required for me to apply for a new passport/ name change copy/ whatever might be required? If so, how can I do that? If the UK will allow it to be renewed with so much time left on it, you can. If you dont, you'll have to book tickets in your maiden name and carry your MC when you travel. You should probably post that single question in the UK forum rather than a general forum as we arent all from the UK here. Probably would be best to divide your questions up by topic next time you post too so they can be placed in the correct forum by moderators.

 

Another glaring confusion for me at present is receiving a US Driver's License. I've researched the rules for WA Licensing and everything, but it outlines essentially having to take all of the WA tests in some manner or other. Is that rather common practise? In most states, absolutely. A non-US citizen most times will have to wait for EAD to drive and have to go through the knowledge and road test.  I'm almost 24 years old and have had my UK full License since the age of 17, but this doesn't seem to count for much. I'm aware that I need a US Driver's License to take for AOS interview, No you just need photo ID. A foreign passport even if expired and in the maiden name will do. so I'm somewhat apprehensive of this fact now that I think about it and how much seems to be involved.

 

I'm also very aware of my requirement for a State-Issued identification card to take in order to set up a bank account/ multiple bank accounts here in the US. That will depend on the bank. Requirement is a strong word. I only needed my passport in my maiden name, SSN in my maiden name, and my MC. Go to a different bank. My husband and I have already signed a lease agreement for our apartment, at which we're living with a roommate, so we have that aspect down pat, and obviously my SSN is actually helpful in this circumstance as well. The missing piece is that State-Issued ID, which I was told I can get at the DMV... but there's not really any clear-cut information about what I require in order to get such an ID card. Youll need the same documents required for a DL in your state for non US citizens. Is it a driver's license? Is it something else? The DMV is, of course, always packed up like a tin of sardines which isn't ideal in order to get information, and their lines are always busy at our local office. Have any of you encountered this, and what is it all about? 

 

 

And on an unrelated note, I'm having a blast in Washington State! The weather is very reminiscent of the UK but far warmer on a regular, which I'm absolutely in awe of. Couple that with its Evergreen State status, and I'm honestly in heaven.

 

Thank you for any advice/ assistance in advance, guys!

 

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4 minutes ago, AmyOlivia said:

 

 

Great stuff on the name change! Due to the registry office asking me about changing my name when we booked the ceremony/ paid for the marriage license, is it safe to assume that they've sorted out the name change?

 

The MC is your legal name change document whether it states your new married surname attached to your given names or not. There is nothing for them to figure out. If they issue MCs in the new married surname in your county, they will. If they dont, then it will still state your maiden surname. Either way it does not matter. Having your husband's name on it is all you need to elect to use his surname as your surname from this point on.

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2 minutes ago, K1visaHopeful said:

 

Thank you for the response!

 

Re. Certified MC copy and AOS packet: Fantastic, getting photocopies will be no problem at all.

 

Re. Name change: I'll apply for a fresh card using my married name, no problem! I believe the form is the filing of it is free, correct?

 

Re. AOS Name: Understood, that makes far more sense. I'll ensure to fill out my name as I want it to be going forward.

 

Re. Passport: No problem, I'll post a separate discussion in the regional forum just to confirm. It does, however, make sense to travel with my passport as it stands/ using my maiden name until renewal and carry about my MC. Far cheaper than a fresh passport, of course. And truthfully, we won't be very likely to be travelling out of the USA much in the space between now and my passport's renewal date, save for perhaps a trip back to the UK to see my family and a honeymoon jaunt. I don't think it'll be much of an issue.

 

Re. Driving License: That certainly rings a bell from the mish-mash of information about driving license requirements for WA, thank you!

 

Re. Bank stuff: Hmm, I did gather that it would vary by bank and the like; I'll look up my husband's bank online to see what they list on there and if there's no dice, we can easily find me another bank to register with so I can have an account for the US. I've been somewhat lucky because my UK bank account is a subsidiary of an international bank with a relatively local branch, else I would be in a lot more of a difficult situation regarding this part.

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1 hour ago, AmyOlivia said:

Another glaring confusion for me at present is receiving a US Driver's License. I've researched the rules for WA Licensing and everything, but it outlines essentially having to take all of the WA tests in some manner or other. Is that rather common practise? I'm almost 24 years old and have had my UK full License since the age of 17, but this doesn't seem to count for much. I'm aware that I need a US Driver's License to take for AOS interview, so I'm somewhat apprehensive of this fact now that I think about it and how much seems to be involved.

Welcome to the Evergreen State!

 

Yes, this is common.  My husband is 52 and had to take both the written and road tests.  Actually, immigrants in Washington state are extremely lucky, as they can get a DL without regard to status.  

 

Are you sure you need a DL for your AOS interview?  I have never read that.  You could also get a non-driving state ID, but I think you will find that the driving test is much easier than in the UK.

 

Also be advised that the Seattle FO has one of the largest waits in the country for AOS interviews (clogged by Microsoft, Amazon, Boeing, Google etc H1b applicants probably), with the current processing time something like 15-23 months.

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1 minute ago, Jorgedig said:

Welcome to the Evergreen State!

 

Yes, this is common.  My husband is 52 and had to take both the written and road tests.  Actually, immigrants in Washington state are extremely lucky, as they can get a DL without regard to status.  

 

Are you sure you need a DL for your AOS interview?  I have never read that.  You could also get a non-driving state ID, but I think you will find that the driving test is much easier than in the UK.

 

Also be advised that the Seattle FO has one of the largest waits in the country for AOS interviews (clogged by Microsoft, Amazon, Boeing, Google etc H1b applicants probably), with the current processing time something like 15-23 months.

Thank you so much!! I absolutely love it here ❤️ 

 

Fabulous, no problem at all! And oh, that's actually pretty fantastic! So I don't require my EAD and such things before doing my tests to get a DL? Truthfully, because everything is a close walking distance around where we're living and a soon-to-be-purchased bicycle, I'm not DESPERATE to be driving. I was primarily panicking because I assumed that a DL was like, a very vital piece of identification for doing basically everything.

 

I'm honestly not surprised at all about Seattle having such a long waiting time, considering all of the industries that have employees coming in and the like. That is certainly a very steep waiting time, but it somewhat aligns with what we'd been expecting. I recall reading somewhere that I obviously can't travel until the AOS is all processed, and the time listed was something like 24 months as the longest, so we've planned around that and my family will be making trips out here to see us as often as they can.

 

When our AOS is in-hand and being processed, I'll feel far better; long waiting time or no. I'm very glad that I decided to get an EAD rather than wait for my GC!! I don't think I'd be able to handle being out of work for that long...!

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My husband had to have his Washington DL for us to open a joint account at my credit union (BECU).  It is actually related to the Patriot Act I believe.  

 

Regarding the SSN name change:  I'm the USC/petitioner, but I did change my surname following the instructions on the website. If I remember correctly, it was simply a form to fill out and a copy of the marriage certificate (certified copies of which are $3, at least in King County).  I would imagine for you it would be exactly the same procedure, as unlike most immigrants you do not have to wait for an initial SSN.  In fact, I haven't even done my passport yet (just lazy), or my DL.  Must get to it!

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1 minute ago, AmyOlivia said:

So I don't require my EAD and such things before doing my tests to get a DL?

Nope!  Husband got his DL last November and didn't get his EAD/AP card until March of this year.

 

Speaking of which, you did apply for both the AP/EAD, correct?  It is a combo card, and free to apply at the time of applying for AOS.  You can in fact travel and be admitted back to the US with AP.

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1 minute ago, Jorgedig said:

My husband had to have his Washington DL for us to open a joint account at my credit union (BECU).  It is actually related to the Patriot Act I believe.  

 

Regarding the SSN name change:  I'm the USC/petitioner, but I did change my surname following the instructions on the website. If I remember correctly, it was simply a form to fill out and a copy of the marriage certificate (certified copies of which are $3, at least in King County).  I would imagine for you it would be exactly the same procedure, as unlike most immigrants you do not have to wait for an initial SSN.  In fact, I haven't even done my passport yet (just lazy), or my DL.  Must get to it!

Aha!! That would explain why TwinStar couldn't open an account for me. They're a Credit Union, so I would assume they function pretty similarly. As a few others have said, however, there will be other banks that don't require a Washington DL/ state-issued ID and that will likely be our next step to look into dependent on how much the knowledge and driving test for WA will cost.

 

Good stuff, that sounds pretty darn painless! I'll keep chasing the registry office for our certified marriage copy (we paid for one when booking the wedding at the courthouse) and make sure to get my SSN details updated using the stated form.

 

I recall reading about the dual AP/ EAD card, yes! I'm in the process of getting all of the paperwork together for our AOS things and as such haven't filled out the forms regarding AP/ EAD, but I'll absolutely be sending that in my AOS packet! Also very valuable to know that I can travel using the AP ❤️

 

Ah, that's amazing!! I want to be a teacher here in Olympia, and some of the pathways to get that started (at least for one of the alternate routes, because I'm not a certified teacher) is to teach at a community college utilising my degrees (BA English & Drama/ Theatre, MA Creative Writing).

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4 minutes ago, AmyOlivia said:

I want to be a teacher here in Olympia, and some of the pathways to get that started (at least for one of the alternate routes, because I'm not a certified teacher) is to teach at a community college utilising my degrees (BA English & Drama/ Theatre, MA Creative Writing).

Good plan.  I think there is at least one community college in Oly.

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1 minute ago, Jorgedig said:

Good plan.  I think there is at least one community college in Oly.

There are a couple close enough to where we live to justify me primarily using public transport/ a bicycle/ my own two legs to reach, so that's perfect for me!

 

Again, thank you so much for your help and insight ❤️

 

Am I right in thinking that sending my AP/ EAD paperwork alongside my AOS can have the card with me in 90 days? If at all possible, I would love to be in school-based employment for this academic year, and even if I get the card back on the 90th day, it will be in time before Fall terms start. Of course, with Seattle being as busy as it is, I'd understand if the card takes longer to get back to me, and I'll simply get work wherever I can when I can after receiving the card.

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1 minute ago, AmyOlivia said:

There are a couple close enough to where we live to justify me primarily using public transport/ a bicycle/ my own two legs to reach, so that's perfect for me!

 

Again, thank you so much for your help and insight ❤️

 

Am I right in thinking that sending my AP/ EAD paperwork alongside my AOS can have the card with me in 90 days? If at all possible, I would love to be in school-based employment for this academic year, and even if I get the card back on the 90th day, it will be in time before Fall terms start. Of course, with Seattle being as busy as it is, I'd understand if the card takes longer to get back to me, and I'll simply get work wherever I can when I can after receiving the card.

The combo card is not processed locally.  The entire packet (AOS/EAD/AP) gets sent to the lockbox, and from there is distributed to the NBC in Missouri.  The AOS portion goes to the LFO, and after that you will be notified of a time and date to go to the LFO (in Tukwila) for biometrics.  My husband did his biometrics about three weeks after they received the packet, and the combo card arrived about four months later.  That was quite fast actually, as most others on the November AOS filing board here had to wait longer, and some haven't even received their card yet.  

7 minutes ago, AmyOlivia said:

Again, thank you so much for your help and insight ❤️

Of course!

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