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Hemutian

Pros and cons of name change (China-specific)

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Posted (edited)

I know this topic has been discussed before, but those threads are years old, so thought I'd get a fresh perspective.

We're planning a county clerk marriage in two days. Haven't yet decided whether she'll keep her Chinese surname, or take mine (and use her Chinese surname as a new "middle name").

 

Here's a brief summary of some of the pros and cons I identified in earlier threads on this topic. Are there any others to be aware of?

 

Pros (partial list):

  • I didn't actually see this directly stated anywhere, but it occurs to me that one benefit of a Chinese wife taking her American husband's surname is that it counts towards the "relationship bonafides" evidence list. (is this true?)
  • Helps beneficiary more thoroughly adapt to life in America, an English language environment, etc
  • For those worried about the maiden name on her Chinese passport not matching her married name on her travel document, she can always get an "addendum" page added to her Chinese passport (thanks @RandyW )

 

Cons (partial list):

  • In 2013,  @Darnell wrote that his Chinese wife keeping her maiden surname "Makes ID very easy - just think about changing her hukuo book, china id card, china passport, etc - what a PITA !" (My question to Darnell, updated to 2019, is this: is it really necessary for her to actually change her hukou book, China ID card, Chinese passport, etc? I guess if her passport was about to expire it might be an issue, but my fiancee's is good for 7 years. If she did take my name, couldn't she just keep her Chinese documents for use in China, and use her US documents in the US? As for airlines it appears that the marriage certificate should "connect" the maiden to the married name. I suppose the hassle is one isn't really given a chance to submit a marriage certificate in the airline ticket online booking process, triggering the need for phone booking, which can have extra costs?)
  • Keeping her maiden name is a sign of respect for her heritage and culture. It's a way for her to keep a visceral connection with her homeland. And on the practical side, her Chinese surname is very easy to read and pronounce by Americans (unlike certain Chairmans of the Party's Chinese surnames).
Edited by Hemutian
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In my case, my wife and I decided she would take my surname when she is ready to be naturalized.  It seems to me to be less of a pain, since going through the naturalization process a name change is pretty straightforward, and will be tied to her American passport and other identification.  At that point she will likely shred her Chinese passport, and have already closed or transitioned anything in her name in China.  We just felt doing a name change in China would waste time and money at this point, and cause confusion with all the documents for the I-130 and other immigration forms. She can verbally take my name regardless for the time being, so it's not really a big deal I want to waste time and effort on.

 

I've never seen before a name change being considered evidence.  I would consider it secondary evidence at best.


DCF CR1 filing in Guangzhou, China:

Married - 2018-09-25

I-30 submitted at Guangzhou office - 2019-06-17
I-130 approved - 2019-06-18
DS-260 Instructions Received, waiting to submit...

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4 hours ago, Hemutian said:

I know this topic has been discussed before, but those threads are years old, so thought I'd get a fresh perspective.

We're planning a county clerk marriage in two days. Haven't yet decided whether she'll keep her Chinese surname, or take mine (and use her Chinese surname as a new "middle name").

 

Here's a brief summary of some of the pros and cons I identified in earlier threads on this topic. Are there any others to be aware of?

 

Pros (partial list):

  • I didn't actually see this directly stated anywhere, but it occurs to me that one benefit of a Chinese wife taking her American husband's surname is that it counts towards the "relationship bonafides" evidence list. (is this true?)

No, this is not evidence as people do all sorts of things with their family name based on marriage from not changing it, to using hyphens.  I don't see there being any extra weight given at AOS, or ROC because the spouse adopted the other spouse's family name.

4 hours ago, Hemutian said:
  • Helps beneficiary more thoroughly adapt to life in America, an English language environment, etc
  • For those worried about the maiden name on her Chinese passport not matching her married name on her travel document, she can always get an "addendum" page added to her Chinese passport (thanks @RandyW )

 

Cons (partial list):

  • In 2013,  @Darnell wrote that his Chinese wife keeping her maiden surname "Makes ID very easy - just think about changing her hukuo book, china id card, china passport, etc - what a PITA !" (My question to Darnell, updated to 2019, is this: is it really necessary for her to actually change her hukou book, China ID card, Chinese passport, etc? I guess if her passport was about to expire it might be an issue, but my fiancee's is good for 7 years. If she did take my name, couldn't she just keep her Chinese documents for use in China, and use her US documents in the US? As for airlines it appears that the marriage certificate should "connect" the maiden to the married name. I suppose the hassle is one isn't really given a chance to submit a marriage certificate in the airline ticket online booking process, triggering the need for phone booking, which can have extra costs?)
  • Keeping her maiden name is a sign of respect for her heritage and culture. It's a way for her to keep a visceral connection with her homeland. And on the practical side, her Chinese surname is very easy to read and pronounce by Americans (unlike certain Chairmans of the Party's Chinese surnames).

Russia also has difficulties in changing names in their international passports due to the presence of the national ID (commonly called the Domestic Passport).  I am not aware of someone from Russia being able to get an addendum added to the travel passport.  In my wife's case, she did choose to take my family name when we got married.  We got her GC and DL in her married name, but her Russian passport was still in her previous name.  This was not an issue for the most part when she traveled, but just this last August when she was leaving Russia, passport control gave her a hard time about the name differences.  We may look into getting everything changed eventually, but that would require a legal name change document for the Russian domestic passport as Russia does not accept our marriage certificate as authority, time will tell.

 

In the end, the choice to change one's family name should be up to the individual, I did not pressure my wife, or even mention the possibility, it was completely her choice.


Visa Received : 2014-04-04 (K1 - see timeline for details)

US Entry : 2014-09-12

POE: Detroit

Marriage : 2014-09-27

I-765 Approved: 2015-01-09

I-485 Interview: 2015-03-11

I-485 Approved: 2015-03-13

Green Card Received: 2015-03-24 Yeah!!!

I-751 ROC Submitted: 2016-12-20

I-751 NOA Received:  2016-12-29

I-751 Biometrics Appt.:  2017-01-26

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For clarity, I have copied the link on how to get a name change for a Chinese passport.

 

http://www.visarite.com/Chinese_Passport_Name_Amendmant_Unable.htm


玉林,桂 resident
Feb 23, 2005 ........ Mailed I-129F to TSC . . . . . . . . .March 8th ............. P1 from CSC
April 11 ................. P2 from CSC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .April 25 ................ NVC sends packet to GUZ
June 22 ................ P3 received . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Nov 22 ................. PASSED Interview
Dec 2 ................... Made it! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Dec 16 .................. Married
May 23, 2006 ..... TDL, EAD, AP received. . . . . . . . . June 16, 2006 ........ AOS interview - wait for FBI bkgrnd check
Apr 19, 2007 .... EAD # 2. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Oct 7, 2008 ......... 10-year green card
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - K2 (son) - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Dec 2 ..................... AOS/EAD filed . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Dec 17 ................... 21st birthday
Jan 4, 2007 .......... transferred to CSC . . . . . . . . . . . Feb 6, 2007 ............ transferred to MSC
Feb 23 .................... EAD card . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Apr 16 .................... AOS denied (over 21)
Jul 26 .................... Master Calendar hearing . . . . . . Nov 15 ...................... Removal hearing
Jan 29, 2008 ........ Voluntary departure

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2 hours ago, RandyW said:

For clarity, I have copied the link on how to get a name change for a Chinese passport.

 

http://www.visarite.com/Chinese_Passport_Name_Amendmant_Unable.htm

Thanks, Randy,

 

So what is your final recommendation? Change her name, or keep her Chinese surname? (Or do you think it's really up to the individual and doesn't matter either way?)

Her Chinese surname is RAO, which as I said, is kind of a nice surname, really easy for Americans to read and pronounce.

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Interesting topic that I have only just begun to think about.  I think in our case it would be easier to keep her name for a few reasons.  It seems easier to keep it; we are a little older and don't expect to have children together that would potentially cause problems with last name; I don't believe changing names is common in China(I could be wrong); and it keeps things interesting.  Ultimately I will leave the decision to her, but I don't think it's necessary.  

 

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, Hemutian said:

Thanks, Randy,

 

So what is your final recommendation? Change her name, or keep her Chinese surname? (Or do you think it's really up to the individual and doesn't matter either way?)

Her Chinese surname is RAO, which as I said, is kind of a nice surname, really easy for Americans to read and pronounce.

Personal choice. Between the Chinese ID and passport, her green card, and the marriage license  that SHOULD be enough to keep everyone (for example airline counter clerks) happy. If not, call for a supervisor until you reach someone who can straighten them out.

 

I believe most Chinese women will keep their maiden name, even in the U.S.


玉林,桂 resident
Feb 23, 2005 ........ Mailed I-129F to TSC . . . . . . . . .March 8th ............. P1 from CSC
April 11 ................. P2 from CSC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .April 25 ................ NVC sends packet to GUZ
June 22 ................ P3 received . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Nov 22 ................. PASSED Interview
Dec 2 ................... Made it! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Dec 16 .................. Married
May 23, 2006 ..... TDL, EAD, AP received. . . . . . . . . June 16, 2006 ........ AOS interview - wait for FBI bkgrnd check
Apr 19, 2007 .... EAD # 2. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Oct 7, 2008 ......... 10-year green card
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - K2 (son) - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Dec 2 ..................... AOS/EAD filed . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Dec 17 ................... 21st birthday
Jan 4, 2007 .......... transferred to CSC . . . . . . . . . . . Feb 6, 2007 ............ transferred to MSC
Feb 23 .................... EAD card . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Apr 16 .................... AOS denied (over 21)
Jul 26 .................... Master Calendar hearing . . . . . . Nov 15 ...................... Removal hearing
Jan 29, 2008 ........ Voluntary departure

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8 hours ago, RandyW said:

Personal choice. Between the Chinese ID and passport, her green card, and the marriage license  that SHOULD be enough to keep everyone (for example airline counter clerks) happy. If not, call for a supervisor until you reach someone who can straighten them out.

 

I believe most Chinese women will keep their maiden name, even in the U.S.

That's what she decided when we filed for the marriage license today. I think everything will be just fine!

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We opted to use her last name as a middle name (for her green card) that way even an immigration officer can see she is married and have consistent mane usage.  She has a AZ DL (Traveler License) and a TSA frequent traveler ID.  Hope that helps as the wife is still traveling on a China Passport.  She reenters the USA with her Global Traveler ID and her Green Card.  She has flown domestically and internationally, cruised with no issues.


In Arizona its hot hot hot.

http://www.uscis.gov/dateCalculator.html

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Posted (edited)

My wife kept her last name after we got married. We figured it would be a huge PIA for her since she would have to update her information in China and Japan. If we were younger she would have changed it (so she says haha).

 

We never thought that changing her last name would make it easier to transition. I mean it is America, people's last names are all over the place. Plus we'll be living in an area were people are used to Asian last names. 

 

 

Edited by Scott001

I-130                                                                   I-129F
Sent: 3/9/2019 (Phoenix LB)                         8/9/2019
Delivered: 3/12/2019                                      8/12/2019
NOA1: 3/15/2019 (LIN)                                  8/15/2019

NOA2: 9/24/2019                                            9/24/2019 - Denial 

I-130 sent to NVC: 10/8/2019

Received NVC:   :clock: 

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Not worth it for us. Just another opportunity for USCIS to screw things up. Plus the PIA with everything else. My wife actually offered to change her last name but I preferred she keep it.

 

On top of that, names like Ying Smith or Qing Kraczinki seem, to be quite frank, odd. 

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Just my input here. My Wife took on my last name when we got married 4 years ago, and since then has travelled back to China multiple times, as well as a recent 3 week trip to South America. Her Green Card is in her Married name, her Passport and Visa are in her Chinese name. She always keeps a copy of our Marriage Certificate with her, and has experienced no problems domestic, or abroad. 

Everyone else's experiences will differ, but she has not experienced any problems. She even recently got a Travel Document (because her Passport was stolen), and then replaced her Passport. The were no problems, or delays due to the different names on the documents.


Click Below to View my timeline (spoiler added to reduce visible space consumption)

 

Timeline to date:

11/11/14 - Met online through eHarmony
11/12/14 - Started communication through email (1-2 emails daily)
12/20/14 - Communicating through Phone Calls and Video Calls
07/04/15 - First Trip to China to visit her (spent time at her home, her hometown, and Beijing), Met the whole family.
07/18/15 - Sadly I had to return back to the US
10/01/15 - I am returning back to China to be with her again
10/11/15 - She will accompany me back on the same flight for 30 days
11/14/15 - She returns back to China
12/01/15 - I-129F Fed-Ex'd to the Lewisville address
12/03/15 - Packet signed for by the receiver
12/07/15 - NOA1 Generated
12/11/15 - NOA1 Received
01/14/15 - NOA2 Generated (Approved)
01/28/16 - NVC Received (Still waiting papers for official date)
01/29/16 - NVC Case# Assigned (Still waiting papers for official date)
02/03/16 - Case Sent to Embassy
02/04/16 - Case Received by Embassy
03/03/16 - Packet 3 Received
03/03/16 - Packet 3 Sent back to Embassy
03/04/16 - DS-160 Fee paid
03/09/16 - Packet 4 Received (Documents were prepared in advance)
04/02/16 - I return to China to provide moral and emotional support as she goes to her Interview on the 5th
04/05/16 - Interview Date (APPROVED!!!)

04/25/16 - POE Dallas Texas (DFW) smooth sailing through customs

04/25/16 - Arrived in Nashville, TN 10pm
04/29/16 - Marriage Certificate received
SSN filed somewhere after this point (exact date is not remembered, received after a 30 minute wait)
11/16/16 - AoS packet mailed (i-485, i-765, i-131)
11/18/16 - AoS packet received
12/06/16 - Check Cashed
02/28/17 - EAD and AP Approved
03/02/17 - NOA2 for EAD and AP Arrived
03/02/17 - EAD/AP Card Arrived

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