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Social Security refuses to change my last name to what I want it to be based on new husband's culture

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I married my Husband who is here on a K1 in May 2019. We are in the AOS process and I would like to change my last name. It is his culture for the wife to take both his first and last name as her full last name. Social Security refuses to do this without a court order stating that it is protocol for the wife to only take the husband's last name not both his first and last name as her full last name. I've done my research and to get a court order is extensive in that after all is said and done, after full state bureau investigation, background check, finger prints (all which I'm fine with actually), my birth certificate would change as if I were born with that name (which I'm not fine with). This cannot be the first time a woman wants to choose her last name based on culture and incorporate her husband's full name? I'm baffled because the rep at social security could not tell me why he couldn't issue me a new SS card with the name I chose besides saying "that's protocol"!?! No cite to law or anything. Suggestions???

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Legal name change rules based on marriage are based on where the marriage occurred. If the marriage occurred in the US, then the state's laws for eligible name changes apply. While that may differ from your home culture, that's just the way name changes work in the US.

Name changes for SSA purposes are defined in their POMS. They will follow legal name changes based on where the marriage occurred (or via a court order, as you are aware).


Timelines:

Spoiler

AOS (I-485 + I-131 + I-765):

9/25/17: sent forms to Chicago

9/27/17: received by USCIS

10/4/17: NOA1 electronic notification received

10/10/17: NOA1 hard copy received. Social Security card being issued in married name (3rd attempt!)

10/14/17: Biometrics appointment notice received

10/25/17: Biometrics

1/2/18: EAD + AP approved (no website update)

1/5/18: EAD + AP mailed

1/8/18: EAD + AP approval notice hardcopies received

1/10/18: EAD + AP received

9/5/18: Interview scheduled notice

10/17/18: Interview

10/24/18: Green card produced notice

10/25/18: Formal approval

10/31/18: Green card received

 

K-1:

Spoiler

I-129F

12/1/16: sent

12/14/16: NOA1 hard copy received

3/10/17: RFE (IMB verification)

3/22/17: RFE response received

3/24/17: Approved!

3/30/17: NOA2 hard copy received

 

NVC

4/6/2017: Received

4/12/2017: Sent to Riyadh embassy

4/16/2017: Case received at Riyadh embassy

4/21/2017: Request case transfer to Manila, approved 4/24/2017

 

K-1

5/1/2017: Case received by Manila (1 week embassy transfer??? Lucky~)

7/13/2017: Interview: APPROVED!!!

7/19/2017: Visa in hand

8/15/2017: POE

 

 

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Try another SSA Office and if the next one refuse to provide said service, speak to a supervisor.

 

If that one refuse you to speak to a supervisor, go to the SSA website and submit the issue or call them and tell them your issue, maybe they'll help out from there which is likely.


K-1 Visa process (I'm the USC [F])

Spoiler

 

Sent packet: August 10, 2018

USCIS Received package: August 14, 2018
Notification in text/email: August 17, 2018
Mail received from USCIS: January 22, 2019
USCIS Approved I-129F Petition: January 17, 2019

NVC Received Case: February 14, 2019

NVC Case # Assigned: February 14, 2019

US Embassy Received: Not sure but got email reply - March 11, 2019
Instructions Received via e-mail: March 19, 2019

Interview: May 7, 2019 - Approved!
Arriving to US/POE: June 12, 2019
Married July 15, 2019

 

AOS Process
Sent packet: July 27, 2019
USCIS Received Package: July 29, 2019
[Hiccup] Package was sent back due to incorrect fee and sent on August 5, 2019.
Notification in text/email: August 12, 2019 @ 12:30AM
Check cashed: August 12, 2019
NOA 1 Mail: August 16, 2019
Biometric: September 5, 2019 @ Atlanta, GA

RFIE: Sept. 28, 2019 - got in mail by Oct 3, 2019. [They lost my Husband's Birth Certificate]
Sent back RFIE: Oct 16, at office by Oct 17.

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North Carolina permitted name changes, for reference: https://www.marriagenamechange.com/blog/north-carolina-name-change/

 

SSA POMS sections covering name changes:

https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/poms.nsf/lnx/0110212055

https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/poms.nsf/lnx/0110212001

https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/poms.nsf/lnx/0110212025

 

Quote

Evidence of new name

Accept a name change document based on marriage, civil union or domestic partnership as evidence of the new name to be shown on the card, if the new name can be derived from the document.

Any of the following changes to the last name, using the names shown on the evidence, are permitted:

  • bride takes the groom’s last name;

  • groom takes bride’s last name;

  • spouse or partner takes the other parties’ last name;

  • spouse or partner takes one part of the other parties’ compound surname;

  • compound name (with or without hyphen) of each spouse’s or partner’s original surname for either or both parties; or

EXCEPTION: An entirely new first and last name as shown on the name change document which is permitted under statutory law per Regional Chief Counsel Precedent is acceptable evidence of a change to the first and last name. To determine if the request for a change to the first name is permitted based on a marriage document, see PR 02712.000, State Law on Name Changes based on Marriage.

NOTE: If the document itself has an entry specifying what new name will be used, the SSN card must be issued in the legal name specified on the document.

 

Interesting tidbit - First name changes permitted by state: https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/poms.nsf/lnx/1502712000


Timelines:

Spoiler

AOS (I-485 + I-131 + I-765):

9/25/17: sent forms to Chicago

9/27/17: received by USCIS

10/4/17: NOA1 electronic notification received

10/10/17: NOA1 hard copy received. Social Security card being issued in married name (3rd attempt!)

10/14/17: Biometrics appointment notice received

10/25/17: Biometrics

1/2/18: EAD + AP approved (no website update)

1/5/18: EAD + AP mailed

1/8/18: EAD + AP approval notice hardcopies received

1/10/18: EAD + AP received

9/5/18: Interview scheduled notice

10/17/18: Interview

10/24/18: Green card produced notice

10/25/18: Formal approval

10/31/18: Green card received

 

K-1:

Spoiler

I-129F

12/1/16: sent

12/14/16: NOA1 hard copy received

3/10/17: RFE (IMB verification)

3/22/17: RFE response received

3/24/17: Approved!

3/30/17: NOA2 hard copy received

 

NVC

4/6/2017: Received

4/12/2017: Sent to Riyadh embassy

4/16/2017: Case received at Riyadh embassy

4/21/2017: Request case transfer to Manila, approved 4/24/2017

 

K-1

5/1/2017: Case received by Manila (1 week embassy transfer??? Lucky~)

7/13/2017: Interview: APPROVED!!!

7/19/2017: Visa in hand

8/15/2017: POE

 

 

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2 hours ago, LLPW said:

I married my Husband who is here on a K1 in May 2019. We are in the AOS process and I would like to change my last name. It is his culture for the wife to take both his first and last name as her full last name. Social Security refuses to do this without a court order stating that it is protocol for the wife to only take the husband's last name not both his first and last name as her full last name. I've done my research and to get a court order is extensive in that after all is said and done, after full state bureau investigation, background check, finger prints (all which I'm fine with actually), my birth certificate would change as if I were born with that name (which I'm not fine with). This cannot be the first time a woman wants to choose her last name based on culture and incorporate her husband's full name? I'm baffled because the rep at social security could not tell me why he couldn't issue me a new SS card with the name I chose besides saying "that's protocol"!?! No cite to law or anything. Suggestions???

Culture is not a basis for legal name changes.  State law is.  

 

Social Security is correct.  Under state law, you can take your husband's last name as your own.  If you want to take his first name as part of your last name, then you need a court order.  

The onus is on you to prove that a law allows you to take your husband's first name as part of your last name since you are the one asserting that it's legal for you to do so.  The onus is not on Social Security to cite a law to you.

Edited by aaron2020

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1 hour ago, WaterLeaf said:

Try another SSA Office and if the next one refuse to provide said service, speak to a supervisor.

 

If that one refuse you to speak to a supervisor, go to the SSA website and submit the issue or call them and tell them your issue, maybe they'll help out from there which is likely.

Another SSA Office is not going to ignore state laws about taking a spouse's last name.  OP has to follow state laws on changing her last name.  

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8 hours ago, LLPW said:

I married my Husband who is here on a K1 in May 2019. We are in the AOS process and I would like to change my last name. It is his culture for the wife to take both his first and last name as her full last name. Social Security refuses to do this without a court order stating that it is protocol for the wife to only take the husband's last name not both his first and last name as her full last name. I've done my research and to get a court order is extensive in that after all is said and done, after full state bureau investigation, background check, finger prints (all which I'm fine with actually), my birth certificate would change as if I were born with that name (which I'm not fine with). This cannot be the first time a woman wants to choose her last name based on culture and incorporate her husband's full name? I'm baffled because the rep at social security could not tell me why he couldn't issue me a new SS card with the name I chose besides saying "that's protocol"!?! No cite to law or anything. Suggestions???

Just take the last name, it might be against your husband's culture, but everybody needs to be flexible. 

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6 hours ago, aaron2020 said:

The onus is on you to prove that a law allows you to take your husband's first name as part of your last name since you are the one asserting that it's legal for you to do so.  The onus is not on Social Security to cite a law to you.

Bingo.

 

SSA clerks are not attorneys. They have no need to cite law nor even know the law.

To avoid the whole slew of messes involved with somebody making a claim about what is a legal name change, the SSA has policies in place. Those policies are available in the POMS (cited above). SSA employees are expected to know and follow policies.


Timelines:

Spoiler

AOS (I-485 + I-131 + I-765):

9/25/17: sent forms to Chicago

9/27/17: received by USCIS

10/4/17: NOA1 electronic notification received

10/10/17: NOA1 hard copy received. Social Security card being issued in married name (3rd attempt!)

10/14/17: Biometrics appointment notice received

10/25/17: Biometrics

1/2/18: EAD + AP approved (no website update)

1/5/18: EAD + AP mailed

1/8/18: EAD + AP approval notice hardcopies received

1/10/18: EAD + AP received

9/5/18: Interview scheduled notice

10/17/18: Interview

10/24/18: Green card produced notice

10/25/18: Formal approval

10/31/18: Green card received

 

K-1:

Spoiler

I-129F

12/1/16: sent

12/14/16: NOA1 hard copy received

3/10/17: RFE (IMB verification)

3/22/17: RFE response received

3/24/17: Approved!

3/30/17: NOA2 hard copy received

 

NVC

4/6/2017: Received

4/12/2017: Sent to Riyadh embassy

4/16/2017: Case received at Riyadh embassy

4/21/2017: Request case transfer to Manila, approved 4/24/2017

 

K-1

5/1/2017: Case received by Manila (1 week embassy transfer??? Lucky~)

7/13/2017: Interview: APPROVED!!!

7/19/2017: Visa in hand

8/15/2017: POE

 

 

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8 hours ago, aaron2020 said:

Another SSA Office is not going to ignore state laws about taking a spouse's last name.  OP has to follow state laws on changing her last name.  

Ah I see what I missed here. Yes, SSA did mention that they'll only limit a few thing when it come to name change of what they will only allow.


K-1 Visa process (I'm the USC [F])

Spoiler

 

Sent packet: August 10, 2018

USCIS Received package: August 14, 2018
Notification in text/email: August 17, 2018
Mail received from USCIS: January 22, 2019
USCIS Approved I-129F Petition: January 17, 2019

NVC Received Case: February 14, 2019

NVC Case # Assigned: February 14, 2019

US Embassy Received: Not sure but got email reply - March 11, 2019
Instructions Received via e-mail: March 19, 2019

Interview: May 7, 2019 - Approved!
Arriving to US/POE: June 12, 2019
Married July 15, 2019

 

AOS Process
Sent packet: July 27, 2019
USCIS Received Package: July 29, 2019
[Hiccup] Package was sent back due to incorrect fee and sent on August 5, 2019.
Notification in text/email: August 12, 2019 @ 12:30AM
Check cashed: August 12, 2019
NOA 1 Mail: August 16, 2019
Biometric: September 5, 2019 @ Atlanta, GA

RFIE: Sept. 28, 2019 - got in mail by Oct 3, 2019. [They lost my Husband's Birth Certificate]
Sent back RFIE: Oct 16, at office by Oct 17.

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~~Moved to SSN, from US Citizenship Discussion - the topic is about the USC wife wanting to change names on SSC.~~


Spoiler

Met Playing Everquest in 2005
Engaged 9-15-2006
K-1 & 4 K-2'S
Filed 05-09-07
Interview 03-12-08
Visa received 04-21-08
Entry 05-06-08
Married 06-21-08
AOS X5
Filed 07-08-08
Cards Received01-22-09
Roc X5
Filed 10-17-10
Cards Received02-22-11
Citizenship
Filed 10-17-11
Interview 01-12-12
Oath 06-29-12

Citizenship for older 2 boys

Filed 03/08/2014

NOA/fee waiver 03/19/2014

Biometrics 04/15/14

Interview 05/29/14

In line for Oath 06/20/14

Oath 09/19/2014 We are all done! All USC no more USCIS

 

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Oh darling, am a Nigerian and i have never heard of the culture of taking birth first and last name of your husband.  You only need to take the last name, just like the rest of the world.  American is quite flexible, if there's culture in Nigeria that require such, am sure USA system will make provision for it.  As a Nigerian, all you need to take is your husband last name.  My sister, don't let anyone stress you 

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I actually like the idea of taking his full name as my last and met more than several female friends when in Port Harcourt who did the same thing. So maybe it's not necessarily a "Nigerian" thing but one specific to his tribe? I'm not sure but either way it looks like I'll be taking his last name only and changing my middle name to his first name, if I can. I'm not stressed about it. Chalk it off to things we do for love. ♥️♥️ I love his culture and Rick heritage!! Thanks so much for all of the responses they were quite helpful!!! 

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