I have three first names, which are separated with commas in my French passport and spaces in my birth certificate. I'm considering only keeping my first first name on my future US passport. Does changing one's name increase the processing time of the N-400 (Application for Naturalization Form)? Processing time of the N-400 = from the N-400 submission date to the oath ceremony.

Changing one's name is an option in the N-400 form:

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    Consider the potential problems caused by having different names in your passports. Also consider that you can change your name after you naturalize.
    – phoog
    Commented Apr 3, 2022 at 7:12
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    There are three possibilities, change your name in a state court before you submit the N-400, change it in a federal court as part of the naturalization process, or change it in a state court after the naturalization process is complete. Have you narrowed it down to one or two of these options? Commented Apr 3, 2022 at 9:19
  • @GerardAshton upside of naturalization during n400: it's free and doesn't take additional time from the applicant. Potential downsides is delay in application. Consequently I'm trying to understand if the latter exists. Commented Apr 3, 2022 at 9:24
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    I don't know if changing name as part of naturalization process increases processing time. The state department's Foreign Affairs Manual 8 FAM 403.1-5 seems to indicate that you could keep your three first names and one surname, but only show the first first name and surname on the passport. Example given is '"Robert Allen Zimmerman Dylan" to "Robert Dylan"' would be considered an immaterial name discrepancy. Don't know if it's a good idea. Commented Apr 3, 2022 at 9:48
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    @GerardAshton Changing your name before naturalization is probably the worst option of the three because it takes forever to get USCIS to issue a replacement green card with the new name. Check the I-90 processing times online if you're curious.
    – Brian
    Commented Apr 4, 2022 at 12:56

3 Answers 3


It doesn't affect the processing time per se, it may affect the naturalization ceremony schedule since for name change you need to have a judge to be at the ceremony.

Many ceremonies are conducted by various Federal officials (USCIS directors, occasionally US Representatives or Senators), but these people are not authorized to perform a name change - only Federal judges are.

You'll need to be scheduled to not just any ceremony, but a one that is conducted by a Federal judge. It's part of their job duties, so there will be a ceremony conducted by a judge, but not every ceremony is conducted by them.


I would keep all names, just to make life easier.

I'm a German citizen, and when I recently got a British passport, I was told that the names in the British passport have to exactly match the names in any other passport (from another country) that I have — even the order of first names has to be identical.

If your French passport shows a different name from your US passport, this might lead to complications further down the line.

  • Thanks! Who told you that? Immigration services? Commented Apr 5, 2022 at 18:42
  • That makes sense, you only have one name. If you change it - it has to be changed in all your documents from all the countries.
    – littleadv
    Commented Apr 5, 2022 at 20:29
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    @littleadv Actually, only speaking of primary experience, that's not exactly true. My Italian passport doesn't mention my three names of my French passport but only the primary one (although my birth certificate mentions the three) and in France, you can de facto choose what name you want to use and can change between them. All three names are only asked on official paperwork. It will depend on countries... Commented Apr 6, 2022 at 7:07
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    @FranckDernoncourt When I applied for British naturalisation it was pointed out to me, as I had given my first names in a different order than they were in my German passport. So I guess it was the Home Office who told me. Commented Apr 6, 2022 at 7:16
  • @OliverMason thanks, that's good to know Commented Apr 6, 2022 at 7:40

https://youtu.be/5QIu_gWfQ9A (4 min 30 seconds) claims that changing one's name may increase the time between the naturalization interview and the oath ceremony by up to a few months.

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If you are changing your name, it would possibly take you longer than an expected time. Since the federal courts or the USCIS can conduct ceremonies depending on a state, and only the federal court has an authority over a name change, this might be challenging if you live in a region where the USCIS conduct most of the oath ceremonies.

  • Right. As I said - it has to be a ceremony with a Federal Judge, which most of them are not.
    – littleadv
    Commented Apr 18, 2022 at 15:01
  • @littleadv thanks, the video gives possible delays ("a few months.") Commented Apr 19, 2022 at 1:38

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