Having arrived in the US (California state), and received a green card, I now face an obnoxious problem: my first name is neither pronounciable, nor memorable for Americans. This poses a serious challenge while networking & getting to know people, in that I need to spend the first 30 seconds on doing the naming dance, which introduces continuous friction in communication.

I wouldn't necessarily change it in my home country, but here it seems a must.

What are the required steps to have my name officially changed in the US?

  • 1
    Why the need of changing the name if official documents? It's quite natural for people to used simplified version of their names. Let's say Bill Gates is actually William Henry Gates III. I myself am using diminutive name Bartek everywhere but official documents, while my formal name is unpronounceable to foreigners - Bartłomiej.
    – vartec
    Jun 12, 2014 at 15:19
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    There is no need to formally change your name if you only want to use a different name for everyday situations. For example, Chinese speakers often choose an English first name that is entirely unrelated to their Chinese name. (Also, I'm curious - is "Gabriel" the name you are talking about? I can think of a few Americans I've known who go by the name Gabriel, apparently without problems. Maybe it's pronounced entirely differently in your home country though!) Jun 12, 2014 at 23:14

1 Answer 1


You will need petition the court to change your name officially this will likely need to happen where you live but as an example you can look at the New York City's court page.

Once that is done you will have to file an I-90 form pay the appropriate fees (see item (E)) and once it's processed and approved you will receive a new card.

Once done you will need to change all the other pertinent documentation (Social Security card, driver's license, etc)

Personally though if you intend to obtain a US citizenship I'd wait until then to change your name or if you don't intend to naturalize in the US you might consider taking a "stage name" rather then using your official name. I am sure it will be a lot easier.

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