Updated on 04.11.2022
New I-765 required with new name?
We have applied for an L-1 visa for an employee of our company. The wife has obtained an L-2 visa and on the basis of this obtained a General Work Permit in the USA. Now the lady has decided to take the husband's name subsequently and has completed a name change. Does she have to notify the US authorities of the new name or even apply for a new visa or a new EAD?
We assume that the wife has also already received a new passport. The name change initially has no effect on the L-2 visa (in the old passport). In theory, the lady can continue to use her L-2 visa, but she must present both passports (old with L-2 visa and new with new name) and a copy of the (international) marriage certificate every time she enters the USA.
In practice, this procedure unfortunately does not always prove to be without complications. More intensive queries may arise at the border. In order to prevent possible problems, it may therefore make sense to apply for a new L-2 visa at the U.S. consulate during a stay in Germany. Either combined with a new personal interview appointment or alternatively by mail-in procedure (for certain groups of persons).
What the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) concerns: Unfortunately, the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (USCIS) is not quite as flexible here. In the event of a name change, the spouse must in any case apply for a "Replacement EAD" and also document the new name in the course of this. The application for a replacement EAD is an analogous procedure to the initial application for the Employment Authorization Card. I.e., the application form I-765 with all documents must be submitted again to the responsible service center of the USCIS. Unfortunately, the fee of currently $410 will also be due again. In addition, the original of the current EAD card must be attached to the application.
It is very important that the lady therefore keeps a copy of the (current) EAD with her at all times despite everything. As soon as she receives the Acknowledgement of receipt from the USCIS ("Receipt Notice"), she must also carry them with her and give a copy to the employer. While the application for reissuance of the General Employment Authorization EAD is in progress, these are the only documents that can prove the legal right to work in the USA. Unfortunately, EAD reissuance applications also take around three to ten months, depending on the USCIS Service Center in charge.
IMPORTANT: At the beginning of the year, there was a corresponding new regulation that L-2 visa holders who, after entering the country with an I-94 entry form have received the residence status "L2S" (for Spouse), can also pursue an activity directly in the USA without EAD. I.e., it would make sense to check which current residence status the lady has. If this is already designated as "L2S", a new EAD application would not be necessary.
Please note that the wife must also notify the Social Security Administration (SSA) in the USA of the name change (in connection with the Social Security Number there). In order to obtain a new corrected Social Security Card, the lady must appear in person at an office of the SSA. In order to have the Social Security Card changed, it may well be that the new EAD must first be waited for or alternatively that the I-94 with the status "L2S" must be presented. However, the lady can clarify this in advance with the SSA. For more information, please refer to the official website of the Social Security Administration.
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