I’ll be doing a name change when I do the Naturalization Oath ceremony later in the week. I didn’t have to pay any fees to do the name change. It’s free as long as you don’t try to use names such as Barack Obama, Brad Pitt, Airbus Jet or Kick U Down. Basically insults, violence or famous people/companies.
In the N400 Application for Citizenship forms, there is a section that asks if you want to change names. It’s that easy. You give the names that you want to use and at the naturalization ceremony you’ll see a judge who will do the name change and the Oath ceremony.
The thing with names is the US government takes the last name on your passport abd that’s the name that will appear on the Social Security card. It’s also the name you’ll be identified with. In my case I have 4 names on my Kenyan passport. The last name is not my name. It’s my dad’s name. The third name is the name I’ve used all my life.
When I got here, the third name disappeared due to the way the system operates. Their format is Last Name, First Name and middle initial. I acquired a new identity overnight. At my places of work before I joined the Air Force I had to get used to the new name. I would forget sometimes when colleagues referred me by that name.
When I joined the military, the name they use on uniforms and all identifications is the last name. It’s not easy to pronounce and hence the variations I get when people try to pronounce it are so varied. All that is about to change. I’m getting my identity back. I’ll have a lot to change. From government offices, to military paperwork, uniforms and a whole lot more. It’ll probably cost quite a bit to do all that it will be well worth it.
Who knew a mistake by the Kenyan government official who ‘forced’ me to add my dad’s name when I was a teenager, would come to haunt me one day. For years it didn’t matter as I was known by my name but coming to America changed all that. Luckily there was an easy hassle free way in the citizenship paperwork. My colleagues can finally stop calling me ganja..yea, I know 😅