Chapter 5 - Verification of Identifying Information
As part of the adjudication of immigration benefits requests, USCIS reviews evidence and biometrics submitted by the benefit requestor, as well as USCIS systems, to verify identifying information.
A. Full Legal Name
In general, the requestor’s full legal name is comprised of his or her:
Given name (first name);
Middle name(s) (if any); and
Family name (last name).
The legal name is one of the following:
The requestor’s name at birth as it appears on the birth certificate (or other qualifying identity documentation when a birth certificate is unavailable); or
The requestor’s name following a legal name change.
For purposes of requesting immigration benefits, a married person may use a legal married name (spouse’s surname), a legal pre-marriage name, or any form of either (for example, hyphenated name, pre-married name or spouse’s surname). Requestors must submit legal documentation, such as that listed below, to show that the name used is the requestor’s legal name:
Civil marriage certificate;
Country identity document;
Foreign birth certificate;
Certificate of naming; or
Construction of Foreign Names
Construction of foreign names varies from culture to culture. For example, certain countries’ birth certificates display names in this order: family name, middle name, given name. This is in contrast to most birth certificates issued in the United States, which display names in this order: given name, middle name, family name.
B. Personal Information
1. Date of Birth [Reserved]
Benefit requestors may select their gender on USCIS applications, petitions, and requests. Neither the initial selection nor any later change in gender selection requires supporting documentation. Further, the gender selected does not need to match the gender listed on other immigration documents nor does it need to match other supporting identity documents, such as a birth certificate, a passport, or state identification.
Except for the Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document (Form N-565), USCIS does not require a medical certification, a physician’s letter, a government-issued document reflecting the requested gender designation, or a court order recognizing a change of gender.
Benefit requestors seeking to change the gender selection on a benefit request while the request is still pending with USCIS should contact the USCIS Contact Center. If USCIS has already made a decision on the benefit request and issued a secure document accordingly, benefit requestors should file the appropriate form, with the applicable fee, for replacement documents.
[^ 1] There may be instances in which a birth certificate is unobtainable because of country conditions or personal circumstances. In these instances, a requestor may submit secondary evidence or affidavits to establish his or her identity. Any affidavit should explain the reasons primary evidence is unavailable. For more information, see the Department of State (DOS) Reciprocity Tables for identity documents that cannot be obtained in particular countries and during specific time periods. Asylum applicants may be able to establish their identity, including their full legal name, with testimony alone.
[^ 2] See 8 CFR 204.2. See 8 CFR 320.3. See 8 CFR 322.3.
[^ 3] For more information, see 8 Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM) 403.1, Name Usage and Name Change.
[^ 4] The current instructions for the Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document (Form N-565) require applicants to submit documents in support of their request to change their gender marker. Therefore, this policy does not currently apply to Form N-565, and benefit requestors must continue to submit the form in accordance with the form instructions. See 8 CFR 103.2(a)(1). See Appendix: Sample Language for Healthcare Certification [1 USCIS-PM E.5, Appendices Tab]. Note that the current instructions for the Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card (Form I-90) do not require applicants to submit documents in support of their request to change their gender marker.
[^ 5] To comply with statutory confidentiality requirements, USCIS has special procedures in place for previously filed or approved benefit requests under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) or Trafficking Victims Protection Act. See 8 U.S.C. 1367. For information on case inquiries related to a previously filed VAWA self-petition or related adjustment of status, see the Abused Spouses, Children and Parents webpage. For information on case inquiries related to a previously filed Petition for U Nonimmigrant Status (Form I-918), Application for T Nonimmigrant Status (Form I-914), or related Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (Form I-485), see the Victims of Human Trafficking and Other Crimes webpage.
[^ 6] See Volume 11, Travel and Identity Documents, Part A, Secure Identity Documents Policies and Procedures, Chapter 3, Reissuance of Secure Identity Documents [11 USCIS-PM A.3].