If I have 2 surnames and they both appear on my passport and wedding certificate, should I put both on immigration forms?

Which one is my maiden name? I’m Colombian and the tradition is to use our father’s first surname (Rios) as first surname and our mother’s (Perez) as second surname (Lina Rios Perez). I also didn’t take my husband’s last name, so which one is my maiden name? Should I only put my first surname on forms that ask my last name or should I put both?

Asked on July 18, 2012 under Immigration Law, New York


SB, Member, California / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

On the application and all relevant forms, you should put your surname as you want for it to appear in your US immigration paperwork.  Where it asks for other names under which you have been known or have previously used, you can list the names as they appear on your birth certificate and/or your Colombian passport.  Some people choose to take on their husband' name, some choose to keep their maiden name, some choose to do a combination of the two.

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