Eva Luna and other immigration pros: An unusual question

I’m a US citizen and my wife has immigrated from Greece. We filed the I-485, etc., over two years ago at the Chicago field office and now have finally been scheduled for the immigration interview. Next week.

So we took all our documentation–about a banker’s box worth of papers–to an immigration attorney for a final overview. We’re fine in all areas…except one, about which the attorney thought there might be a problem but wasn’t sure.

I’ve since talked to three different attorneys, in various specialties, and none are absolutely sure. The consensus so far seems to be “Go ahead to the interview and hope for the best.”

That is indeed what we’ll probably do…but I was hoping Dopers might have some additional input. Here goes:

In 1977, I changed my name by the “Usage” method. That is, I typed up an affidavit stating the name change, had it notarized, mailed a copy to anyone who might have been interested, got a new Social Security card (same number, new name), new Driver’s License, etc., etc., I have now used the new name exclusively for 26 years, all without benefit of court order.

Will the interviewing officer balk at accepting a birth certificate with my original name and all more recent papers in my current name…without a court document?

I have the original name change affidavit, a copy of my original SS card, old name, with a copy of my current SS card, new name, both with the same SS number, a social security account statement showing continuity of employment records, and a very recent affidavit from my brother stating that I am the same individual, despite the name change.

The main question: Should we request re-scheduling of the interview while I get a court order? Or is it better to go ahead and risk our case being put in suspension? Any ideas on how great the risk might be?

And, Eva Luna, I caught your thread in the Pit the other day. You have my heartfelt commiserations regarding your situation. Let me assure you that your input here, if any, is very sincerely appreciated.

Thanks for the empathy.

And well, your question is one I’ve never heard before. I have no idea how long it takes to get a name change hearing, or what it involves, but if it were me, I’d give it a shot with what you have now. If you want to play it a bit safer, you might try getting another affidavit or two, preferably from non-relatives (work associates, old neighbors, something like that).

I think the worst BCIS is likely to do is postpone final adjudication of your case to give you a chance to resolve the issue, and there’s a decent chance they won’t care, given how much other documentation you already have. The SSA documentation in particular should have a decent amount of probative value.

Good luck, and let us know how it goes!

You might also want to bring along a copy of that part of your state’s law which says that “change by usage” is legal, just in case your interviewer isn’t aware of the fact (you’d be surprised how many people in positions like that aren’t).

I usually ask marriage based visa questions in the usenet group:
alt.visa.us.marriage-based The people there have seen it all.