TN 6 (08-06)

PR 02706.012 Georgia

A. PR 06-284 Gibraltar, England Marriage Document as Evidence of Name Change for Purposes of Securing Replacement Social Security Card for an Alien Who is a Resident of Georgia Number Holder - Mariem I. B~

DATE: August 14, 2006

1. SYLLABUS

SSA can process the name change because the State of Georgia acknowledges a foreign marriage in England, and the wife is taking the husband's last name.

2. OPINION

QUESTION

In a case governed by Georgia law, you asked whether a Gibraltar, England marriage document would constitute sufficient evidence of a legal name change to allow Social Security to issue a replacement Social Security Number (SSN) card to the number holder (NH) that reflects the name change.

Short Answer

Because NH is an alien and is requesting a legal name change based on a foreign marriage that took place before she was last admitted to the U.S. and the name on the current immigration document does not support the name requested on the SSN card, the Agency cannot accept the marriage document as evidence of a legal name change pursuant to POMS RM 00203.200(H)(2)(d).

BACKGROUND

The facts as presented are that NH, n~ Mariem I. filed an application for a SSN card to reflect a change in her last name to B~ as a result of a marriage that took place in April 2004. At the time of the application, NH was over eighteen years of age. As evidence of her identity, NH presented a permanent resident card under her maiden name, a Georgia driver's license under her new name, and a Certified Copy of an Entry Marriage issued by the marriage registrar of Gibraltar, England showing that she was married to Christopher A. B~ on April 29, 2004. NH's permanent resident card shows that she has been a resident since September 28, 2004. Pursuant to POMS RM 00203.200G.2, you requested an opinion on the validity of the foreign marriage document.

DISCUSSION

When applying for a replacement SSN to show a name change, the applicant generally must document both the name change and his or her identity. The name-change document may be either a court order or a marriage document and should identify the applicant by both the old and new names. In addition, the applicant must submit documentation showing a description or photograph, or biographical information that can be compared to SSA's number holder identification data. The description, photograph, or biographical data may be either on the name change document itself, or on two other identity documents. See POMS RM 00203.210(A)(1). If the state where the applicant resides would acknowledge the foreign marriage, and the wife is taking the husband's last name, SSA can process the name change request. See POMS RM 00203.210(D)(8).

The first issue is whether Georgia would recognize the foreign marriage as valid in Georgia. The United States Supreme Court in Patterson v. Gaines, 47 U.S. 550, 588 (1848) stated that "[i]f the marriage were in a foreign country, proof that it was solemnized in the manner usual in that country would be good presumptive proof that it was a valid marriage." Likewise, Georgia case law presumes the validity of marriage and will shift the burden of proof to those contesting the validity of the marriage. See Dale v. State, 15 S.E. 287, 289 (Ga. 1892) ("The validity of the marriage will be presumed, in the absence of evidence tending to show that it was not regular and conformable to law.") "Whenever in a proven transaction in any foreign country, two apparently marriageable persons are shown to have entered into any form of solemnization or contract which comprehends a present undertaking to be husband and wife, and nothing appears to cast discredit on the proceeding, the foreign law should be presumed prima facie to make them married." Id. Therefore, we have no reason to believe that this marriage would not be recognized by Georgia, provided the documentation is adequate.

The Rules and Regulations of the State of Georgia read that "every driver's license or identification card shall be issued in the birth name of the applicant except as follows: (1) persons whose name has changed by reason of marriage may obtain a driver's license or identification card in the married name upon submission of a certified copy of a marriage license reflecting the change of name or a certified copy of a court ordered name change." Ga. Comp. R. & Regs. 375-3-1-.24; see also, (http://www.dds.ga.gov/drivers/DLdata.aspx?con=1748208403&ty=dl).

Given the liberal state standards for justifying a name change, we believe the state's standard for initial proof of a marriage, when offered solely for the purpose of a name change, would similarly be liberal. We can find no reason that the State of Georgia would not recognize the Gibraltar, England marriage document as adequate to support a name change. Therefore, we believe the marriage document satisfies the requirement for documentation of the change of name.

The next issue is whether SSA will accept the Gibraltar, England marriage register as evidence of a name change since NH is an alien. According to POMS RM 00203.200(H)(2)(d), if the SSN applicant is an alien and is requesting a legal name change based on a foreign marriage that took place before he/she was last admitted to the U.S. and the name on the current immigration document does not support the name requested on the SSN card, SSA cannot accept the marriage document as evidence of a legal name change. See id. That section prohibits SSA from accepting the foreign marriage as the basis for a legal name change when neither the applicant's foreign passport nor the U.S. immigration document show the new name requested. Instead, SSA must refer the applicant to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to get a new immigration document in the requested new legal name. See id. NH's permanent resident card shows her old name and indicates that she has been a resident since September 28, 2004. The marriage document shows that NH' marriage took place on April 29, 2004, before she was last admitted to the U.S. Accordingly, NH should be referred to DHS to get a new immigration document in her married name.

CONCLUSION

For the foregoing reasons, we do not believe SSA can process the name change request. NH should be referred to DHS to get a new immigration document in her married name pursuant to POMS RM 00203.200(H)(2)(d).

Mary A. S~
Regional Chief Counsel
By: ______________
Joseph P. P~
Assistant Regional Counsel

B. PR 06-265 Whether a Bermuda marriage certificate may be used as evidence for a legal name change under Georgia law. Number Holder: Karen R. B~

DATE: August 8, 2006

1. SYLLABUS

SSA can process the name change because the State of Georgia acknowledges a foreign marriage in Bermuda, and the wife is taking the husband's last name.

2. OPINION

QUESTION

You asked for an opinion on whether a Bermuda marriage certificate may be used as evidence sufficient to justify a legal name change for a Georgia resident.

ANSWER

We believe that the state of Georgia will recognize the Bermuda marriage certificate as evidence sufficient to justify a legal name change, and SSA should comply with the NH's request to change her name on her Social Security card.

BACKGROUND

On June 15, 2006, Karen R.~ C~ (NH) filed an application for a new Social Security card, and requested that the card reflect her new name, Karen R.~ B~. The reason for her name change is that she was married to Darin W.~ B~, on June 16, 2002. NH is a U.S. citizen and is over 18 years of age. NH submitted her marriage documentation which consists of a copy of her Bermuda marriage certificate. She has also submitted a copy of her United States passport which shows her old name, and a copy of her driver's license which shows her new name.

OPINION

When applying for a replacement Social Security card due to a name change, an applicant generally must submit documentation of the name change and his or her identity. Pursuant to POMS RM 00203.210(A)(1), an applicant may submit one legal name change document that identifies the applicant by both the old and new names (e.g., a court order for a name change or marriage document). The document must also show either (1) a description or photograph, or (2) biographical information that can be compared to SSA's number holder identification (numident) data. Id. The description, photograph, or biographical data may be either on the name change document itself, or on two other identity documents (one showing the prior name and one showing the current name). Id. If the name change is because a bride wants to take her husband's last name, SSA may accept the marriage document as a legal name change for the bride if the new name can be derived from the marriage document; even if the marriage document only shows each partner's first names, the bride's prior surname, and husband's surname. POMS RM 00203.210(B)(1)(a). The marriage document can be accepted as evidence of identity for both the old and new names when it also includes biographical information (e.g., date of birth, age, or parents' names) and/or physical information (e.g. physical description, photograph). Id.; see POMS RM 00203.200(G)(2).

SSA POMS RM 00203.210(B)(1)(d). further provides, "for a U.S. resident, a name change based on a foreign marriage depends on the laws of the State where he/she resides . . . If the State of residence recognizes the [foreign] marriage, assume it applies its own State law for a legal name change." If the state where the applicant resides would acknowledge the foreign marriage, and the wife is taking the husband's last name, SSA can process the name change request. See POMS RM 00203.210(D)(8).

A review of Georgia precedent reveals that the state recognizes foreign marriages. Georgia case law presumes the validity of marriage and will shift the burden of proof to those contesting the validity of the marriage. See Dale v. State, 15 S.E. 287, 289 (Ga. 1892) ("The validity of the marriage will be presumed, in the absence of evidence tending to show that it was not regular and conformable to law."). "Whenever in a proven transaction in any foreign country, two apparently marriageable persons are shown to have entered into any form of solemnization or contract which comprehends a present undertaking to be husband and wife, and nothing appears to cast discredit on the proceeding, the foreign law should be presumed prima facie to make them married." Id. The United States Supreme Court in Patterson v. Gaines, 47 U.S. 550, 588 (1848), also stated that "[i]f the marriage were in a foreign country, proof that it was solemnized in the manner usual in that country would be good presumptive proof that it was a valid marriage." Therefore, we have reason to believe that this marriage will be recognized by Georgia, provided the documentation is adequate.

When the state recognizes a foreign marriage, POMS RM 00203.210(B)(1)(d) says SSA should look to the state's law on legal name changes. Georgia's requirements for a driver's license name change are minimal. Georgia requires that whenever any person, after applying for or receiving a driver's license, changes his/her name by marriage or otherwise, such person shall apply to the department for a license showing the correct name or address within 60 days. Ga. Code. Ann. § 40-5-33 (2006). The Rules and Regulations of the State of Georgia read that "every driver's license or identification card shall be issued in the birth name of the applicant except as follows: (1) persons whose name has changed by reason of marriage may obtain a driver's license or identification card in the married name upon submission of a certified copy of a marriage license reflecting the change of name or a certified copy of a court ordered name change." Ga. Comp. R. & Regs. 375-3-1-.24; see also (http://www.dds.ga.gov/drivers/ DLdata.aspx?con=1748208403&ty=dl).

There is no evidence of fraud or improper purpose in the presentation of the alleged marriage document or the proposed name change. Given the liberal state standards for justifying a name change, we believe Georgia's standard for initial proof of a marriage would be minimal when offered for the purpose of a name change. The Bermuda document indicates that NH was previously divorced, although the document does not indicate the jurisdiction of the divorce. The courts of Georgia give full faith and credit to foreign state judgments relating to divorce. Benefield v. Harris, 240 S.E.2d 119 (Ga. App. 1977). Therefore, we can find no reason that the state of Georgia would not recognize the Bermuda marriage document as adequate to support a name change. We believe the marriage document satisfies the requirement for documentation of the change of name.

As noted above, SSA requires documentation of identity separate from documentation of the name change, and this may include a description, photograph, or biographical data on either the name change document itself (i.e., the marriage document), or on two other identity documents (one showing the prior name and one showing the current name). In this case, the Bermuda marriage certificate does not contain a picture or description, but identifies NH's age as well as her father's first name and surname. While this may be sufficient biographical data that can be compared to SSA's numident data, the marriage certificate is dated June 17, 2002, over two years from the marriage event to NH's current name change request. In such a case, the applicant must provide two identifying documents, one with the old name and one with the new name. See POMS RM 00203.210(A)(1). Therefore, the name change cannot be processed on the basis of the Bermuda marriage certificate alone, but can be processed if the NH produces the other identifying documents that comply with POMS RM 00203.210(A)(1). Here, NH has presented a passport with her old name and a driver's license with her new name. Both documents contain a picture, description, and biographical data that can be compared to SSA's numident data. Therefore, the marriage documentation, combined with the passport and driver's license, appears sufficient under the law to support her name change request.

CONCLUSION

In light of the foregoing authority, it is our opinion that NH's Bermuda marriage certificate and declaration that she is married, combined with NH's passport and driver's license, is sufficient evidence to allow her to change her name in Georgia. To the extent the biographical data on the marriage certificate is consistent with SSA records, SSA should grant her request to change her name on her Social Security card.

Mary A. S~
Regional Chief Counsel
By: ______________
Brian S~
Assistant Regional Counsel

C. PR 06-223 Canadian Marriage Certificate as Evidence of Legal Name Change for Purposes of Securing Replacement Social Security Card for Georgia Resident - Rachel L. B~ (NH)

DATE: August 1, 2006

1. SYLLABUS

SSA can process the name change because the State of Georgia acknowledges a foreign marriage in Canada, and the wife is taking the husband's last name.

2. OPINION

QUESTION

You asked whether a document appearing to be a Canadian marriage certificate constitutes valid evidence of a legal name change, such that the former Rachel L. T~, a resident of Georgia, could be issued a new Social Security card with the name Rachel L. B~.

ANSWER

Yes, SSA can process the name change provided the information in NH's two identifying documents is consistent with NH's numident data.

BACKGROUND

The Number Holder (NH), a U.S. citizen and Georgia resident, holds a Social Security card in the name of Rachel L. T~. On June 28, 2006, NH applied for a replacement card with the name Rachel L. B~. NH supplied an alleged Ontario, Canada, marriage certificate as documentation of the marriage as well as two Georgia driver's licenses.

DISCUSSION

When applying for a replacement Social Security card to show a name change, the applicant generally must submit documentation of the name change and of his or her identity. The name-change documentation may be either a court order or a marriage document. The name-change document should identify the applicant by both the old and new names. In addition, the applicant must submit documentation showing a description or photograph, or biographical information that can be compared to SSA's number holder identification data.

The description, photograph, or biographical data may be either on the name-change document itself, or on two other identity documents (one showing the prior name and one showing the current name). See POMS RM 00203.210(A)(1). If the state where the applicant resides would acknowledge the foreign marriage, and the wife is taking the husband's last name, SSA can process the name change request. See POMS RM 00203.210(D)(8).

The NH presented a Canadian marriage document as evidence to support her request for a Social Security card name change. The Canadian marriage document appears to be adequate under Georgia law to validate a legal name change. "Whenever in a proven transaction in any foreign country, two apparently marriageable persons are shown to have entered into any form of solemnization or contract which comprehends a present undertaking to be husband and wife, and nothing appears to cast discredit on the proceeding, the foreign law should be presumed prima facie to make them married." Dale v. State, 15 S.E. 287 (Ga. 1892). Furthermore, Georgia's requirements for a driver's license name change are minimal. Georgia requires that whenever any person, after applying for or receiving a driver's license, changes his/her name by marriage or otherwise, such person shall apply to the department for a license showing the correct name or address within 60 days.

Ga. Code. Ann. § 40-5-33 (2006). The Rules and Regulations of the State of Georgia state that "every driver's license or identification card shall be issued in the birth name of the applicant except as follows: (1) persons whose name has changed by reason of marriage may obtain a driver's license or identification card in the married name upon submission of a certified copy of a marriage license reflecting the change of name or a certified copy of a court ordered name change." Ga. Comp. R. & Regs. 375-3-1-.24; see also, (http://www.dds.ga.gov/drivers/DLdata.aspx?con=1748208403&ty=dl).

There is no evidence of fraud or improper purpose in the presentation of the alleged marriage document or the proposed name change. Given the liberal state standards for justifying a name change, we believe Georgia's standard for initial proof of a marriage would be minimal when offered for the purpose of a name change. We can find no reason that the state of Georgia would not recognize the Canadian marriage document as adequate to support a name change. We believe the marriage document satisfies the requirement for documentation of the change of name.

In this claim, the Canadian marriage document identifies NH by both her old and new names, but this name-change document does not contain a picture, description, or biographical data that can be compared to SSA's numident data. In addition to the name-change document, NH submitted two Georgia driver's licenses, one in her old name and one in the new name. Each driver's license shows a photograph and DOB. It appears that, in addition to the name-change document, NH has submitted two identifying documents meeting the requirements of POMS RM 00203.210(A)(1).

CONCLUSION

For the foregoing reasons, we believe SSA can process the name change requested by NH provided the information in NH's two identifying documents is consistent with NH's numident data.

Mary A. S~
Regional Chief Counsel
By: ______________
Pamela W. W~
Assistant Regional Counsel

D. PR 06-222 Jamaican Marriage Document as Evidence of Legal Name Change for Purposes of Securing Replacement Social Security Card for Georgia resident - Glenda J. H~ (NH)

DATE: August 1, 2006

NOTE: As a result of the November 3, 2016 publication of GN 00307.585 (GN 00307 TN 44), opinions PR 06-222 and PR 06-242 are now obsolete. See section GN 00307.585, which supersedes the instructions in PR 06- 242 and PR 06-222.

1. SYLLABUS

SSA can process the name change because the State of Georgia acknowledges a foreign marriage in Jamaica, and the wife is taking the husband's last name.

2. OPINION

QUESTION

You asked whether a document appearing to be a Jamaican marriage document constitutes valid evidence of a name change, such that the former Glenda H. J~, a resident of Georgia, could be issued a new Social Security card with the name Glenda J. H~.

ANSWER

Yes, SSA can process the name change based on the Jamaican marriage document provided the information in the Jamaican marriage document is consistent with NH's numident data.

BACKGROUND

The Number Holder (NH), a U.S. citizen and Georgia resident, holds an SSN card in the name of Glenda H~ her birth name. On May 31, 2006, NH applied for a replacement card with the name Glenda J. H~. NH supplied a certified, duplicated copy of a document entitled "Marriage Register" from the Registrar General's Department, Jamaica, for a marriage solemnized or performed on February 2, 2006, at Tower Isle in the parish of St. Mary, Jamaica, with the signatures of a marriage officer, registrar, and two witnesses. NH also submitted a Georgia driver's license in the name of Glenda H. J~ and a copy of a U.S. passport signed by Glenda J~.

DISCUSSION

When applying for a replacement Social Security card to show a name change, the applicant generally must submit documentation of the name change and of his or her identity. The name-change documentation may be either a court order or a marriage document. The name-change document should identify the applicant by both the old and new names. In addition, the applicant must submit documentation showing a description or photograph, or biographical information that can be compared to SSA's number holder identification data.

The description, photograph, or biographical data may be either on the name change document itself, or on two other identity documents (one showing the prior name and one showing the current name). See POMS RM 00203.210(A)(1).

If the state where the applicant resides would acknowledge the foreign marriage, and the wife is taking the husband's last name, SSA can process the name change request. See POMS RM 00203.210(D)(8).

The NH presented a Jamaican marriage document as evidence to support her request for a Social Security card name change. The Jamaican marriage document appears to be adequate under Georgia law to validate a legal name change. "Whenever in a proven transaction in any foreign country, two apparently marriageable persons are shown to have entered into any form of solemnization or contract which comprehends a present undertaking to be husband and wife, and nothing appears to cast discredit on the proceeding, the foreign law should be presumed prima facie to make them married." Dale v. State, 15 S.E. 287 (Ga. 1892). Furthermore, Georgia's requirements for a driver's license name change are minimal. Georgia requires that whenever any person, after applying for or receiving a driver's license, changes his/her name by marriage or otherwise, such person shall apply to the department for a license showing the correct name or address within 60 days.

Ga. Code. Ann. § 40-5-33 (2006). The Rules and Regulations of the State of Georgia state that "every driver's license or identification card shall be issued in the birth name of the applicant except as follows: (1) persons whose name has changed by reason of marriage may obtain a driver's license or identification card in the married name upon submission of a certified copy of a marriage license reflecting the change of name or a certified copy of a court ordered name change." Ga. Comp. R. & Regs. 375-3-1-.24; see also, (http://www.dds.ga.gov/drivers/DLdata.aspx?con=1748208403&ty=dl).

There is no evidence of fraud or improper purpose in the presentation of the alleged marriage document or the proposed name change. Given the liberal state standards for justifying a name change, we believe Georgia's standard for initial proof of a marriage would be minimal when offered for the purpose of a name change. The Jamaican document indicates that NH was previously divorced, although the document does not indicate the jurisdiction of the divorce. The courts of Georgia give full faith and credit to foreign state judgments relating to divorce. Benefield v. Harris, 240 S.E.2d 119 (Ga. App. 1977).

Therefore, we can find no reason that the state of Georgia would not recognize the Jamaican marriage register as adequate to support a name change. We believe the marriage certificate document satisfies the requirement for documentation of the change of name.

In this claim, the Jamaican marriage document indicates NH's old and new names. The marriage document also provides some biographical data that can be compared with numident data (NH's age). It appears that the marriage document meets the requirements of POMS RM 00203.210(A)(1) and (B).

Although we note NH also provided a Georgia driver's license and a signed passport, each document showing NH's photograph and each issued in the name of Glenda J~, it appears the name change can be processed on the basis of the Jamaican marriage document alone.

CONCLUSION

For the foregoing reasons, we believe SSA can process the name change based on the Jamaican marriage document provided the information in the marriage document is consistent with NH's numident data.

Mary A. S~
Regional Chief Counsel
By: ______________
Pamela W. W~
Assistant Regional Counsel


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/1502706012
PR 02706.012 - Georgia - 01/18/2018
Batch run: 01/18/2018
Rev:01/18/2018