TN 5 (08-06)

PR 02706.036 North Carolina

A. PR 06-266 Hong Kong marriage certificate as evidence of name change for purposes of securing replacement Social Security card for a North Carolina resident - Beth S~

DATE: August 8, 2006

1. SYLLABUS

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

2. OPINION

QUESTION

You asked whether a document appearing to be a Hong Kong marriage certificate constituted valid evidence of a name change, such that the former Beth A~, resident of North Carolina, could be issued a new Social Security card with the name Beth S. S~.

ANSWER

Yes. The document would be valid under North Carolina law and also contains biographical information and the old and new names, thus satisfying the requirements of POMS RM 00203.210, "Changing Numident Name Data."

BACKGROUND

Ms. S~, a U.S. citizen, holds an SSN card in the name of Beth S. A~. She supplied a document entitled Certificate of Marriage that states Beth S. A~ married Darren S~ on May 14, 2005, in Hong Kong. The certificate gives her age as 32. The certificate is signed by a deputy registrar of marriages and two witnesses.

DISCUSSION

When applying for a replacement social security card to show a name change, an applicant generally must document both the name change and his or her identity. See 20 C.F.R. § 422.110(a) (2006). 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).

A marriage valid under the law of a foreign nation will be recognized as such in North Carolina. See Hilton v. Guyot, 159 U.S. 113, 144 (1895); Loyd v. Loyd, 18 S.E. 2d 200, 201 (N.C. 1893). Ms. S~'s marriage does not appear to be a type expressly prohibited in North Carolina, such as a same-sex marriage. See N.C. Gen. Stat. § 51-1-2 (2006). Therefore, we have no reason to believe that this marriage would not be recognized by North Carolina, provided the documentation is adequate.

The documentation of the marriage appears to be adequate under North Carolina law to validate a name change. North Carolina strongly supports an individual's right to control her or his own name, and applies this principle to evidentiary matters that are uncontested. North Carolina is a common law state and common law provides that a person can adopt another name at will, absent a fraudulent or illegal purpose. In re M~, 216 S.E. 2d 147, 150 (N.C. 1975). North Carolina does provide a judicial means by which to change one's name. N.C. Gen. Stat §101-2; however, this procedure does not abrogate the common law. In re M~, 216 S.E. 2d at 150. In keeping with the common law tradition, in North Carolina a person may adopt a name other than his or her own as long as no fraudulent or illegal purpose is involved. Id. Furthermore, North Carolina evidentiary rules presume validity of marriage and will shift the burden of proof to those contesting the validity of marriage. L~, 18 S.E. 2d at 201; Parker v. Parker, 265 S.E. 2d 237, 239 (N.C. 1980) (marriage in foreign state presumed valid and party attacking validity of marriage has the burden of proof); State v. Schlachter, 61 N.C. 520 (N.C. Sup. Ct. 1868).

There is no evidence in this case of fraud or improper purpose, or any evidence to overcome the presumption of the validity of the marriage. Given the liberal state standard 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. In other contexts, a name change in North Carolina is easily effectuated. To change one's name on his or her voter registration card or an identification card, one merely needs to notify the county board of elections the state of the new name. N.C. Gen. Stat. § §163-82.16; 20-37.9 (2006). To change one's name on a driver's license, the Division of Motor Vehicles states that one must provide a Social Security Card with the new name and a marriage certificate, or other name-change document. North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles, Driver Handbook, Ch. 1 (2006). The State Attorney General's Office has opined, however, that the Division of Motor Vehicles cannot specifically limit the types of documentation that can be used for a name change. Attorney General Opinion to William S. H~, Commissioner of Motor Vehicles, 58 N.C.A.G. 4 (1988). This opinion reflects North Carolina's liberal view concerning name changes.

POMS RM 00203.210(A)(1) also requires documentation of identity separate from documentation of the name change. POMS RM 00203.200, "Evidence of Identity for an SSN Card," section G(2), gives as examples of required biographical information "age, date of birth, or parents' names." In this case, the marriage certificate contains the old and new names and the correct age of 32 at the time of the marriage on May 14, 2005, given her birthdate of February 24, 1973. Therefore, the name change can be processed on the basis of the Hong Kong marriage certificate.

CONCLUSION

For the foregoing reasons, we believe SSA can process the name change on the basis of the Hong Kong marriage certificate.

Mary A. S~
Regional Chief Counsel
By: _______________
Rollin M~
Assistant Regional Counsel

B. PR 06-262 Barbados marriage certificate as evidence of name change for purposes of securing replacement Social Security card for a North Carolina resident - Julie M. F~

DATE: August 7, 2006

1. SYLLABUS

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

2. OPINION

QUESTION

You asked whether a document appearing to be a Barbados marriage certificate constitutes valid evidence of a name change, such that the former Julie M. R~, a resident of North Carolina, can be issued a new Social Security card with the name Julie M. F~.

ANSWER

Yes. The marriage certificate appears to be valid on its face, and there is no evidence of fraud or illegal purpose. Furthermore, the certificate contains detailed biographical information that satisfies POMS RM 00203.210, "Changing Numident Name Data," so that separate documentation of the old and new names is not required.

BACKGROUND

Ms. F~ (Applicant), a U.S. citizen, holds a Social Security card in the name of Julie M. R~ and is applying for a replacement card with the name Julie M. F~. Applicant submitted what appears to be a marriage certificate for a marriage performed June 30, 2006. The document indicates that Julie M. R~ married Dennis P. F~. The document appears to include the signatures of a marriage official and two witnesses. The document contains Applicant's age, occupation, and father's name.

DISCUSSION

When applying for a replacement Social Security card to show a name change, an applicant generally must document both the name change and his or her identity. See POMS RM 00203.210(A)(1). The name change document may be a court order or a marriage document and should identify the applicant by both the old and new names. See id. 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. See id. The description, photograph, or biographical data may be either on the name-change document itself, or on two other identity documents. See id. 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 marriage valid under the law of a foreign nation will be recognized as such in North Carolina. See Hilton v. Guyot, 159 U.S. 113, 144 (1895); Loyd v. Loyd, 18 S.E. 200, 201 (N.C. 1893). Applicant's marriage does not appear to be a type expressly prohibited in North Carolina, such as a same-sex marriage. See N.C. GEN. STAT. § 51-1-2 (2006). Moreover, although Applicant was divorced at the time of the marriage, North Carolina courts presume the validity of a second marriage unless the contrary is proved. See In re Estate of A~, 559 S.E.2d 222 (N.C. Ct. App. 2002). Therefore, we have no reason to believe that this marriage would not be recognized by North Carolina, provided the documentation is adequate.

The documentation of the marriage appears to be adequate under North Carolina law to validate a name change. North Carolina strongly supports an individual's right to control her or his own name, and applies this principle to evidentiary matters that are uncontested. North Carolina is a common law state and common law provides that a person can adopt another name at will, absent a fraudulent or illegal purpose. In re M~, 216 S.E. 2d 147, 150 (N.C. 1975). North Carolina does provide a judicial means by which to change one's name. See N.C. GEN. STAT § 101-2. However, this procedure does not abrogate the common law. In re M~, 216 S.E. 2d at 150. In keeping with the common law tradition, in North Carolina a person may adopt a name other than his or her own as long as no fraudulent or illegal purpose is involved. Id. Furthermore, North Carolina evidentiary rules presume validity of marriage and will shift the burden of proof to those contesting the validity of marriage. L~, 18 S.E. at 201; Parker v. Parker, 265 S.E. 2d 237, 239 (N.C. 1980) (marriage in foreign state presumed valid and party attacking validity of marriage has the burden of proof); State v. Schlachter, 61 N.C. 520 (N.C. Sup. Ct. 1868).

There is no evidence in this case of fraud or improper purpose, or any evidence to overcome the presumption of the validity of the marriage. Given the liberal state standard 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. In other contexts, a name change in North Carolina is easily effectuated. To change one's name on his or her voter registration card or an identification card, one merely needs to notify the county board of elections of the new name. See N.C. GEN. STAT. §§ 163-82.16; 20-37.9 (2006). To change one's name on a driver's license, the Division of Motor Vehicles states that one must provide a Social Security card with the new name and a marriage certificate, or other name-change document. See North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles, Driver Handbook, Ch. 1 (2006). The State Attorney General's Office has opined, however, that the Division of Motor Vehicles cannot specifically limit the types of documentation that can be used for a name change. See Attorney General Opinion to William S. H~, Commissioner of Motor Vehicles, 58 N.C.A.G. 4 (1988). This opinion reflects North Carolina's liberal view concerning name changes. We can find no reason why the state of North Carolina would not recognize the Barbados marriage certificate as adequate to support a name change. Therefore, we believe the marriage certificate satisfies the requirement for documentation of the change of name.

POMS RM 00203.210(A)(1) also requires documentation of identity separate from documentation of the name change. In this case, the marriage certificate contains Applicant's name, age, and father's name, which according to the POMS, is sufficient biographical information that can be compared to SSA's numident data. See POMS RM 00203.210(A)(1); POMS RM 00203.200(G)(2) (indicating that the name and either age/date of birth or parents' names are required). Therefore, if the biographical information in the marriage certificate corresponds to SSA's numident data, the marriage certificate can serve as a basis for a name change.

CONCLUSION

For the foregoing reasons, we believe SSA can process the name change provided NH also furnishes other valid evidence of identity that satisfies POMS RM 00203.210.

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

C. PR 06-257 Antiguan marriage certificate as evidence of name change for purposes of securing replacement Social Security card for a North Carolina resident - Ingrid M. B~

DATE: August 7, 2006

1. SYLLABUS

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

2. OPINION

QUESTION

You asked whether a document appearing to be an Antiguan marriage certificate constitutes valid evidence of a name change, such that the former Ingrid B~, a resident of North Carolina, can be issued a new Social Security card with the name Ingrid M. B~.

ANSWER

Yes. The marriage certificate appears to be valid on its face, and there is no evidence of fraud or illegal purpose. Furthermore, the certificate contains detailed biographical information that satisfies POMS RM 10205.185, "Changing Numident Name Data," so that separate documentation of the old and new names is not required.

BACKGROUND

Ms. B~ (Applicant), a U.S. citizen, holds a Social Security card in the name of Ingrid B~ and is applying for a replacement card with the name Ingrid M. B~. Applicant submitted what appears to be a marriage certificate for a marriage performed May 20, 2006. The document indicates that Ingrid M. B~ married Kevin B~. The document appears to include the signatures of a marriage official and two witnesses. The document contains Applicant's age, but no other biographical information.

DISCUSSION

When applying for a replacement Social Security card to show a name change, an applicant generally must document both the name change and his or her identity. See POMS RM 00202.210(A)(1). The name change document may be a court order or a marriage document and should identify the applicant by both the old and new names. See id. 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. See id. The description, photograph, or biographical data may be either on the name-change document itself, or on two other identity documents. See id. 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 00202.210(D)(8).

A marriage valid under the law of a foreign nation will be recognized as such in North Carolina. See Hilton v. Guyot, 159 U.S. 113, 144 (1895); Loyd v. Loyd, 18 S.E. 200, 201 (N.C. 1893). Ms. E~s' marriage does not appear to be a type expressly prohibited in North Carolina, such as a same-sex marriage. See N.C. GEN. STAT. § 51-1-2 (2006). Therefore, we have no reason to believe that this marriage would not be recognized by North Carolina, provided the documentation is adequate.

The documentation of the marriage appears to be adequate under North Carolina law to validate a name change. North Carolina strongly supports an individual's right to control her or his own name, and applies this principle to evidentiary matters that are uncontested. North Carolina is a common law state and common law provides that a person can adopt another name at will, absent a fraudulent or illegal purpose. In re M~, 216 S.E. 2d 147, 150 (N.C. 1975). North Carolina does provide a judicial means by which to change one's name. See N.C. GEN. STAT § 101-2. However, this procedure does not abrogate the common law. In re M~, 216 S.E. 2d at 150. In keeping with the common law tradition, in North Carolina a person may adopt a name other than his or her own as long as no fraudulent or illegal purpose is involved. Id. Furthermore, North Carolina evidentiary rules presume validity of marriage and will shift the burden of proof to those contesting the validity of marriage. L~, 18 S.E. 2d at 201; Parker v. Parker, 265 S.E. 2d 237, 239 (N.C. 1980) (marriage in foreign state presumed valid and party attacking validity of marriage has the burden of proof); State v. Schlachter, 61 N.C. 520 (N.C. Sup. Ct. 1868).

There is no evidence in this case of fraud or improper purpose, or any evidence to overcome the presumption of the validity of the marriage. Given the liberal state standard 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. In other contexts, a name change in North Carolina is easily effectuated. To change one's name on his or her voter registration card or an identification card, one merely needs to notify the county board of elections of the new name. See N.C. GEN. STAT. §§ 163-82.16; 20-37.9 (2006). To change one's name on a driver's license, the Division of Motor Vehicles states that one must provide a Social Security Card with the new name and a marriage certificate, or other name-change document. See North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles, Driver Handbook, Ch. 1 (2006). The State Attorney General's Office has opined, however, that the Division of Motor Vehicles cannot specifically limit the types of documentation that can be used for a name change. See Attorney General Opinion to William S. H~, Commissioner of Motor Vehicles, 58 N.C.A.G. 4 (1988). This opinion reflects North Carolina's liberal view concerning name changes. We can find no reason why the state of North Carolina would not recognize the Antiguan marriage certificate as adequate to support a name change. Therefore, we believe the marriage certificate satisfies the requirement for documentation of the change of name.

POMS RM 00202.210(A)(1) also requires documentation of identity separate from documentation of the name change. In this case, the marriage certificate contains Applicant's name and age, which according to the POMS, is sufficient biographical information that can be compared to SSA's numident data. See POMS RM 00203.210(A)(1); POMS RM 00203.200(G)(2) (indicating that the name and either age/date of birth or parents' names are required). Therefore, if the biographical information in the marriage certificate corresponds to SSA's numident data, the marriage certificate can serve as a basis for a name change.

CONCLUSION

For the foregoing reasons, we believe SSA can process the name change, provided the biographical information in the marriage certificate matches SSA's numident data and Applicant provides another identity document with the name Shaynie S. B~.

Mary A. S~
Regional Chief Counsel
By: _______________
Brian C. H~
Assistant Regional Counsel

D. PR 06-256 United Kingdom marriage certificate as evidence of name change for purposes of securing replacement Social Security card for a North Carolina resident - Shaynie S. E~

DATE: August 7, 2006

1. SYLLABUS

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

2. OPINION

QUESTION

You asked whether a document appearing to be a United Kingdom marriage certificate constitutes valid evidence of a name change, such that the former Shaynie S. M~, a resident of North Carolina, can be issued a new Social Security card with the name Shaynie S. E~.

ANSWER

Yes, provided Ms. E~ also furnishes other valid evidence of identity that satisfies POMS RM 10205.185, "Changing Numident Name Data."

BACKGROUND

Ms. E~ (Applicant), a U.S. citizen, holds a Social Security card in the name of Shaynie S. B~. She is applying for a replacement card with the name Shaynie S. E~. Applicant submitted a "Certified Copy of an Entry of Marriage" for a marriage performed April 9, 2005. The document indicates that Shaynie S. M~ married Nicholas A. E~ and appears to include the signatures of the marriage registrar and two witnesses. The document indicates Applicant's previous marriage was dissolved. The document also contains Applicant's age, residence, and father's name. Applicant also submitted a copy of her passport, which has the name Shaynie S. M~. The evidence does not include an identity document that contains Applicant's name as it appears on her last Social Security card (B~), which is different from her former name on the marriage certificate (M~).

DISCUSSION

When applying for a replacement Social Security card to show a name change, an applicant generally must document both the name change and his or her identity. See POMS RM 00202.210(A)(1). The name change document may be a court order or a marriage document and should identify the applicant by both the old and new names. See id. 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. See id. The description, photograph, or biographical data may be either on the name-change document itself, or on two other identity documents. See id. 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 00202.210(D)(8).

A marriage valid under the law of a foreign nation will be recognized as such in North Carolina. See Hilton v. Guyot, 159 U.S. 113, 144 (1895); Loyd v. Loyd, 18 S.E. 200, 201 (N.C. 1893). Applicant's marriage does not appear to be a type expressly prohibited in North Carolina, such as a same-sex marriage. See N.C. GEN. STAT. § 51-1-2 (2006). Moreover, North Carolina courts presume the validity of a second marriage unless the contrary is proved. See In re Estate of A~, 559 S.E.2d 222 (N.C. Ct. App. 2002). We have no evidence contradicting the information on the marriage certificate indicating Applicant's prior marriage was dissolved. Therefore, we have no reason to believe that this marriage would not be recognized by North Carolina, provided the documentation is adequate.

The documentation of the marriage appears to be adequate under North Carolina law to validate a name change. North Carolina strongly supports an individual's right to control her or his own name, and applies this principle to evidentiary matters that are uncontested. North Carolina is a common law state and common law provides that a person can adopt another name at will, absent a fraudulent or illegal purpose. In re M~, 216 S.E. 2d 147, 150 (N.C. 1975). North Carolina does provide a judicial means by which to change one's name. See N.C. GEN. STAT § 101-2. However, this procedure does not abrogate the common law. In re M~, 216 S.E. 2d at 150. In keeping with the common law tradition, in North Carolina a person may adopt a name other than his or her own as long as no fraudulent or illegal purpose is involved. Id. Furthermore, North Carolina evidentiary rules presume validity of marriage and will shift the burden of proof to those contesting the validity of marriage. L~, 18 S.E. 2d at 201; Parker v. Parker, 265 S.E. 2d 237, 239 (N.C. 1980) (marriage in foreign state presumed valid and party attacking validity of marriage has the burden of proof); State v. Schlachter, 61 N.C. 520 (N.C. Sup. Ct. 1868).

There is no evidence in this case of fraud or improper purpose, or any evidence to overcome the presumption of the validity of the marriage. Given the liberal state standard 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. In other contexts, a name change in North Carolina is easily effectuated. To change one's name on his or her voter registration card or an identification card, one merely needs to notify the county board of elections of the new name. See N.C. GEN. STAT. §§ 163-82.16; 20-37.9 (2006). To change one's name on a driver's license, the Division of Motor Vehicles states that one must provide a Social Security Card with the new name and a marriage certificate, or other name-change document. See North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles, Driver Handbook, Ch. 1 (2006). The State Attorney General's Office has opined, however, that the Division of Motor Vehicles cannot specifically limit the types of documentation that can be used for a name change. See Attorney General Opinion to William S. H~, Commissioner of Motor Vehicles, 58 N.C.A.G. 4 (1988). This opinion reflects North Carolina's liberal view concerning name changes. We can find no reason why the state of North Carolina would not recognize the United Kingdom marriage certificate as adequate to support a name change.

POMS RM 00203.210(A)(1) also requires documentation of identity separate from documentation of the name change. In this case, the marriage certificate contains information regarding Applicant's age and father's name. Although this information normally would be sufficient to process the name change based on the marriage certificate alone, see POMS RM 00203.210(A)(1), Applicant's last name on her last Social Security card is B~. Therefore, Applicant must provide another identity document with the name Shaynie S. B~ on it as further proof of identity in addition to providing the marriage certificate for both name change and identification purposes.

CONCLUSION

For the foregoing reasons, we believe SSA can process the name change, provided the biographical information in the marriage certificate matches SSA's numident data and Applicant provides another identity document with the name Shaynie S. B~.

Mary A. S~
Regional Chief Counsel
By: _______________
Brian C. H~
Assistant Regional Counsel

E. PR 06-248 Cayman Islands Marriage License as Evidence of Legal Name Change for Purposes of Securing Replacement Social Security card for a North Carolina Resident - Carolyn B~ (NH)

DATE: August 1, 2006

1. SYLLABUS

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

2. OPINION

QUESTION

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

ANSWER

Yes, provided NH furnishes additional valid evidence of identity that satisfies POMS RM 00203.210, “Changing Numident Name Data.”

BACKGROUND

The NH is a U.S. citizen and a North Carolina resident. She holds a Social Security card in the name of Carolyn S~. On June 16, 2006, NH applied for a replacement card with the name Carolyn D. L~ B~. NH submitted a copy of a document entitled “Governor's Special Licence, The Cayman Islands” and a certified copy of a marriage register indicating that on May 28, 2006, Carolyn D. S~ married Steven E. B~ at London House, District of West Bay, Cayman Islands.

DISCUSSION

When applying for a replacement SSN to show a name change, an applicant generally must document both the name change and his or her identity. See 20 C.F.R. § 422.110(a) (2006). 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 NH presented a Cayman Islands marriage license as evidence to support her request for a Social Security card name change. The Cayman Islands marriage license appears to be adequate under North Carolina to validate a legal name change. A marriage valid under the law of a foreign nation will be recognized as such in North Carolina. See Hilton v. Guyot, 159 U.S. 113, 144 (1895); Loyd v. Loyd, 18 S.E. 2d 200, 201 (N.C. 1893). The NH's marriage does not appear to be a type expressly prohibited in North Carolina, such as a same-sex marriage. See N.C. Gen. Stat. § 51-1-2 (2006). Therefore, we have no reason to believe that this marriage would not be recognized by North Carolina, provided the documentation is adequate.

The documentation of the marriage appears to be adequate under North Carolina law to validate a name change. North Carolina strongly supports an individual's right to control her or his own name, and applies this principle to evidentiary matters that are uncontested. North Carolina is a common law state and common law provides that a person can adopt another name at will, absent a fraudulent or illegal purpose. In re M~, 216 S.E. 2d 147, 150 (N.C. 1975). North Carolina does provide a judicial means by which to change one's name. N.C. Gen. Stat §101-2; however, this procedure does not abrogate the common law. In re M~, 216 S.E. 2d at 150. In keeping with the common law tradition, in North Carolina a person may adopt a name other than his or her own as long as no fraudulent or illegal purpose is involved. Id. Furthermore, North Carolina evidentiary rules presume validity of marriage and will shift the burden of proof to those contesting the validity of marriage. L~, 18 S.E. 2d at 201; Parker v. Parker, 265 S.E. 2d 237, 239 (N.C. 1980) (marriage in foreign state presumed valid and party attacking validity of marriage has the burden of proof); State v. Schlachter, 61 N.C. 520 (N.C. Sup. Ct. 1868).

There is no evidence in this case of fraud or improper purpose, or any evidence to overcome the presumption of the validity of the marriage. Given the liberal state standard 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. In other contexts, a name change in North Carolina is easily effectuated. To change one's name on his or her voter registration card or an identification card, one merely needs to notify the county board of elections the state of the new name. N.C. Gen. Stat. § §163-82.16; 20-37.9. To change one's name on a driver's license, the Division of Motor Vehicles states that one must provide a Social Security Card with the new name and a marriage certificate, or other name-change document. North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles, Driver Handbook, Ch. 1 (2006). The State Attorney General's Office has opined, however, that the Division of Motor Vehicles cannot specifically limit the types of documentation that can be used for a name change. Attorney General Opinion to William S. H~, Commissioner of Motor Vehicles, 58 N.C.A.G. 4 (1988). This opinion reflects North Carolina's liberal view concerning name changes. We can find no reason that the state of North Carolina would not recognize the Cayman Islands marriage license as adequate to support a name change. The Cayman Islands certified copy of the marriage register indicates that NH was previously divorced, although the document does not indicate the jurisdiction of the divorce. Under the United States Constitution, North Carolina is required by Article IV, Section 1, the “full faith and credit clause” to recognize divorce judgments from sister-states. Atassi v. Atassi, 451 S.E.2d 371, 374 (N.C. App. 1995). Therefore, we believe the marriage license satisfies the requirement for documentation of the change of name.

POMS RM 00203.210(A)(1) and (B) provide that when a NH requests a Social Security card in a name different from the name on the latest numident record, the NH may submit a marriage document. In order for a marriage document to be acceptable as an identity document, it must show the old and new names and biographical information (age, DOB, or parents' names). In this claim, the marriage license does not show biographical information that can be compared to SSA's numident data. Therefore, NH must submit two identity documents in addition to the name-change document (marriage license). One of the identity documents must show NH's new name and the other, the old name. The identity documents must also show either a photograph or description of NH or provide biographical information that can be compared with numident data.

CONCLUSION

For the foregoing reasons, we believe SSA can process the name change provided NH also furnishes other valid evidence of identity that satisfies POMS RM 00203.210.

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

F. PR 06-247 St. Lucia marriage certificate as evidence of legal name change for purposes of securing replacement Social Security card for a North Carolina resident - Melissa I. C~ (NH)

DATE: August 1, 2006

1. SYLLABUS

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

2. OPINION

QUESTION

You asked whether a document appearing to be a St. Lucia marriage certificate constitutes valid evidence of a legal name change, such that the former Melissa I. S~, a resident of North Carolina, could be issued a new Social Security card with the name Melissa I. C~.

ANSWER

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

BACKGROUND

The NH holds a Social Security card in the name of Melissa I. S~, her birth name. On June 10, 2006, NH applied for a replacement card with the name Melissa I. C~. NH submitted a copy of certified St. Lucia marriage certificate indicating that on May 3, 2006, she and Peter R. C~ were married on Pigeon Island, St. Lucia. The document is signed by two witnesses and is certified by the Registrar of Civil Status.

DISCUSSION

When applying for a replacement SSN to show a name change, an applicant generally must document both the name change and his or her identity. See 20 C.F.R. § 422.110(a) (2006). 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 NH presented a St. Lucia marriage certificate as evidence to support her request for a Social Security card name change. The St. Lucia marriage certificate appears to be adequate under North Carolina to validate a legal name change. A marriage valid under the law of a foreign nation will be recognized as such in North Carolina. See Hilton v. Guyot, 159 U.S. 113, 144 (1895); Loyd v. Loyd, 18 S.E. 2d 200, 201 (N.C. 1893). The NH's marriage does not appear to be a type expressly prohibited in North Carolina, such as a same-sex marriage. See N.C. Gen. Stat. § 51-1-2 (2006). Therefore, we have no reason to believe that this marriage would not be recognized by North Carolina, provided the documentation is adequate.

The documentation of the marriage appears to be adequate under North Carolina law to validate a name change. North Carolina strongly supports an individual's right to control her or his own name, and applies this principle to evidentiary matters that are uncontested. North Carolina is a common law state and common law provides that a person can adopt another name at will, absent a fraudulent or illegal purpose. In re M~, 216 S.E. 2d 147, 150 (N.C. 1975). North Carolina does provide a judicial means by which to change one's name. N.C. Gen. Stat §101-2; however, this procedure does not abrogate the common law. In re M~, 216 S.E. 2d at 150. In keeping with the common law tradition, in North Carolina a person may adopt a name other than his or her own as long as no fraudulent or illegal purpose is involved. Id. Furthermore, North Carolina evidentiary rules presume validity of marriage and will shift the burden of proof to those contesting the validity of marriage. L~, 18 S.E. 2d at 201; Parker v. Parker, 265 S.E. 2d 237, 239 (N.C. 1980) (marriage in foreign state presumed valid and party attacking validity of marriage has the burden of proof); State v. Schlachter, 61 N.C. 520 (N.C. Sup. Ct. 1868).

There is no evidence in this case of fraud or improper purpose, or any evidence to overcome the presumption of the validity of the marriage. Given the liberal state standard 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. In other contexts, a name change in North Carolina is easily effectuated. To change one's name on his or her voter registration card or an identification card, one merely needs to notify the county board of elections the state of the new name. N.C. Gen. Stat. § §163-82.16; 20-37.9. To change one's name on a driver's license, the Division of Motor Vehicles states that one must provide a Social Security Card with the new name and a marriage certificate, or other name-change document. North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles, Driver Handbook, Ch. 1 (2006). The State Attorney General's Office has opined, however, that the Division of Motor Vehicles cannot specifically limit the types of documentation that can be used for a name change. Attorney General Opinion to William S. H~, Commissioner of Motor Vehicles, 58 N.C.A.G. 4 (1988). This opinion reflects North Carolina's liberal view concerning name changes. We can find no reason that the state of North Carolina would not recognize the St. Lucia marriage certificate as adequate to support a name change. Therefore, we believe the marriage certificate satisfies the requirement for documentation of the change of name.

POMS RM 00203.210(A)(1) and (B) provide that when a NH requests a Social Security card in a name different from the name on the latest numident record, the NH may submit a marriage document. In order for a marriage document to be acceptable as an identity document, it must show, in addition to the old and new names, the person's age or DOB or parents' names. In this claim, the marriage certificate contains biographical data that can be compared to SSA's numident data. This information includes NH's old and new names, her age, her DOB, and her parents' names.

CONCLUSION

For the foregoing reasons, we believe SSA can process the name change based on the St. Lucia marriage certificate 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

G. PR 06-245 St. Maarten marriage certificate as evidence of legal name change for purposes of securing replacement Social Security card for a North Carolina resident - Julie A. S~ (NH)

DATE: August 1, 2006

1. SYLLABUS

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

2. OPINION

QUESTION

You asked whether a document appearing to be a St. Maarten marriage certificate constitutes valid evidence of a legal name change, such that the former Julie A. M~, a resident of North Carolina, could be issued a new Social Security card with the name Julie A. S~.

ANSWER

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

BACKGROUND

The NH holds a Social Security card in the name of Julie A. M~, her birth name. On June 22, 2006, NH applied for a replacement card with the name Julie A. S~. NH submitted a copy of a St. Maarten marriage certificate from the Civil Registrar indicating her marriage to Charles M. S~ was solemnized in St. Maarten on April 22, 2006. The document is signed by two witnesses.

DISCUSSION

When applying for a replacement SSN to show a name change, an applicant generally must document both the name change and his or her identity. See 20 C.F.R. § 422.110(a) (2006). 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 NH presented a St. Maarten marriage certificate as evidence to support her request for a Social Security card name change. The St. Maarten marriage certificate appears to be adequate under North Carolina to validate a legal name change. A marriage valid under the law of a foreign nation will be recognized as such in North Carolina. See Hilton v. Guyot, 159 U.S. 113, 144 (1895); Loyd v. Loyd, 18 S.E. 2d 200, 201 (N.C. 1893). The NH's marriage does not appear to be a type expressly prohibited in North Carolina, such as a same-sex marriage. See N.C. Gen. Stat. § 51-1-2 (2006). Therefore, we have no reason to believe that this marriage would not be recognized by North Carolina, provided the documentation is adequate.

The documentation of the marriage appears to be adequate under North Carolina law to validate a name change. North Carolina strongly supports an individual's right to control her or his own name, and applies this principle to evidentiary matters that are uncontested. North Carolina is a common law state and common law provides that a person can adopt another name at will, absent a fraudulent or illegal purpose. In re M~, 216 S.E. 2d 147, 150 (N.C. 1975). North Carolina does provide a judicial means by which to change one's name. N.C. Gen. Stat §101-2; however, this procedure does not abrogate the common law. In re M~, 216 S.E. 2d at 150. In keeping with the common law tradition, in North Carolina a person may adopt a name other than his or her own as long as no fraudulent or illegal purpose is involved. Id. Furthermore, North Carolina evidentiary rules presume validity of marriage and will shift the burden of proof to those contesting the validity of marriage. L~, 18 S.E. 2d at 201; Parker v. Parker, 265 S.E. 2d 237, 239 (N.C. 1980) (marriage in foreign state presumed valid and party attacking validity of marriage has the burden of proof); State v. Schlachter, 61 N.C. 520 (N.C. Sup. Ct. 1868).

There is no evidence in this case of fraud or improper purpose, or any evidence to overcome the presumption of the validity of the marriage. Given the liberal state standard 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. In other contexts, a name change in North Carolina is easily effectuated. To change one's name on his or her voter registration card or an identification card, one merely needs to notify the county board of elections the state of the new name. N.C. Gen. Stat. § §163-82.16; 20-37.9. To change one's name on a driver's license, the Division of Motor Vehicles states that one must provide a Social Security Card with the new name and a marriage certificate, or other name-change document. North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles, Driver Handbook, Ch. 1 (2006). The State Attorney General's Office has opined, however, that the Division of Motor Vehicles cannot specifically limit the types of documentation that can be used for a name change. Attorney General Opinion to William S. H~, Commissioner of Motor Vehicles, 58 N.C.A.G. 4 (1988). This opinion reflects North Carolina's liberal view concerning name changes. We can find no reason that the state of North Carolina would not recognize the St. Maarten marriage certificate as adequate to support a name change. Therefore, we believe the marriage certificate satisfies the requirement for documentation of the change of name.

POMS RM 00203.210(A)(1) and (B) provide that when a NH requests a Social Security card in a name different from the name on the latest numident record, the NH may submit a marriage document. However, in order for a marriage document to be acceptable as an identity document, it must show, in addition to the old and new names, the person's age or DOB or parents' names. In this claim, the marriage document contains biographical data that can be compared to SSA's numident data, her age, DOB, and parents' names, as well as her old and new names.

CONCLUSION

For the foregoing reasons, we believe SSA can process the name change based on the St. Maarten marriage certificate 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

H. PR 06-244 Jamaican marriage document as evidence of legal name change for purposes of securing replacement Social Security card for a North Carolina resident - Sarah V~ (NH)

DATE: August 1, 2006

1. SYLLABUS

SSA can process the name change because the State of North Carolina 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 legal name change, such that the former Sarah J. M~, a resident of North Carolina, could be issued a new Social Security card with the name Sarah J. V~.

ANSWER

Yes, SSA can process the name change based on the Jamaican marriage document provided that NH also submits identity documents from the lists in RM 00203.200E, one in her old name and the other in her new name, and that the information in the Jamaican marriage document and identity documents is consistent with NH's numident data.

BACKGROUND

The NH holds a Social Security card in the name of Sarah J. M~, her birth name. On May 19, 2006, NH applied for a replacement card with the name Sarah J. V~. NH submitted a copy of a document entitled "Marriage Register" from the Registrar General's Department, Jamaica, indicating her marriage to Joseph V~ was solemnized on July 30, 2003, at Swept Away Resort in the parish of Westmoreland, Jamaica. The document is signed by a marriage officer, registrar, and two witnesses.

DISCUSSION

When applying for a replacement SSN to show a name change, an 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. Generally, the description, photograph, or biographical data may be either on the name-change document itself, or on two other identity documents. If, however, the name change event occurred over two years before the application, the applicant must submit an identity document in the old name and another identity document in the new name in addition to the legal name change document. 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 2003 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 North Carolina to validate a legal name change. A marriage valid under the law of a foreign nation will be recognized as such in North Carolina. See Hilton v. Guyot, 159 U.S. 113, 144 (1895); Loyd v. Loyd, 18 S.E. 2d 200, 201 (N.C. 1893). The NH's marriage does not appear to be a type expressly prohibited in North Carolina, such as a same-sex marriage. See N.C. Gen. Stat. § 51-1-2 (2006). Therefore, we have no reason to believe that this marriage would not be recognized by North Carolina, provided the documentation is adequate.

The documentation of the marriage appears to be adequate under North Carolina law to validate a name change. North Carolina strongly supports an individual's right to control her or his own name, and applies this principle to evidentiary matters that are uncontested. North Carolina is a common law state and common law provides that a person can adopt another name at will, absent a fraudulent or illegal purpose. In re M~, 216 S.E. 2d 147, 150 (N.C. 1975). North Carolina does provide a judicial means by which to change one's name. N.C. Gen. Stat §101-2; however, this procedure does not abrogate the common law. In re M~, 216 S.E. 2d at 150. In keeping with the common law tradition, in North Carolina a person may adopt a name other than his or her own as long as no fraudulent or illegal purpose is involved. Id. Furthermore, North Carolina evidentiary rules presume validity of marriage and will shift the burden of proof to those contesting the validity of marriage. L~, 18 S.E. 2d at 201; Parker v. Parker, 265 S.E. 2d 237, 239 (N.C. 1980) (marriage in foreign state presumed valid and party attacking validity of marriage has the burden of proof); State v. Schlachter, 61 N.C. 520 (N.C. Sup. Ct. 1868).

There is no evidence in this case of fraud or improper purpose, or any evidence to overcome the presumption of the validity of the marriage. Given the liberal state standard 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. In other contexts, a name change in North Carolina is easily effectuated. To change one's name on his or her voter registration card or an identification card, one merely needs to notify the county board of elections the state of the new name. N.C. Gen. Stat. § §163-82.16; 20-37.9. To change one's name on a driver's license, the Division of Motor Vehicles states that one must provide a Social Security Card with the new name and a marriage certificate, or other name-change document. North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles, Driver Handbook, Ch. 1 (2006). The State Attorney General's Office has opined, however, that the Division of Motor Vehicles cannot specifically limit the types of documentation that can be used for a name change. Attorney General Opinion to William S. H~, Commissioner of Motor Vehicles, 58 N.C.A.G. 4 (1988). This opinion reflects North Carolina's liberal view concerning name changes. We can find no reason that the state of North Carolina would not recognize the Jamaican marriage document as adequate to support a name change. The Jamaican document indicates that NH was previously divorced, although the document does not indicate the jurisdiction of the divorce. Under the United States Constitution, North Carolina is required by Article IV, Section 1, the "full faith and credit clause" to recognize divorce judgments from sister-states. Atassi v. Atassi, 451 S.E.2d 371, 374 (N.C. App. 1995). Therefore, we believe the marriage certificate satisfies the requirement for documentation of the change of name.

POMS RM 00203.210(A)(1) and (B) provide that when a NH requests a Social Security card in a name different from the name on the latest numident record, the NH may submit a marriage document as a legal name-change document. The Jamaican marriage document shows NH's old and new names and biographical information (NH's age). However, because the name change event occurred over two years before the application, NH must also submit an identity document in the old name and another identity document in the new name from the lists in RM 00203.200E.

CONCLUSION

For the foregoing reasons, we believe SSA can process the name change based on the Jamaican marriage document provided NH also provides identity documents from the lists in RM 00203.200E and the information in the marriage document and identity documents is consistent with NH's numident data.

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

I. PR 06-243 Ecuador marriage certificate as evidence of name change for purposes of securing replacement Social Security card for a North Carolina resident - Elena V. D~

DATE: July 25, 2006

1. SYLLABUS

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

2. OPINION

QUESTION

You asked whether a document appearing to be an Ecuadoran marriage certificate constituted valid evidence of a name change, such that the former Elena V. V~, resident of North Carolina, could be issued a new Social Security card with the name Elena V. D~.

ANSWER

Yes, provided Ms. D~ (Applicant) also furnishes other valid evidence of identity that satisfies POMS RM 00203.210, "Changing Numident Name Data."

BACKGROUND

Applicant, a U.S. citizen, holds an SSN card in the name of Elena V. V~, her birth name and the name reflected in SSA's numident. Applicant supplied documents that appear to be a certified copy of the marriage certificate with an English translation for a marriage registered on March 8, 2005, in Guayaquil, Ecuador. The certificate is signed by the registrar of the province. The document indicates that Ms. V~ married Paul A. D~ V~.

DISCUSSION

When applying for a replacement SSN to show a name change, an 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. SeePOMS 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).

A marriage valid under the law of a foreign nation will be recognized as such in North Carolina. See Hilton v. Guyot, 159 U.S. 113, 144 (1895); Loyd v. Loyd, 18 S.E. 2d 200, 201 (N.C. 1893). Ms. T.~ 's marriage does not appear to be a type expressly prohibited in North Carolina, such as a same-sex marriage. See N.C. Gen. Stat. § 51-1-2 (2006). Therefore, we have no reason to believe that this marriage would not be recognized by North Carolina, provided the documentation is adequate.

The documentation of the marriage appears to be adequate under North Carolina law to validate a name change. North Carolina strongly supports an individual's right to control her or his own name, and applies this principle to evidentiary matters that are uncontested. North Carolina is a common law state and common law provides that a person can adopt another name at will, absent a fraudulent or illegal purpose. In re M~, 216 S.E. 2d 147, 150 (N.C. 1975). North Carolina does provide a judicial means by which to change one's name. N.C. Gen. Stat §101-2; however, this procedure does not abrogate the common law. In re M~, 216 S.E. 2d at 150. In keeping with the common law tradition, in North Carolina a person may adopt a name other than his or her own as long as no fraudulent or illegal purpose is involved. Id. Furthermore, North Carolina evidentiary rules presume validity of marriage and will shift the burden of proof to those contesting the validity of marriage. L~, 18 S.E. 2d at 201; Parker v. Parker, 265 S.E. 2d 237, 239 (N.C. 1980) (marriage in foreign state presumed valid and party attacking validity of marriage has the burden of proof); State v. Schlachter, 61 N.C. 520 (N.C. Sup. Ct. 1868).

There is no evidence in this case of fraud or improper purpose, or any evidence to overcome the presumption of the validity of the marriage. Given the liberal state standard 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. In other contexts, a name change in North Carolina is easily effectuated. To change one's name on his or her voter registration card or an identification card, one merely needs to notify the county board of elections of the new name. N.C. Gen. Stat. § §163-82.16; 20-37.9. To change one's name on a driver's license, the Division of Motor Vehicles states that one must provide a Social Security Card with the new name and a marriage certificate, or other name-change document. North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles, Driver Handbook, Ch. 1 (2006). The State Attorney General's Office has opined, however, that the Division of Motor Vehicles cannot specifically limit the types of documentation that can be used for a name change. Attorney General Opinion to William S. H~, Commissioner of Motor Vehicles, 58 N.C.A.G. 4 (1988). This opinion reflects North Carolina's liberal view concerning name changes. We can find no reason that the state of North Carolina would not recognize the Ecuadoran marriage certificate as adequate to support a name change. Therefore, we believe the marriage certificate satisfies the requirement for documentation of the change of name.

POMS RM 00203.210(A)(1) also requires documentation of identity separate from documentation of the name change. In this case, the marriage certificate does not contain a picture, description, or biographical data that can be compared to SSA's numident data. 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 00202.210(A)(1). The old name would be Elena V. V~, her pre-marriage name according to SSA's numident data and the marriage certificate. Therefore, the name change cannot be processed on the basis of the Ecuadoran marriage certificate alone, but can be processed if Ms. D~ produces the other identifying documents.

CONCLUSION

For the foregoing reasons, we believe SSA can process the name change, provided Ms. D~ also furnishes other valid evidence of identity that satisfies POMS RM 00203.210, "Changing Numident Name Data."

Mary A. S~
Regional Chief Counsel
By: _______________
Laurie G. R~
Assistant Regional Counsel

J. PR 06-241 Bermuda marriage certificate as evidence of name change for purposes of securing replacement Social Security card for a North Carolina resident - Suzanne M. O~

DATE: August 3, 2006

1. SYLLABUS

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

2. OPINION

QUESTION

You asked whether a document appearing to be a Bermuda marriage certificate constituted valid evidence of a name change, such that the former Suzanne M. L~ (Applicant), resident of North Carolina, could be issued a new Social Security card with the name Suzanne M. O~.

ANSWER

Yes, provided the biographical data in the marriage document is consistent with SSA's numident data.

BACKGROUND

Applicant, a U.S. citizen, holds an SSN card in the name of Suzanne M. L~, her birth name and the name reflected in SSA's numident. Applicant supplied a document that appears to be a certified copy of the marriage certificate dated July 12, 2006 for a marriage conducted on May 16, 2006 in Kings Wharf, Dandys, Bermuda. The certificate is signed by the registrar general of Bermuda. The document indicates that Ms. L~ married Scott A. O~. The document lists the couple's ages, professions, and the names of their fathers.

DISCUSSION

When applying for a replacement SSN to show a name change, an 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).

A marriage valid under the law of a foreign nation will be recognized as such in North Carolina. See Hilton v. Guyot, 159 U.S. 113, 144 (1895); Loyd v. Loyd, 18 S.E. 2d 200, 201 (N.C. 1893). Ms. O~'s marriage does not appear to be a type expressly prohibited in North Carolina, such as a same-sex marriage. See N.C. Gen. Stat. § 51-1-2 (2006). Therefore, we have no reason to believe that this marriage would not be recognized by North Carolina, provided the documentation is adequate.

The documentation of the marriage appears to be adequate under North Carolina law to validate a name change. North Carolina strongly supports an individual's right to control her or his own name, and applies this principle to evidentiary matters that are uncontested. North Carolina is a common law state and common law provides that a person can adopt another name at will, absent a fraudulent or illegal purpose. In re M~, 216 S.E. 2d 147, 150 (N.C. 1975). North Carolina does provide a judicial means by which to change one's name. N.C. Gen. Stat §101-2; however, this procedure does not abrogate the common law. In re M~, 216 S.E. 2d at 150. In keeping with the common law tradition, in North Carolina a person may adopt a name other than his or her own as long as no fraudulent or illegal purpose is involved. Id. Furthermore, North Carolina evidentiary rules presume validity of marriage and will shift the burden of proof to those contesting the validity of marriage. L~, 18 S.E. 2d at 201; Parker v. Parker, 265 S.E. 2d 237, 239 (N.C. 1980) (marriage in foreign state presumed valid and party attacking validity of marriage has the burden of proof); State v. Shlachter, 61 N.C. 520 (N.C. Sup. Ct. 1868).

There is no evidence in this case of fraud or improper purpose, or any evidence to overcome the presumption of the validity of the marriage. Given the liberal state standard 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. In other contexts, a name change in North Carolina is easily effectuated. To change one's name on his or her voter registration card or an identification card, one merely needs to notify the county board of elections of the new name. N.C. Gen. Stat. § §163-82.16; 20-37.9. To change one's name on a driver's license, the Division of Motor Vehicles states that one must provide a Social Security Card with the new name and a marriage certificate, or other name-change document. North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles, Driver Handbook, Ch. 1 (2006). The State Attorney General's Office has opined, however, that the Division of Motor Vehicles cannot specifically limit the types of documentation that can be used for a name change. Attorney General Opinion to William S. H~, Commissioner of Motor Vehicles, 58 N.C.A.G. 4 (1988). This opinion reflects North Carolina's liberal view concerning name changes. We can find no reason that the state of North Carolina would not recognize the Bermuda marriage certificate as adequate to support a name change. Therefore, we believe the marriage certificate satisfies the requirement for documentation of the change of name.

POMS RM 00203.210(A)(1) also requires documentation of identity separate from documentation of the name change. In this case, the marriage certificate contains some biographical data that can be compared to SSA's numident data. If this biographical data is consistent with SSA's numident data, SSA could process the name change.

CONCLUSION

For the foregoing reasons, we believe SSA can process the name change with the marriage certificate alone if the biographical data on the certificate is consistent with SSA's numident data.

Mary Ann. S~
Regional Chief Counsel
By: _______________
Laurie G. R~
Assistant Regional Counsel

K. PR 06-240 Anguilla, West Indies marriage certificate as evidence of name change for purposes of securing replacement Social Security card for a North Carolina resident - Leslie D. C~

DATE: August 3, 2006

1. SYLLABUS

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

2. OPINION

QUESTION

You asked whether a document appearing to be an Anguilla, West Indies marriage certificate constituted valid evidence of a name change, such that the former Leslie D. P~, resident of North Carolina, could be issued a new Social Security card with the name Leslie D.~ C~.

ANSWER

Yes, provided Ms. C~ (Applicant) also furnishes other valid evidence of identity that satisfies POMS RM 00203.210, "Changing Numident Name Data."

BACKGROUND

Applicant, a U.S. citizen, holds an SSN card in the name of Leslie D. P~, her birth name and the name reflected in SSA's numident. Applicant supplied documents that appear to be a certified copy of the marriage certificate for a marriage registered on April 12, 2006, in Anguilla, West Indies. The certificate is signed by the registrar general of the parish. The document indicates that Ms. P~ married Charles F.~ C~.

DISCUSSION

When applying for a replacement SSN to show a name change, an 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).

A marriage valid under the law of a foreign nation will be recognized as such in North Carolina. See Hilton v. Guyot, 159 U.S. 113, 144 (1895); Loyd v. Loyd, 18 S.E. 2d 200, 201 (N.C. 1893). Ms. C~' marriage does not appear to be a type expressly prohibited in North Carolina, such as a same-sex marriage. See N.C. Gen. Stat. § 51-1-2 (2006). Therefore, we have no reason to believe that this marriage would not be recognized by North Carolina, provided the documentation is adequate.

The documentation of the marriage appears to be adequate under North Carolina law to validate a name change. North Carolina strongly supports an individual's right to control her or his own name, and applies this principle to evidentiary matters that are uncontested . North Carolina is a common law state and common law provides that a person can adopt another name at will, absent a fraudulent or illegal purpose. In re M~, 216 S.E. 2d 147, 150 (N.C. 1975). North Carolina does provide a judicial means by which to change one's name. N.C. Gen. Stat §101-2; however, this procedure does not abrogate the common law. In re M~, 216 S.E. 2d at 150. In keeping with the common law tradition, in North Carolina a person may adopt a name other than his or her own as long as no fraudulent or illegal purpose is involved. Id. Furthermore, North Carolina evidentiary rules presume validity of marriage and will shift the burden of proof to those Contesting the validity of marriage. L~, 18 S.E. 2d at 201; Parker v. Parker, 265 S.E. 2d 237, 239 (N.C. 1980) (marriage in foreign state presumed valid and party attacking validity of marriage has the burden of proof); State v. Schlachter, 61 N.C. 520 (N.C. Sup. Ct. 1868).

There is no evidence in this case of fraud or improper purpose, or any evidence to overcome the presumption of the validity of the marriage. Given the liberal state standard 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. In other contexts, a name change in North Carolina is easily effectuated. To change one's name on his or her voter registration card or an identification card, one merely needs to notify the county board of elections of the new name. N.C. Gen. Stat. § §163-82.16; 20-37.9. To change one's name on a driver's license, the Division of Motor Vehicles states that one must provide a Social Security Card with the new name and a marriage certificate, or other name-change document. North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles, Driver Handbook, Ch. 1 (2006). The State Attorney General's Office has opined, however, that the Division of Motor Vehicles cannot specifically limit the types of documentation that can be used for a name change. Attorney General Opinion to William S. H~, Commissioner of Motor Vehicles, 58 N.C.A.G. 4 (1988). This opinion reflects North Carolina's liberal view concerning name changes. We can find no reason that the state of North Carolina would not recognize the West Indies marriage certificate as adequate to support a name change. Therefore, we believe the marriage certificate satisfies the requirement for documentation of the change of name.

POMS RM 00203.210(A)(1) also requires documentation of identity separate from documentation of the name change. In this case, the marriage certificate does not contain a picture, description, or biographical data that can be compared to SSA's numident data. 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 00202.210(A)(1). Ms. C~ has supplied her driver's license with her old name, Leslie D. P~. The name change cannot be processed on the basis of the West Indies marriage certificate alone, but can be processed if Ms. C~ produces another identifying document reflecting her new name and a picture, description, or other biographical data.

CONCLUSION

For the foregoing reasons, we believe SSA can process the name change, provided Ms. C~ also furnishes other valid evidence of identity that satisfies POMS RM 00203.210, "Changing Numident Name Data."

Mary Ann. S~
Regional Chief Counsel
By: _______________
Laurie G. R~
Assistant Regional Counsel

L. PR 06-238 Mexican marriage certificate as evidence of name change for purposes of securing replacement Social Security card for a North Carolina resident - Jessica M~

DATE: August 3, 2006

1. SYLLABUS

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

2. OPINION

QUESTION

You asked whether a document appearing to be a Mexican marriage certificate constituted valid evidence of a name change, such that the former Jessica D. J~ (Applicant), resident of North Carolina, could be issued a new Social Security card with the name Jessica J. M~.

ANSWER

Yes, provided the biographical data in the marriage document is consistent with the numident data.

BACKGROUND

Applicant, a U.S. citizen, holds an SSN card in the name of Jessica D. J~, her birth name and the name reflected in SSA's numident. Applicant supplied documents that appear to be a certified copy of the marriage certificate for a marriage registered on April 8, 2006, in Cancun, Mexico. The certificate is signed by the civil registrar of Cancun. The document indicates that Ms. J~ married Russell E. M~, Jr. The certificate lists the ages of the bride and groom, their birth states, and the names of their parents.

DISCUSSION

When applying for a replacement SSN to show a name change, an 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).

A marriage valid under the law of a foreign nation will be recognized as such in North Carolina. See Hilton v. Guyot, 159 U.S. 113, 144 (1895); Loyd v. Loyd, 18 S.E. 2d 200, 201 (N.C. 1893). Ms. M~'s marriage does not appear to be a type expressly prohibited in North Carolina, such as a same-sex marriage. See N.C. Gen. Stat. § 51-1-2 (2006). Therefore, we have no reason to believe that this marriage would not be recognized by North Carolina, provided the documentation is adequate.

The documentation of the marriage appears to be adequate under North Carolina law to validate a name change. North Carolina strongly supports an individual's right to control her or his own name, and applies this principle to evidentiary matters that are uncontested. North Carolina is a common law state and common law provides that a person can adopt another name at will, absent a fraudulent or illegal purpose. In re M~, 216 S.E. 2d 147, 150 (N.C. 1975). North Carolina does provide a judicial means by which to change one's name. N.C. Gen. Stat §101-2; however, this procedure does not abrogate the common law. In re M~, 216 S.E. 2d at 150. In keeping with the common law tradition, in North Carolina a person may adopt a name other than his or her own as long as no fraudulent or illegal purpose is involved. Id. Furthermore, North Carolina evidentiary rules presume validity of marriage and will shift the burden of proof to those contesting the validity of marriage. L~, 18 S.E. 2d at 201; Parker v. Parker, 265 S.E. 2d 237, 239 (N.C. 1980) (marriage in foreign state presumed valid and party attacking validity of marriage has the burden of proof); State v. Schlachter, 61 N.C. 520 (N.C. Sup. Ct. 1868).

There is no evidence in this case of fraud or improper purpose, or any evidence to overcome the presumption of the validity of the marriage. Given the liberal state standard 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. In other contexts, a name change in North Carolina is easily effectuated. To change one's name on his or her voter registration card or an identification card, one merely needs to notify the county board of elections of the new name. N.C. Gen. Stat. § §163-82.16; 20-37.9. To change one's name on a driver's license, the Division of Motor Vehicles states that one must provide a Social Security Card with the new name and a marriage certificate, or other name-change document. North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles, Driver Handbook, Ch. 1 (2006). The State Attorney General's Office has opined, however, that the Division of Motor Vehicles cannot specifically limit the types of documentation that can be used for a name change. Attorney General Opinion to William S. H~, Commissioner of Motor Vehicles, 58 N.C.A.G. 4 (1988). This opinion reflects North Carolina's liberal view concerning name changes. We can find no reason that the state of North Carolina would not recognize the Mexican marriage certificate as adequate to support a name change. Therefore, we believe the marriage certificate satisfies the requirement for documentation of the change of name.

POMS RM 00203.210(A)(1) also requires documentation of identity separate from documentation of the name change. In this case, the marriage certificate contains some biographical data that can be compared to SSA's numident data. To the extent the biographical data is consistent with the numident data, SSA can process the name change.

CONCLUSION

For the foregoing reasons, we believe SSA can process the name change, provided the biographical data in the marriage document is consistent with the numident data.

Mary A. S~
Regional Chief Counsel
By: _______________
Laurie G. R~
Assistant Regional Counsel

M. PR 06-218 Canadian marriage license as evidence of name change for purposes of securing replacement Social Security card for a North Carolina resident - Louise M. B~

DATE: August 1, 2006

1. SYLLABUS

SSA can process the name change because the State of North Carolina 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 license constituted valid evidence of a name change, such that the former Louise M. S~, resident of North Carolina, could be issued a new Social Security card with the name Louise M. B~.

ANSWER

Yes, the marriage license appears valid on its face, and there is no evidence of fraud or illegal purpose. Furthermore, the marriage license contains detailed biographical information that satisfies POMS RM 00203.210, "Changing Numident Name Data," so that there is no need for separate documentation of the old and new names.

BACKGROUND

Applicant, a U.S. citizen and North Carolina resident, holds an SSN card in the name of Louise M. S~, her previous marriage name and the name reflected in SSA's numident. Applicant married Robert J. B~ on October 15, 2005 in Ontario, Canada. Applicant requests a new Social Security card reflecting the marriage name change from Louise M. S~ to Louise M. B~. Applicant presents an alleged Ontario, Canada marriage license as documentation of the marriage. The marriage license is signed by Mrs. Louise S~, Mr. Robert J. B~, 2 witnesses, a marriage officer, and the registrar general.

DISCUSSION

When applying for a replacement SSN to show a name change, an 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 (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).

A marriage valid under the law of a foreign nation will be recognized as such in North Carolina. See Hilton v. Guyot, 159 U.S. 113, 144 (1895); Loyd v. Loyd, 18 S.E. 2d 200, 201 (N.C. 1893). Mrs. S~'s marriage does not appear to be a type expressly prohibited in North Carolina, such as a same-sex marriage. See N.C. Gen. Stat. § 51-1-2 (2006). Moreover, though both parties were divorced at the time of their marriage, North Carolina courts presume the validity of a second marriage unless the contrary is proved. See In re Estate of A~, 559 S.E.2d 222 (N.C. Ct. App., 2002). Therefore, we have no reason to believe that this marriage would not be recognized by North Carolina, provided the documentation is adequate.

The documentation of the marriage appears to be adequate under North Carolina law to validate a name change. North Carolina strongly supports an individual's right to control her or his own name, and applies this principle to evidentiary matters that are uncontested. North Carolina is a common law state and common law provides that a person can adopt another name at will, absent a fraudulent or illegal purpose. In re M~, 216 S.E. 2d 147, 150 (N.C. 1975). North Carolina does provide a judicial means by which to change one's name. N.C. Gen. Stat §101-2; however, this procedure does not abrogate the common law. In re M~, 216 S.E. 2d at 150. In keeping with the common law tradition, in North Carolina a person may adopt a name other than his or her own as long as no fraudulent or illegal purpose is involved. Id. Furthermore, North Carolina evidentiary rules presume validity of marriage and will shift the burden of proof to those contesting the validity of marriage. L~, 18 S.E. 2d at 201; Parker v. Parker, 265 S.E. 2d 237, 239 (N.C. 1980) (marriage in foreign