A foreign-born person’s legal name is the name shown on his or her immigration document
(includes hyphens and apostrophes).
The only time you may process an SSN application in a name that does not agree with
the name shown on the immigration document is if the person legally changed his or
her name after the immigration document is issued. In these situations, the legal
name is the name shown on the evidence of the name change. For information on evidence
of a name change, see RM 10212.010.
NOTE: For foreign students (F-1 and M-1) consider the name on Form I-20 the legal name.
For exchange visitors (J-1), consider the name on the DS-2019 the legal name. For
additional information see RM 10211.295 and RM 10211.375.
Name on immigration document and other evidence for an SSN are different
When the name shown on the immigration document differs from the name shown on other
evidence submitted for an SSN, process the SSN in the name on the immigration document
as long as the name can be derived from the other evidence (e.g., foreign passport).
Different versions of the name shown on other required documents must be shown in
the other name fields in the Enumeration system following RM 10205.130.
If the individual has a single name, see RM 10205.130B for instructions on entering the name shown on the immigration document in the “Other
name used by number holder” field.
If the required documents show clearly different names, do not accept the evidence
to process the SSN application. In these situations, the applicant must submit SSN
evidence showing the same name or submit evidence of a name change after the immigration
document was issued per RM 10212.010.