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Thursday, June 26, 2008

What's in a Name?

When I got married I never got around to changing my last name to my hubby's last name. It wasn't really an act of feminism on my part. It was just a bunch of little things like I didn't want to go through the trouble of renewing all my identification cards and paperwork, I was pretty used to using my last name (which is much shorter and so much easier to spell), and everyone I knew already knew me by my last name (both personally and professionally). Again it was by no means a salute to the feminist movement but rather a giving in to the laziness movement.

So for the past 3 years and a half of married life, I've had the same IDs (passport, CA ID, driver's license, and social security card). And because all my IDs have not been changed, consequently all my other pre-marriage documents remained the same as well: bills (car, mortgage and credit card payments) and records (medical and dental and payroll).

The only time I encountered a problem was during a trip to New York last year. My assistant booked my flight using my married name (which I overlooked) and when I got to the airport - all my IDs had my maiden name. So it took me more than an hour of extra pre-flight security checks to convince the FSA that I was not a terrorist with two different aliases. But other than that one time, I haven't really had any concerns - and so switching over to Jojo's last name has not been a priority. Until now ...

A few weeks ago, we received Jojo's green card (I can't believe I had not blogged about that yet!). But YES, we finally got his green card! Anyway, since Jojo got his permanent residency, it automatically means that I (as his spouse) would be getting mine too. Well, assuming everything goes well and there are no unfortunate hitches, of course. It's now just a matter of time (people are saying between 2 weeks to 2 months). As I wait to hear from INS, our immigration attorney suggested that as a precaution, I should make sure that all my IDs have my married name (since the name on my green card will be my married name - after all I got the green card as a direct result of being married to Jojo). Having a green card with a last name different from all my other IDs would just be a cause for confusion and major headache later on.

So anyway, long story short (or maybe in this case long story still long since I did go through the entire long story) - I have to get all my paperwork straightened out. This means going to the Philippine consulate to get my passport changed, going to the social security office to get my SS card changed, and then to the DMV for my license and CA card. The rest can follow later on but these 4 are pretty imperative.

What joy to have to use a day off from work and to spend it lining up at these government agencies. I can hardly wait! Despite being able to make an appointment at the DMV, I just know I will have to spend a good amount of time filling out forms, lining in endless queues and waiting for the processing. What's worse the Social Security Administration and the Philippine consultate have no such things as setting appointments. Which means an even longer wait.

So that's basically what I'll be doing this Friday. I'm hoping I can take care of everything in one day ... but knowing how notorious government agencies are about taking forever to get things done and how the system works ... well, I'm not holding my breath!


jol said...

Indeed you have such a happy disposition as your green card is within reach. Are you sure you will enjoy lining up and all the waits that come with it? Congratulations!

Anonymous said...