Praveen's Blog

An Eternal Quest for Incremental Improvement

Name change - Praveen Ravi Kumar

One of the major headaches that I had after moving to the US was due to the way my name was handled in various places. I am from Tamil Nadu in India. In Tamil Nadu, we don't have an official concept of last name. Instead, we have a concept known as "Initial" where we use father name's first letter in front of the name. My name is Praveen Kumar and my father's name is Ravi Kumar. So, I was called "R Praveen Kumar". However, when I applied for an Indian passport back in 2003, I was asked to expand my initials as my last name. So, my name has become "Praveen Kumar Ravi Kumar" where "Praveen Kumar" was the first name and "Ravi Kumar" was the last name. Needless to say, we don't have a middle name concept.

After I moved to the US, when I applied for a Social Security Card in the Social Security Office, the officer made "Praveen/Kumar/Ravi Kumar" as my first, middle and last names respectively. Living in the US with a last name that has two parts clearly caused a lot of confusion for me in the past five months. Also, I didn't prefer "Kumar" to repeat twice in my name. So, I decided that I would adopt "Praveen/Ravi/Kumar" as my first, middle and last name respectively. It was not a straight forward procedure.

I had to file a petition in one of the Supreme Courts of California for a name change. As a part of this process, I had to advertise "Order to show cause" notice in a local newspaper for four consecutive weeks and attend a court hearing. In the meantime, I also had to publish an advertisement back in the area of my permanent residence in India. The latter procedure is required for getting my Indian passport updated with my new name. All these procedures burnt around USD 500 out of my pocket. Finally, I was granted a "Decree showing Name Change" by Fremont Hall of Justice a couple of weeks back.

Once I received the order, I had to go to the Social Security Office to get a new Social Security Card showing my new name. After a week, I got my Driver's license updated with my new name in the DMV office. Finally, I had to notify my financial institutions and other places about my name change. I also applied for a new Indian passport. It was really annoying to get all these done. But I love the simplicity in Praveen Ravi Kumar!