I recently married a woman who is here on a six-month tourist visa. We are planning to file a change of status petition. I have been told it is helpful if she changes her last name here in the US before we file the petition. If so, what last name should she use eg: Smith, Gomez-Smith, or Smith-Gomez? Thank you for your advice.
A name change is not required and does not make a difference in the immigration process.
No need to change names. USCIS will not consider a name change to have an effect on the application.
Based on your question, it appears that you should consult with an immigration attorney about the "change of status petition" that you mentioned. An immigration attorney will help you to go over everything, make sure there are no issues that could result in some serious problems and consequences, and give you the best chance of success. Good luck.
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