Surname Problems: Passport vs Certificates, Marksheets and Documents

Raghu Application 667 Comments

A couple of more questions about missing surname in Indian passport or surname not matching with name in certificates and documents.

I have posted several articles in the same topic, but I keep getting email related to the same problem. Most people panic after reading a single blog post about potential problem they can face when names mismatch (or empty surname) in the passport. And  send an email or post a comment right away.  I received couple questions this week

Read the following blog post on How to Change Name in Passport while in US (and how life gets complicated) before proceeding below. It will give an idea of the problems you will face while in US with the empty surname in the passport.

Arun Asks

My name is Arun M V. I came to know that last name is important in US. So, did Indian passport will be issued in name format Arun M VXXX. Because the full name Arun MXXX VXXX is too much long. I have all the records as Arun M V. Is the name in GRE,TOEFL should be same as in the University application.

I have seen many people, University Faculty in US of Indian origin have their names in format Arun M VXXX. If the Indian Passport does’nt allow this,how it can be possible?
Or can I give my name as Arun VXXX eliminating my Middle name.

Pankil Asks

I have a problem/confusion. My name is mentioned as

Given Names: Pankil DXXX
Last Name: SXXX in passport.

My degrees have it as SXXX Pankil DXXX. I am already in US and working on H1B. So I have SSN which has my first name Last name. Should I be worried about having different names on these documents? I plan to take GMAT by end of 2010. Any information you can provide will be very helpful.

Surname – Passport vs Certificates

In India, we are used to have names with initials, instead of using Full Name. When applying for a passport, well those dang travel agents mess up the things, don’t they? Most of us unaware of potential problems that one can run into while applying for GRE Exam, TOEFL, F1 Visa, SSN, Driving License, etc.

Possible Name Combination’s

  • Certificates – Arun MV
  • Birth Certificate – MV Arun
  • College Marksheets – MV Arun
  • Documents – Arun V (or MXXX Arun VXXX)

You have to remember this – Name mismatch between a passport and certificates not a major problem at all. That’s something that can be will fix. Don’t worry about changing names in your certificates and documents.

Names in Passport

Having cleared one problem above, let’s talk about name’s in the passport. I can think of possible variations

Combination 1:

  • Given Name – Arun
  • Middle Name – MXXX
  • Surname – VXXX

Combination 2:

  • Given Name – Arun MXXX
  • Middle Name – Empty
  • Surname – VXXX

Combination 3:

  • Given Name – Arun M V
  • Middle Name – Empty
  • Surname – Empty

Of all the above 3 possibilities, the last one is the most problematic. As long as you have Surname in your passport, you will not have MAJOR problems. If there is no surname in your passport, stop right here and get your name changes in your passport first before going forward with any application or study abroad process.

Empty (or blank) Surname in Passport equals TROUBLE.

If you already applied (or received) passport without a surname, get that fixed. Talk to the local passport office to find out passport name change procedure and get it done. NOW. You may have additional if’s and buts like

I already booked dates for GRE Exam? What shall I do?

The answer is the same, change the name in passport, rebuke GRE again. If you try to save GRE exam fees, you have bigger problems awaiting you.

GRE, TOEFL and College Application

Now, we have cleared 2 issues related to names (documents and passport). Now, let’s assume you have a passport with a surname that doesn’t match with the names on your documents.

  • GRE, TOEFL, GMAT (or other exams) – Book dates based on name in passport, not documents. Use the name as provided in the passport.
  • College Application – Use the name as per passport. Remember that name in your passport will be your identity.

Going forward to use the name “as-is” from your passport. It’s absolutely ok to have different names from your degree certificates. Only university is going to use your certificates, but every other department is going to use your passport. That’s one of the reason, you have to include a copy of the passport front page with your application documents.

While filling out college application, you will see a question (or similar)

  • List other names used in your application documents.

You would have to enter various names used in your documents. If there is no such question, attach additional page to list the various names in different documents. That document must clearly state that documents submitted along with the application will have the following names, which will be different from the name in the passport.

Make sure you read  how Praveen added surname in passport after getting his I-20 due to name mismatch.

The bottom line is this

  • Your passport MUST contain surname (last name)
  • Name in GRE (TOEFL or IELTS or GMAT) score report should match with name in passport.


Comments to this blog post is closed. You can post further questions in the forums.


  1. Hello Sir, my surname is not mentioned in 10th certificate while other documents are with surname like pan card adhar card
    will it be a problem ?

  2. Plz help me….
    I have some mistake in my edu. document and in passport .In passport the name is as Min prashad nyaupane and in document Min prasad Nyaupane …
    plz reply me ……And I already applied for abroad study…..

  3. I have tow surname my school documents Patel and in my passport and even in all identity cards and my born certificate….. I need to remove emigration checking requirement.. so what should I do ?

    1. I have 2 surnames …in my all academic documents Patel while in my passport and others identity cards and born certificate my personal surname (Pokal)…I don’t need emigration checking requirement Stan in my passport …so what should be solution me..

  4. Hello Sir, my surname is not mentioned in 10th certificate while other documents are with surname like Adhar card ,pan card, driving licence and passbook.
    Will it be a problem?

    1. Hi Ashutosh, I am facing the same problem, if you get a answer let me know too.

  5. There is no surname in my ssc and inter certificates(M sai pavan) but i have a passport with my surname written(malisetty sai pavan).So how can i get my visa if the two names are different …

  6. Hello,

    While Applying for passport i have written my Father’s Name with his Middle Name But In my Educational certificate/Pan card His Name is With out the Middle name.

    But In His PAN Card he is having with the Middle Name.

    Is there any problem regarding the Middle Name during appointment.

  7. My name on my matriculation certificate and date of birth is musaib yaqoob dar S/O yaqoob ahamed dar and my name on other documents are musaib yaqoob S/O mohammad yaqoob dar otherwise every thing is same if it is a problem then tell me solution of this problem

  8. My name in all my school and college certificates is Henzakai infimate and in some of my documents i have given my name as Henzakai Hmar in my pan card, driving license . infimate and hmar are same clan in Hmar comunity . my actual name is Henzakai Hmar i even did an avidevide of my surname . I want to apply for jobs will it be a problem , please help me coz in future i want to be known as Henzakai Hmar

  9. sir / mam , my name is SK KHAJAVALI in all my documents from my birth … what shoul i keep the surname in my passport ? please help me

    1. Hello Sir My name on my matriculation certificate and date of birth is Musaib yaqoob S/O yaqoob ahamed dar and my name on other documents is musaib yaqoob S/O Mohammad yaqoob dar is their any problem with my father’s name if it is a problem then please tell me solution

  10. My husband is going for a work in new york but his marksheets r misplaced will that be a problem
    Only 10th marksheet is there and the college degree

  11. Hello Sir, my surname is not mentioned in 10th certificate while other documents are with surname like Adhar card ,pan card, driving licence and passbook.
    Will it be a problem?
    If there may be a problem what is the urgent solution for that as I have my appointment on 12th April 2017

  12. certificate name -MD ASHFAQUE all document is same
    but differ in passport name is MOHAMMAD ASHFAQUE what problem arise. i am planning in UAE for working i have completed b. tech
    please reply my answer anyone who do u know about this condition


  13. Hello,

    I dont have a surname in my passport and applied to take my father’s name as my surname. The passport authorities rejected this as I have no public docs with the desires name.

    Suppose, My first name in the passport is Ayesha Zoha. Can I now request for Ayesha to be my first name and Zoha my surname.

    Any advice would be deeply appreciated.

  14. My name in all my school and college certificates is Karthikeyan P.T.R. and in passport it is like Give name – Karthikeyan Surname :Portnovothirugnanasambamdam Ramadoss, Actually there should have been space in between Portnovo and thirugnanasambamdam. Will there be any problem in visa for my masters in US? Help me with this.


    1. Author

      OMG! Yes. Big Time with your day to day life. Change to Karthikeyan Ramadoss and get a new passport. Seriously.

  15. sir my name is MD ASHFAQUE on marks sheet and degree but tackle problem with short MD but MOHMMAD ASHFAQUE on passport s it may or not problem arise in dubai please give me ans

  16. my name is Kxxxx urf Sxxxx Tppppp Ksssss in all certificates (birth and educational) but PSK says only one name is allowed , will there be problems when I apply for abroad companies .
    passport name will vary from education certificate name.

  17. My problem is if we change father and daughter surname in future did we get any trouble. In applying passport

  18. I have only one name in passport…and my husband apply for family visa…visa has issued but with my name they include my father in law name…coz single name has problem the said…I have a doudt does it have problem in stamping of visa…coz there is only one name in passport and in visa there is 2 name….in all my certificate there is only one name

  19. Dear Sir/Madam,

    My name is PURNACHANDRA RAO V, as per certificates. But it is PURNA CHANDRA RAO VASIREDDY, (Vasireddy is my surname) as per my passport. Now I have planned to go USA /Canada/Australia for my higher studies. Do I face any problem at visa interview or at immigration check with my name in passport and certificates (surname and a space between ‘Purna’ and ‘chandra’)

  20. Hello San actually i want to apply for passport but concern is that my surname is not mentioned in schools leaving certificate while other documents are with surname like Adhar card ,pan card , postpaid bill and passbook .so Lest I should face the problems..Bcoz school leaving certificate is without surname

  21. I have a problem related to my surname. The problem is I have written as Diwakar Thapa in my all certificates but I have my name Diwakar Thapa Magar in my passport. I already applied and receive an offer letter from university as Diwakar Thapa so I need to know can I get a visa from the embassy as I had also provided them the name verification letter from muncipality.

  22. I would like to know if it will be a problem to get a US or UK visa if the middle name spelling is different by just one alphabet, The first name and surname are correct. The difference is in service record, PAN and pass port.


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