Surname Problems: Passport vs Certificates, Marksheets and Documents

Raghu Application 639 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.

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  1. Priyanka singh

    Priyanka singh in passport n record name priyanka dhillon i made add in 2 news paper effidavid n wat is required pls tell me i hv to change as soon as possible regards

  2. pramod nair

    My passport name is pramod chettigal but my all documents like addar card, pan card,voter id is pramod nair re issue of passport any problem

  3. Satish K S

    My name is Satish K S.. K stands for my birth place and S my dad name.. Can i make Kkk and Sss both as Surname in passport or only one name is allowed in Surname column..???

  4. Poornima

    Hi sir,im dad’s initial missing my school nd college certificate ..I’m clear government exam …so any problems for missing ma dad initial ah

  5. John

    My son’s certificate his name as mentioned first with initial but in Adar his name mentioned the initial after the name any problems or

  6. John

    My son’s certificate his name as mentioned first with initial but in Adar his name mentioned the initial after the name any problems or


    Actually I have problem about document issue just my name on HSC and SSC
    Navnath Yeshwant Ingle and on my degree,aadhar card,pancard and other document my name is Navnath Yeshwantrao Ingle problem like that mismatch the v and w and rao due that concern I create problem in govt job ya visa, passport so plz guide me.
    Navnath ingle

  8. Tejash Nayak

    Sir, my name on Passport is Tejash Pravinbhai Nayak, because passport made with reference name of Birth certi and on my all qualification docs names is Tejashkumar Pravinbhai Nayak,
    so is there any problem while getting Visa???

  9. Dinakaran

    Hello sir.
    My school , college degree certificate name is K.P.DINAKARAN
    but my father changed his name recently due to that I got change in my initial while applying passport & in passport my initial got changed R.DINAKARAN.
    Does it will affect my visa certificate verification. Any one pls help me out.

  10. shanmugam

    inold ppt my parents names surname then given name next
    In new passport my parents names as given name first then the surname next
    applying visa renewal is it affect the prosses

  11. Nanda

    my original PAN Card and 10th Mark sheet like NANDAKISHORE S

    but in my B.E certificates, All Bank Accounts and Adar is like NANDA KISHORE S

    whether this may cause some problems in future like visa or passport.

  12. Soorya Kiran

    Hi, I want to apply for passport i am having a doubt that my name in ssc is printed as soorya kiran Rumar instead of soorya kiran Kumar, and in all documents(adhar card,voter id ,degree certificate etc) it is printed correctly. I want to know whether the name printed in passport is ssc name or other documents name, and for what proof ssc certificate is taken dob or name . please reply its urgent

  13. Ritika shriwastav

    My name is Ritika Shriwastav..i m studying in class name in my 10 marksheet is Ritika Srivastav..and name in aadhar card is Ritika it better to change the name in aadhar card?

  14. DVN


  15. raju

    Respected Sir,
    My original surname is male but when my admission done in my school that time our neighbor give my name telange as a surname.from that time its been telange all family member surname is male, instead of me.on my all certificate means 10th,12th,15th and in bank account and on pan card the surname is telange i am 27 years old. now i want to change my surname form telange to male on all my documents.
    Kindly suggest what i have to do.
    Kindly do the needful.your reply is precious to me.

  16. MAG


    I am planning to apply for Passport, Actually my name in Birth certificate is K MEGHASREE where in 10th and other all certificates it is K MEGHASRI, will it create any problem? Please help me guys

  17. Sourav das

    Sir,my name is sourav Sunil Kumar Das all docoment but my school certificate father name is ‘sunil Das’ missing ‘kumar’ apply passport trouble to me? Please tell me sir?!

  18. praveenkumar

    my original govt id proofs and 10th ,12th certificates like PRAVEENKUMAR R

    but my B.E certificates is like PRAVEEN KUMAR R

    whether this may cause some problems in future like visa or passport.

    plz help me.

  19. Raj bhan yadav

    Sir my name is Raj Bhan yadav But my engineering certificate my name Is without space(Rajbhan yadav) so any problems in my future or not?

  20. Purnachandrarao

    My certificates have my name as PURNACHANDRARAO V.
    Whereas in my passport it is PURNA CHANDRA RAO VASIREDDY.
    Does it cause any problem in future, in any immigration progress or any type of process that involves passport Vs certificates.
    Thank you

  21. seema

    i want to get my passport.but my 10th and 12th certificate my father name mismatch only single later(narayan/naryan).so please tell me there is any problem to get passport.

    1. Md. Perwez Ahmad

      In my son birth certificate issued by municipal corporation in Bihar, his mother name as Zaira Perwez but her name is Zaira Afroz. What i do for passport application.

      Md. Perez Ahmad

  22. kiran


    my name is kiran, in my education certificates my name is printed as S Kiran Kumar. but in in my date of birth certificate, adhar card my name is mentions as Sxxxxx Kiran Kumar.
    is it will be a issue to not getting passport?

    thank you

  23. Amanda

    Hi Sir,

    The name on my birth certificate is “CCC YYY WWW” (CCC being my surname).

    My passport has it as: Surname – “CCC” and Given names – “YYY WWW” alias “AAA”.

    All my educational documents, pan card and DL have my full name as “AAA CCC YYY WWW”.

    I will be registering for IELTS and was wondering if this would be a problem.

    Also, I will be renewing my passport. So would it make sense to change remove the alias on my passport to reflect my given name as “AAA YYY WWW”, surname remaining the unchanged as ‘CCC”?

    Kindly advise.


  24. Rakesh Kumar Sharma

    My Full Name is Rakesh Kumar Sharma but in all education certificate, jobs offer letter, PAN, Voter card, Passport, Adhar card my name mentioned is Rakesh Kumar (First name) without surname (it is blank).
    My Question is:
    1. If I add my surname in Passport (after affidavit/newspaper advt. etc.), is it necessary to change in all educational certificates (Marksheets/Degree). Why I am asking during any visa process (specially USA/Europe) if any change in edicational Degree vs Passport that can create problem, please confirm/advise.

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