First Name & Last Name GRE Registration

You decided to Register for the GRE Test. Before you know, you are about to create your account at the ETS site to Register for the GRE.  The instructions ask you to use the exact names from the passport. Then you look at the first and last name and you are not sure how to proceed.

Here are four different problems frequently encountered by GRE Test takers while registering for the GRE Test.

  1. Multiple First names (ABC DEF XYZ)
  2. Multiple Last names (AXX BYY CZZ)
  3. Long Names (number of characters)
  4. No Surname in the Passport
  5. No Surname in the passport

So, how do you register for the GRE test when your name falls into one of the above categories?

Warning: ETS would cancel your GRE Test score or the GRE test center may not allow you to sit for the test if the names used to register and the name on your PAssport (or ID) doesn’t match.

Series: GRE Registration vs Names

  1. What names to use when Registering for the GRE Test (this article)
  2. How to Register for GRE with Multiple Names
  3. How to Change the Name After GRE Registration (But Before the Test)
  4. How to change the name after taking the GRE Test
  5. Problems without Surname in the Passport, GRE, Transcripts and College Application
  6. How to Change the Name in the Passport in the USA (& why you should change)
  7. No Surname in the Passport. Apply to US Universities?
  8. If Last Name Changes, Would GRE Scores Become invalid?
  9. How to complete DS-160 without Surname in the Passport
  10. I changed my name in the Passport to avoid problems
  11. How to complete the Passport Application in India

Multiple First and Last Names

ETS mentioned the following on their website:

first name last name gre registration space

Let’s look at some examples

  • First Name (or Given Name)
    • Be sure to provide your entire first (given) name (excluding accents).
    • Do not register under a nickname and do not register with only initials as your first name.
  • Last (family/surname) name.
    • You must enter your entire last (family/surname) name.
    • If you have a two-part or multiple last names, enter your complete last name as it appears on the ID documents (without accents) that you will present on the day of the test.

how to register for gre with spaces in names

Sample Scenario: 

Here is an example of how to use multiple First and Last Name.

  • First name: Neha
  • Last name: Raghavan Menon

So while applying for GRE, I should give it as

  • First Name: Neha
  • Last name: Raghavan-Menon

Is this correct? Is it okay to us ‘-‘ to separate the two last names? While applying to universities, can I apply as Neha R Menon, as all other certificates have this name printed?

Answer: As per the recent changes from ETS, you are not required to use “-” to separate the multiple names from your passport. You would enter your Last Name as Raghavan Menon.

Lengthy Names vs GRE Registration

My name is LEELA RAMA VENKATA NARASIMHA RAO. While registering for the GRE, I can’t enter my full name. There isn’t sufficient space for four letters. How do I register for the GRE Test?

I think your name is not as long as compared to some examples I have witnessed. Here’s what I would recommend:

  1. Enter the Same with Spaces as much as you can fit
  2. Get a New Passport with a shorter name. (Recommended)

Comment Regarding the Option 1:

Even I had the same issue. I wrote a mail to ETS and they replied to enter as many characters as possible without spaces. You will be allowed to add the rest at the test center on the day of test. When you arrive at the test center, inform them that your name did not fit in the and they would help you. I did the same. So be confident book your slot.  And if you invent any other new to enter your name, then you will not be allowed to take the test.

When I tell folks to get a new passport with a shorter name, I typically get the following response.

“I’m running short on time and I wil miss the deadline for Fall Semester.”

Considering the host of problems one would run into with a long name, the hassle of the missed deadline is worth a try. Your life in the US would be really difficult and I have written about in detail.

No Surname vs GRE Registration

Registering for GRE without a Surname in the passport should be avoided at any cost. 

I don’t care if you have a deadline or going to miss a semester. Get a new passport with a Surname.

I have seen 1000+ reports of people suffering in the US without Surname in the passport and Visa stamp.

It’s expensive and year-long process to get a new passport after you have landed in the USA. So, take my advise and get a new passport. I’m not going to give any other suggestions or workaround for this option.

GRE Registration Tips

  1. Register for GRE if and only if you have the passport with you
  2. Don’t register for GRE or any test if your Passport is still under processing
  3. You should have the passport with you during the registration process (or a copy of it)
  4. (Again) If your Surname in the passport in Blank, don’t register for the GRE Test.



  1. Rakesh Sharma on September 17, 2020 at 2:59 AM

    Hi Sir,

    My Son having name in educational documents (10th, 12th) as “SHARMA AYUSH”, Father/Mother name also having Surname mentioned in the First …SHARMA XXXX and SHARMA YYYY

    in other documents (Aadhaar Card, PAN Card & Passport) is “AYUSH SHARMA”

    Will there be any problem for GRE/ higher study in US/UK…Kindly reply.

  2. abdelrahman Sayed on August 2, 2020 at 5:35 PM


    My name is abdelrahman Sayed shehata Farrag, which appears exactly like this in my passport.
    I have written my name in my GRE account: abdelrahman s shehata.
    The last name I provided is shehata not farrag.
    Should I change the last name or not?

  3. Dr. sabera shabbir kapasi on December 27, 2019 at 11:29 PM

    Hi. Is there any rule or reference that shows that in indian education certificates, surnames are written first by default hence the mismatch in the passport name.

  4. Rama on October 11, 2019 at 3:03 PM

    Hi. In Tamil nadu our father name first letter is the initial R. RAMESH BABU is my father name. My name Rama R so how should I enter my name while applying for passport.

  5. Anchal on August 24, 2019 at 1:16 AM

    My name on documents as well as on passport is OSHIN what should i enter in last name for regristration for GRE

  6. Pratik Wadibhasme on September 28, 2018 at 12:52 PM

    First name : PRATIK
    Middle name : MADHUKAR
    Last Name : WADIBHASME

    While registering on ETS I did not enter my middle name.I entered as follows
    First/Given Name : Pratik
    Last Name : Wadi hasne

    On my passport my name is as below
    Given Name : PRATIK MADHUKAR
    Surname : WADIBHASME

    Will it be a problem if I haven’t included my middle name while registering on ETS?

    • Samruddhi K on April 29, 2019 at 7:46 AM

      Hello Pratik, I am trying to book a date and am in the same dilemma. Was this issue of yours solved?
      Should I enter father’s name(which is a part of the given name on my passport), as first/given name while registering for GRE?

      Thanking you in anticipation.

      • Vidhi Thacker on July 24, 2019 at 7:34 AM

        Hey I’m having the same issue. So was your problem solved or not?

    • Vxxxx on July 24, 2019 at 8:08 AM

      Hey. I’m in huge dilemma, it would be great if you could respond to this and help.

      My passport has:
      Given Name: Vxxxx Axxxx
      Surname: Txxxxxx

      Where ‘Vxxxx’ is my first name, ‘Axxxx’ is my Middle (Father’s) name, ‘Txxxxxx’ is my Last name (Surname).

      And I’ve registered for GRE with:
      First/Given name: Vxxxx
      Last/Family Name: Txxxxxx

      And as Middle name was not mandatory I didn’t added ‘Axxxx’ to it.

      Is there going to be any problem with Gre and College applications?

      Thanks in advance!

      • Raghuram Sukumar on July 24, 2019 at 9:38 AM

        You could have asked this before registering for GRE. The name should match the name on the passport. Not a huge problem, but if your center allows taking the test. For future, either get a new passport without middle name of use the full name as-is from the passport for applications.

      • Roshan on September 22, 2019 at 11:07 AM

        Its never a problem don’t panic

  7. Gayathri on August 11, 2018 at 3:53 AM

    Hi ,

    I have to apply for gre exam . In passport my
    Given name : Lalitha madhurima gayathri ——– 26 letters
    If removing spaces they are exactly 24 letters
    Can I remove spaces and write?
    Thanks in advance

    • Raghuram Sukumar on August 12, 2018 at 3:31 PM

      Read the instructions. I believe you can write without spaces.

  8. sreenidhi on July 21, 2018 at 11:22 AM

    hello sir/Madam,
    I have slight confusion regarding my name which has to be entered while creating ETS account for gre test. my name is long, it is as follows,

    Bollepalli premasai vani naga sreenidhi

    in passport it is as follows:

    surname: BOLLEPALLI


    i tried entering this given name in the website, it was showing me the limit as 24 characters while my name exceed that. hence i require your assistance in filling my name.
    some of my queries are:

    can i skip spaces and write ?

    can i use sreenidhi as my given name (it is actually my main name) and P.V.N as my initials?

    i request you to let me know as soon as possible ,because i am running late to book gre exam slot.

    Thanks and Regards,

    • Raghuram Sukumar on July 28, 2018 at 10:22 AM

      Please get a new passport with a shorter name. Something like Sreenedhi Bollepalli.

  9. Ipsita on July 14, 2018 at 10:28 PM

    Hello Sir,
    My name is Ipsita and my passport has given name as Ipsita and surname is empty.
    I have registered for GRE as Ipsita in both First name and Family name fields. Also, all my documents and id proofs bear Ipsita and no surname. What problems might I face later on? Is there anything I can do for that?

    Thank you

  10. Harika on March 11, 2018 at 5:43 AM


    My First name is Harika Reddy (as per passport)
    While creating GRE account I entered my first name Harika Reddy (not entered as one word as you stated above) and created an account.

    I guess it should not be an issue, but want to check 🙂 .


  11. Rohan Singh on March 9, 2018 at 4:52 AM

    In my passport name is in all upper case.


    In gre registration form only first letter of first and last name is capital.

    Rohan Singh

    The issue is only with capitalization of letters.

    There is no issue with first and last name.
    There is no error with spelling

    Will it create any problem?

    • Raghuram Sukumar on March 9, 2018 at 9:15 PM

      No it will not.

  12. Ranjana Kiran on March 13, 2017 at 1:37 AM

    Hi, my brother is registering for GRE. His name as per the passport is Given Name as “Jitender Pal Singh” with no last name. While registering for GRE, last name column is mandatory. Please suggest how to register for this.

  13. Greta on July 6, 2016 at 3:02 AM

    hello sir.i had registered for gre with first name as Greta ,middle initial as P and my family/surname as Parumati . but my passport has my name as Parumati Greta Reddy. will there be any problem?

  14. Megha on October 1, 2015 at 5:14 AM

    I have few queries regarding registering for GRE.

    My name on passport is KASHIKAR MEGHA SUBHAKAR.

    (1)What should I mention my first name? is it MEGHA or the full name as KASHIKAR MEGHA SUBHAKAR (As in passport and without spaces)???

    (2)And secondly, what should I mention the last name, is it only surname as KASHIKAR? or KASHIKARMEGHASUBHAKAR???

    Please clarify my doubts

  15. […] What name to use when registering for GRE? […]

  16. […] What name to use when registering for GRE? […]

  17. kalyani on July 16, 2014 at 8:51 AM

    Hi ,
    In my passport the surname is my husband family name and in my education certificates its my family name. If I go for GRE/TOEFL exam with the name as is in passport will there be any problem? (In my husband passport, its mentioned with my family name – will it become problem in future). please suggest.

  18. Nilay Chheda on July 14, 2014 at 11:24 AM

    Hello sir,

    Currently, I am working at Hyderabad. My permanent resident address is not in Hyderabad. My passport has my permanent resident address. While registering for GRE, should I register with my permanent address only or I can give my Hyderabad address?

    • Raghuram Sukumar on July 14, 2014 at 11:31 AM

      Use your home address. Passport address match doesn’t matter when registering for GRE.

      • Nilay Chheda on July 14, 2014 at 11:55 AM

        Where else the address I use for registering for GRE used? Are there any implication on actual application process with university? As I shall be leaving Hyderabad and going to my home town and complete all the other application related followup from there only.

        • Raghuram Sukumar on July 14, 2014 at 3:16 PM

          I know you were going to ask this, that’s why I told you use your home address. GRE address is not used any where.

      • Nilay Chheda on July 14, 2014 at 11:55 AM

        Thanks for the prompt reply by the way. 🙂

  19. swaroop92 on April 17, 2014 at 7:42 AM










    • Raghuram Sukumar on April 17, 2014 at 3:51 PM

      So yourself a favor – get new passport with small first name.

    • SATISH on June 23, 2015 at 11:41 AM


      I am satish. I would to register for GRE Exam and i have the same problem as my name has to big to register for GRE test in website.

      Did you attend the exam as the date mentioned above.Please reply me as soon as possible.

      Thanks ,

    • sreenidhi on July 21, 2018 at 11:25 AM

      hello sir , i would like to know whether there was any problem because of the name later , i have register for gre now and currently have the same problem.

      I have slight confusion regarding my name which has to be entered while creating ETS account for gre test. my name is long, it is as follows,

      Bollepalli premasai vani naga sreenidhi

      in passport it is as follows:

      surname: BOLLEPALLI


      i tried entering this given name in the website, it was showing me the limit as 24 characters while my name exceed that. hence i require your assistance in filling my name.
      some of my queries are:

      can i skip spaces and write ?

      can i use sreenidhi as my given name (it is actually my main name) and P.V.N as my initials?

      can i write P V N SREENIDHI as my first/given name ?…

      i request you to let me know as soon as possible ,because i am running late to book gre exam slot.

      Thanks and Regards,

      • Gayathri on August 11, 2018 at 3:48 AM

        Hi Srinidhi,

        What did you do for this ? How did you give the name ?My name is also big like yours . Please help me out.

        Passport details:

        GivenName: Lalitha Madhurima Gayathri
        character limit is present
        What did you do then?


  20. TAUQUEER NOOR on February 19, 2014 at 12:57 AM

    hello !
    how can I change my name in my account of ETS website……….
    help me please , I immediately need to register for a Computer based general test…
    I am from India , my given name is Tauqueer Noor in my GRE account , but in my passport it is written as ( Given Name ; TAUQUEER & Sur Name ; NOOR) ie. “TAUQUEER NOOR”
    So please tell me how do I change my name ‘Tauqueer Noor’ to “TAUQUEER NOOR”

    And if this cannot be done again, did i able to appear in exam…
    Also let me know, Is it allowed for me to create another My GRE account..
    With Regards

  21. arun kumar on February 13, 2014 at 11:40 AM

    in my passport it was (arun kumar ) space between arun and kumar and surname varala but during signup in ets space is not allowing me in given name what should i do please help out in this as fast as possible

    • Raghuram Sukumar on February 13, 2014 at 12:59 PM

      Answer to your question is listed in the above content.

  22. BHUVNESH SINGH on January 17, 2014 at 11:46 PM

    I am intending to go to USA for MS. In my passport ,ID proof,All cerificates my name mentioned as BHUVNESH SINGH i.e. without sirname.Pl. guide if sirname is mandatory.

  23. pawan on January 15, 2014 at 6:50 PM

    I have registered for GRE general test on 28 March 2014 with the name PAWAN KUMAR but the name in my passport is PAWAN KUMAR ELANGOVAN. Is there any way of editing my name ? Will i be refunded if i have to cancel and apply fresh ?

    • Raghuram Sukumar on January 16, 2014 at 8:42 AM

      You have to cancel and register again. You will get partial refund.

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