No Last Name in Passport – Can I Apply at U.S. Universities?

I was browsing some posts at Orkut and there are so many questions for which I have answers. But I don’t have time to read all the questions in the different communities. This is one of the reasons why I decided to start my own thread here.

Yes! This article was published when Orkut was in existence!

If you have any questions regarding an application process, it’s best that you post them as comments so others can see. I will try to answer it within a day.

It will be difficult for me to answer all questions regarding shortlisting universities for every individual reader, but I will try my best to do so. It’s better to send personal emails for university-related questions.

If you have questions like:

  1. My name on certificates/passport/all official documents is Manoj Kumar. But when I register for university applications/GRE, etc., I was being asked for my last name! (And it is mandatory to write last name.) What should I do?
  2. What does “print name” in the application mean?
  3. The university lost my documents, what should I do?

No Surname in my Passport

My official name in all my original certificates and passport is Sharada, I have no last name. When I registered for GRE they were are asking for my last name, which was compulsory.

What must I do? Do I write my first name again in the “Last Name” entry? Please reply as soon as possible as I have to register for the exam. Thanks in advance.

In my passport, my name is without a surname as we don’t have one. I’m a student trying to register for a GRE exam online. Since the registration requires a surname, I prefer to use my father’s name and I’m also inserting it in the State Gazette.

I was given the understanding that everything in the registration must be done and all original documents received by 18/02/11 or 21/02/11. I can bring these documents on 21/02/11 or 22/02/11. The last date for registering for GRE is 20/02/11.

Will there be any changes in my passport? No? Can I go ahead with the GRE registration using my existing Passport?

Having a surname (or last name) in a passport makes things a lot easier for anyone in the U.S.A. Read this experience on what it needs to change the name in the passport in the USA, including how to update all documents.

What’s my advice to you? It’s better that you get a new passport with a surname, then apply for GRE.

It’s common in India for people to apply for the passport without using a surname. If you don’t have one in your certificates, make sure you use your dad’s name or family name as your surname while applying for a passport.

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? (this article)
  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

 

69 Comments

  1. Shalini on August 3, 2017 at 12:56 AM

    Hi ,

    I am planning to appear for GRE and I was wondering if you can help me with below query:

    My full name in all legal documents is SHALINI including mark sheets and Passport.

    While creating the account with ETS they advised me to write LAST NAME as SHALINI only and it won’t create problem while appearing for the exam.

    So, will there be any problem when I will be applying to universities in US and if yes, how can I correct it cause I don’t have surname as such and its always SHALINI unlike the cases listed above where they do have surname but have been printed incorrectly on passport etc.

    Any suggestions are highly appreciated.

    Thank you in advance.

    • Raghu on August 3, 2017 at 2:05 AM

      You need a passport that has Last Name and First Name. If not, get a new passport and then try for GRE.

    • Yogesh on May 5, 2018 at 11:42 PM

      Hey I’ve same problem. Did you face any problem while applying for universities?
      Need help , please reply!
      Thanks!

  2. sharu on October 22, 2011 at 9:20 AM

    hi,my name in all my original certificates and passport is sharada,no last name,now to register for gre they are asking last name compulsory,what do i do,do i write my first name again in the last name category,pls reply as soon as possible,as i hav to register for the exam,thanks in advance.

  3. utsav on August 16, 2011 at 10:53 AM

    hi,
    my name is UTSAV MAHENDRU in my passport as well as my GRE registration. But the problem is that my 10th 12th and B.Tech markscard have it as UTSAV SANJAY MAHENDRU, ie. with my fathers name in between. Will it be a problem while applying to universities in US?

  4. narasimha on July 25, 2011 at 12:54 AM

    my name is venkata narasimharao (space is there between two words) how can i register for gre

  5. Aiswarya on February 12, 2011 at 11:24 PM

    in my passportIhave name without surname as we dont possess one. Iam a student trying to register for GRE Exam ONLINE. Since it demands a surname I prefer to use my father's name and am inserting in the State Gazette.I am given to understand that everything'll be done and receive the orinigal documents by 18/02/11 or 21/02/11. I can bring these documents on 21/02/11 or 22/02/11.Last date for registering GRE is 20/02/11 . Will there be any change in my passport No?Can I go ahead with the registration of GRE with the existing Passport No?

  6. anusha on January 22, 2011 at 8:50 AM

    I have registered for gre with my first name and last name.But in passport ur surname comes before ur name will that be considered as any problem.

  7. naimee on November 11, 2010 at 8:43 AM

    Problem is that,i have only one name naimee.in all my certificate including my passport also the same.so i cant register for gre due to lack of last name.if i now change my name in the passport,wil i be able to sit for gre?another problem is that,if i change my name in passport but dont change my name in all other certificate,wil it be accepted by the university when i wil apply for admission.i think without my last name i wil not be able to apply.please reply me.because i am in a great tension about this matter.thank you

  8. Faraz Ahmed Waseem on September 6, 2010 at 10:30 AM

    Hello,

    My name is Faraz Ahmed Waseem, in my passport my Surname is blank, and my given name is Faraz Ahmed Waseem. While applying for GRE I Mentioned my name as

    First Name: Faraz

    Middle name: Ahmed

    Last Name: Waseem

    Finally On my appointment summary my name is written as Faraz Waseem.

    Can i take the test with the same name as i am afraid that it may not match with my passport. And will there be any probem in future regarding the name.

    Please Guide me.

  9. garima on June 6, 2010 at 5:32 AM

    Hi..please find my details on the passport below:
    Given name : Garima
    Surname: Blank
    Infact I do not have a surname in all my docs also.
    i am plannin to take GMAT in July (I had put a . in my surname column as told by the customer care people while registering)
    Just wanted to know.. can i get my name changed on my passport later i mean after the examnation i.e,can i get my father's name added in my surname column and whether this wld pose any problems later as I do not have surname in any other documents??Please reply

    • HSB on June 6, 2010 at 2:00 PM

      I hvae posted several articles related to surname, refer to other related articles in the blog.

  10. Deepak on May 26, 2010 at 11:35 AM

    Hi,
    In my all the docs including my Passport my name is Deepak only and now I want to use my name as Deepak Kashyap. Please advice how I can do that.

  11. usha on April 8, 2010 at 3:34 AM

    I dont have my lastname in any of the documents(10th,12th,B-tech & passport)and i have to fill online application for GRE what should i do please any one can guide me….its very urgent,,,will i face any problem after i reach US ,,,

  12. Archie on March 2, 2010 at 11:48 PM

    Hi,

    As is case with all, in passport
    GIVEN NAMES: ABC XYZ
    SURNAMES:

    In my flight ticket
    FIRST NAME: ABC
    LAST NAME: XYZ

    1) Will the Virgin atlantic/Jet airways guys have a problem? I think airlines will be OK with it. Lately US asks for “Advanced Passenger Information” and I think in that I will put LAST NAME: ABC XYZ and FIRST NAME: FNU. Confused.
    2) I am going to apply to NYU-SCPS, will that be a problem enrolling with university?
    3) I am thinking of getting the passport corrected BEFORE i apply for the F-1 Student Visa. But is that necessary?
    4) Suppose I get my passport corrected and then get the Student Visa correct.
    BUT, I already have a Blanket-L1 visa which has
    SURNAME: ABC XYZ
    GIVEN NAMES: FNU
    How will that be effected?

    In short,
    I am really stuck as I think it will be painful to get my name in passport corrected. If not and I go ahead and change the name will my existing L1 visa be effected.
    I still have 2.5 months before my travel is scheduled and yet to apply for Student Visa (but have booked tickets already).

    Thanks so much

  13. pranshu on November 17, 2009 at 6:58 AM

    hii.. i'm pranshu,i'm b.tech final year student , i'av name PRANSU in my all documents(10th, 12th, b.tech),don't have surname also.. but in home address its PRANSHU ,so when'll i apply for passport then should i fill my last name or not??and which speeling should i write PRANSU or PRANSHU??

  14. Rahul Ramachandran on November 11, 2009 at 4:05 PM

    hi,I am Rahul Ramachandran, as posted by many ppl in this thread, i too dont have a surname in passport, but while registering for gre and tofel, i gave first name as Rahul and last name as Ramachndran.
    I came to know all this when i was applying for universities only.
    if i change my name in passport(Ramachandran as surname) .Will they change in same passport? or new one?if i get a new one,won't my gre and tofel score become invalid.
    pls help me.
    i am in big confusion whether to apply or not.
    what problems could i face later, will i hav problems while getting visa? can i change my name in passport after going there?
    pls help me

    thank u

  15. rantidev shukla on October 23, 2009 at 7:37 AM

    Good evening Sir,

    I have my all documents as well passport with name RANTI DEV.

    Father's name is Vijendra kumar Shukla.

    So i dont have surname with my name.

    May it create any problem with USA Phd Aplication???

    • HSB on October 23, 2009 at 12:04 PM

      Yes, you need to change the name in your passport. Add your Fathers Name in Surname in the passport.

  16. SHASHI on October 15, 2009 at 8:43 AM

    MY surname is TADOORI and my full name is SHASHI KANTH.In passport it is printed wrongly my surname is left blank and my fullname is shown as TADOORI SHASHI KANTH.HOW should I apply for GRE AND TOEFL as they ask for first name and last nameand also in my 10TH and INTER it is T.SHASHI KANTH.please help me..thanks in advance

    • HSB on October 15, 2009 at 10:26 AM

      Above article clearly explains what you should do if you have empty surname in the passport.

  17. chanti on October 14, 2009 at 3:12 AM

    In my passport ,the pin code is printed wrongly its came 2 instead of 3,rest is same…is this creates any problem or can we leave it like that????

    • easwaran on October 14, 2009 at 5:00 AM

      please approach the passport office of your region from where you got and correct it

      yes it absolutely needed correction

      good luck

      easwaran

  18. shaurya on September 15, 2009 at 1:40 AM

    I dont have my lastname in any of the documents(10th,12th,B-tech & passport)and i have to fill online application for GRE what should i do please any one can guide me.

    • Bahul on September 17, 2009 at 6:22 AM

      put a .(dot)or -(dash) in place of last name!!

      • shaurya on September 17, 2009 at 6:29 AM

        will it not create any problem further.have you done this even in your registration.

        • Bahul on September 17, 2009 at 9:11 AM

          dis is the correct way………yes i have done the same for my registration……i have consulted with some GRE experts.

          • shaurya on September 17, 2009 at 9:16 AM

            what if i add surname only in my passport and keep all other documents intact this will help me in getting my life easy in u.s to for applying for driving license etc.. will it create any discripency later regarding the identity of my name..



          • HSB on September 17, 2009 at 7:03 PM

            Yes, you can add surname in the passport. It will not have any impact on admission process. You will have problems only if you goto US without Surname in passport.



      • HSB on September 17, 2009 at 7:32 PM

        Bahul – If you don't know the right answer for sure, it's better to not mislead with incorrect information.

        • Bahul on September 18, 2009 at 12:58 AM

          you know everthing dude…..time will tel whoz wrong…..cheersss!!!!!

  19. Dilip on September 13, 2009 at 6:37 AM

    My surname is Surapuram

    first name is Dilip

    In Passport

    Surname : blank

    Given Name : Dilip Surapuram

    In Certificates

    Name : Surapuram Dilip

    will this create any problem at the time of visa/admission in USA?

    What should i fill while applying for GRE?

    or should I get change my Surname and given name in passport?

    while applying for GRE i should give the passport ref No.

    if i apply gre with out changing names in passport and after that can i change the names in passport…will the passport ref No. get changed after correcting my names in passport…?

    plz..answer my query!!

  20. Bahul on September 4, 2009 at 6:15 AM

    hello sir,

    My First name is Bahul and in all my document regarding academics and all other personal documents(Passport) i have only my first name ie. Bahul….

    I dont have my middle name and lastname in any of the documents,but i have to fill online application for GRE, and the last name is must

    So, what should i do now, please guide me .Thankyou!

    • HSB on September 7, 2009 at 7:02 AM

      Bahul – Do you have last name in the passport? If not, you have to add Last name to the passport and then apply for admission, GRE. You will face lot of problems without last name.

      • Bahul on September 8, 2009 at 12:38 AM

        no, sir i dont have a last name in my passport!!but from birth i dont have my middle and last name in any of my document till now!!

        • Bahul on September 8, 2009 at 12:40 AM

          i have my Btech degree documents with Only my first name i.e. Bahul!!!

  21. A.V.Bhavyabhushan Ya on March 4, 2009 at 6:36 AM

    Dear sir,

    I am now in my 6th sem of engineering from Bangalore,i have very less percentage 63% aggregate so far i also had few arrears.I dont know how to compensate these things to gain admission to a very good university.I want to do MS in NANOTECHNOLOGY so i have so far made two certificate courses on Nanotechnology by distance education its conducted by NSTC,Noida,U.P, will doing this be a very good advantage for my admission also i have attended few workshops and conferences. Can you please tell me what else should be made to make me get through very top universities like Rice University,etc .Please help me email id: [email protected]

  22. deepak on February 16, 2009 at 12:24 AM

    i am a south indian and my name in the passport appears as

    Surname ……….(blank)

    Given Name..Deepak ramachandran

    wherin ramachandran is my father's name…

    i have heard that it is necessary to have a last name to live in the us…while some ppl suggest that using my father's name as last name in future while applying for credit cards and stuff in the us will do some say dat it is necessary that i get my name changed in the passport…plz help!!!

  23. v sudharsan v arma on September 12, 2008 at 12:11 AM

    thank u…..would u tell me the rough cost for doing MS program in US, i am from biotech back ground……for fundings what r the certificates needed…….and at last,how much bank balance should we hav ??

  24. Raghu on September 11, 2008 at 5:30 AM

    @v sudharsan v arma: Yes, you can apply. but, try to make it before end of Jan 2009.

  25. v sudharsan v arma on September 11, 2008 at 4:51 AM

    can we apply for universities at the end of this december for fall 2009……..i am planing to retake GRE in start of dec……if we retake GRE is it a disadvantage….

  26. v sudharsan v arma on August 29, 2008 at 3:27 PM

    thak u for the reply……

  27. Sumalya Pal on August 29, 2008 at 1:55 PM

    @ v sudharsan v arma

    dude these documents that u are talking about proves that you are having genuine interest in the subject for which you are applying to. for instance if you are applying for MS in EE then if you have published some papers at conferences, it will prove that you are a diligent worker with perseverance to work in the PROJECTS of the university's EE department. This will also increase your chances for funding.

  28. Sumalya Pal on August 29, 2008 at 1:50 PM

    Hi Raghu,

    This is an awsome thread. This thread solves so many problems for students who are having lots of questions in their mind. Thanks for starting this. I have a question:-

    If you have a choice to choose between UTA and university of Akron for MS in electrical engineering , then which university would you prefer and why?? My Gre score is 1360 , Q= 780, V=580 , awaiting AWA and Toefl score. Waiting for your reply

    Thanks and regards

  29. v sudharsan v arma on August 29, 2008 at 1:18 PM

    hi……plz clarify my boubt….when we r apllying for universities with our GRE score….how could our certificates help us i.e(paper presentation,trainings,workshop and confernce certificates )

  30. Priya on August 29, 2008 at 11:46 AM

    I have received my WAC no in the month of June. And in the month of july1st i received RFE and ansered on Aug11th. now the USCIS status shows that additonal evidence sheet received and case resumed. do you have any idea how long it will take to get an approval. Is there any chances of rejections? Please help me.

  31. Raghuram on August 29, 2008 at 1:14 AM

    @R Vasanth Ragavendran: You could have it corrected at the test center. You will have to apply with correct names, but it depends on the university.

  32. R Vasanth Ragavendra on August 27, 2008 at 8:43 AM

    i have a similar question….. my

    given name is vasanth ragavendran

    sur name is raja sekaran

    as per the passport….

    but while registering with gre and toefl i have given the name as

    first name : R Vasanth

    last name: Ragavendran

    I completed my gre……and yet to give toefl…….before the exam i asked them whether it would create any problem…they said it is fine,….will it create any problem,,…..please help……..

  33. minaz on August 27, 2008 at 8:03 AM

    hey is it ok if i change my name in passport but not in certifictes

    wil i get addmissions abroad

  34. Raghuram on February 10, 2008 at 10:44 AM

    Original comment form page
    http://www.happyschoolsblog.com/do-you-make-these-11-common-graduate-school-application-mistakes/

    hai, my name is Laxmi subhasini my initial is H, in all my marksheets it apeears as H Laxmi subhashini and in my passport it is Laxmi Subhasini Rupesh here rupesh is my last name , and the same is in my gmat and toefl. while ffilling application can I use laxmi subhasini as my first name and rupesh as last name, because i dont want to use subhasini as middle name.pls suggest

    @ Lakshmi
    While filling the application, you will see an option asking if different names were used in mark sheets, documents,.. There you will need to say your name with Initials H.

  35. Raghuram on December 12, 2007 at 2:12 AM

    @ Sudhanshu

    Majority os students in India will have only First name with initials in mark sheets in India. So, thats not a problem. Problem usually come when there is no last name in passport.

  36. Sudhanshu on December 11, 2007 at 11:12 PM

    hi

    i also have a problem with ma first and last name…i have only my first name in my 10th, 12th and my engineering marksheets but i have added my lastname in the passport, as i registered with ETS with my first and last name. I want to know

    1. is it ok with only my first name in my degree

    certificates and my marksheets?

    2. Wat kind of other problems can i face?

  37. Siddarth on December 2, 2007 at 2:35 AM

    hey!!!
    Great work. anyways i have a doubt regarding sending additional certificates to the univ! lot of people who came for counseling said there was no use of additional certifi, thy dnt even read certifi of international students!! I have done quite a lot of projects and trainings, i was wondering if this would give me an edge!! could you enlight on this plz!! thanx!!

  38. Raghuram on November 28, 2007 at 5:05 PM

    @ Arun.

    When you appeared for Visa, do you remember how your name appeared? Problem will be when schools receive the score report, they will try to match the exact surname and if you fill the application with : Eapen Varughese, they might say your score is not received. So, try contacting ETS and see if you can get it corrected, if not while applying send additional not that your name will appear in first, middle and last name format.

    If you still not sure, then send email to graduate school you are planning to apply and see what they say.

    Let me know what response you get. So, if someone else asks this question I will be able to answer. Good Luck.

  39. Arun on November 27, 2007 at 3:28 AM

    hi..this is arun
    According to my passport
    Given name :Arun
    Surname: Eapen Varughese

    But in toefl and GRE:
    Given name : Arun
    Last name/surname:varughese
    Middle name:Eapen

    So while Applying to Universities : How shud i fill.According to toefl gre or according to passport.Will there be any problems in admission if i fill like passport.Thank you.

  40. Tejesh on October 11, 2007 at 8:40 AM

    and another Q, is that ,now ia m doing my Btech in Electronic and Control systems ,,, i wud lik 2 do my MS in computers,, is it going to b a problm 4 Visa and others….

    http://www.orkut.com/Profile.aspx?uid=6620506744021987357

  41. Tejesh on October 11, 2007 at 8:38 AM

    hi this is tejesh,i 2k my gre got a veyr low score n luking to tak it again in dec,writing my toefl in the last week of oct , my Q:is it going to be late applying for MS fall08?plz giv me a solution for tis.and by the way the INFormation ur giving really very usefull thnx a lot for tat.
    my ORKUT profile id is
    http://www.orkut.com/Profile.aspx?uid=6620506744021987357

  42. dhariy on September 21, 2007 at 1:07 AM

    do u know from where i can get the rankings of the colleges, i wnt to know the possible courses i can do as per the market requirement of the market. i am IT graduate planning for masters in US…
    what is ur emailid

  43. Life Strikes on September 17, 2007 at 5:21 AM

    Prads,
    Check this messaage, Arun has the same problem, but he alrready applied for the University and his I-20 cannot be issued.

    “hey guys!
    my name is Arun Kumar.I have applied to the university of bridgeport for MSEE,spring08….i got a email from the university last week sayin dat i cannot b g1 an I-20…this they say is because in my passport d g1 name states Arun Kumar and d surname feild is empty,they say dat 2 issue an I-20 u need a surname…d problem is i am 4m south India and i do not have a surname as such.just a g1 name…can some1 help me in this case..has d I-20 rule actually been changed?? if yes…wot do i do now?”

    Link:
    Arun’s profile ID:
    http://www.orkut.com/Profile.aspx?uid=8986103861208052310

    Message Link:
    http://www.orkut.com/CommMsgs.aspx?cmm=28459806&tid=2555488984040740446&na=4

  44. DD on September 15, 2007 at 3:46 PM

    Hey hi,
    i have got a score of 1160(Q:710 and Ver:450 anat:3.5)in Gre and 104 in toefl but facing probs in univ short listing.i am into CHEMICAL ENGG. i have a avg first class(pune university) in my 5 semesters. i can get good recos 4m my prof. one reco frm a IIT-B prof who was our HOD earlier.
    i have thought of
    1.Ohio state
    2.texas A&M, college station…
    my id [email protected]

  45. Happy Schools on September 15, 2007 at 8:06 AM

    Prads,

    Since you already registered with ETS, they will need to verify that name only in the passport, as far I know. If you still have doubts, give a ring to local testing center and they will clarify that. You can also try using Tatkal to get your name changed fast. I think for name change you need to advertise in news paper.

  46. prads on September 15, 2007 at 4:06 AM

    and by the way, i have registered with a name Pradeep K Arora with ETS, so i must get my passport name changed or some authority to write that i have changed my name. but still will it be comfortable?

  47. "life.strikes" on September 12, 2007 at 10:05 AM

    You could, but in long run you will run into problem that are practical. You will have to change so many records to change the name. Maybe you can try changing your name in passport to say Kumar as last name.
    I strongly suggest youto mail some grad school and see what they say.

  48. prads on September 12, 2007 at 9:28 AM

    ok fine, if i use Kumar as my last name and Pradeep as my given name.
    Is that possible?
    with my surname being blank in the passport, can i use Kumar from Given name as last name??

    thanks for replying!

  49. "life.strikes" on September 11, 2007 at 10:42 AM

    But your life will be very difficult here without last name. You might not be able to apply for credit card, driving license, bank accounts, setting up utility accounts,…

    So, think about that.

  50. prads on September 11, 2007 at 10:39 AM

    was that a solution? that was a suggestion, right?
    And you know, i cant change my name in India that fast…it takes months here to get it done.

  51. Life on September 11, 2007 at 9:41 AM

    From my experience, you got problems when you come here without last name.

    You will be identified by last name and SSN here. You might get admission and visa without last name, but your day to day life activities will be difficult.

    If you ask me, I would suggest to add last name to your passport. In South India, we dont have Family names, instead we have our Dad’s name as Last name. So, considering adding your dad’s name as last name.

    Again this is a suggestion and you can talk to others, but from day 1 when you think of applying to U.S. last name is must.

  52. prads on September 11, 2007 at 6:26 AM

    My name appears as

    Surname ……….(blank)

    Given Name..Pradeep Kumar

    also my mom and dad’s name on passport don’t contain their last names, only given names are there.

    please mail me back if possible.
    [email protected]

    • Niranjan on September 30, 2009 at 5:41 AM

      hi,

      In my all certificates and passport my name is "Nirajana". I am planning to split it as Niranjan Aras. I can get name changed in passport. But my question is, is it necessary to change the name in all certificates?. Should I add middle name also? or first& last names are enough?.

      Please guide me.

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