Surname Blank in Passport, First Name as FNU in US Visa – Issues – Solution

In US Immigration - Visas by KumarUpdated : 479 Comments

We have recently published information on applying for Indian Passport.  Some of the unlucky ones, who applied for passport prior to the full online system, may have got their passport with surname blank in passport. This could be a clerical or system error, but it can cost you a lot in future, if not corrected. This article will focus on the common issues around this ‘blank surname’ problem in America and solution for the same.

What is FNU – First Name Unknown? Why do I see FNU in First Name field in my US Visa?

In general, Surname, Family Name or the Last Name is the most important thing that identifies a person’s origin and it is used across everything as the primary identifier. If due to some mistake or clerical error in your passport, you get Blank Surname or Given Name in your passport and you do not get it fixed, the US consulate will issue your US Visa with the existing name in passport as the Last Name in US visa and the first name field will be written as FNU. It is a common practice among US immigration system to use FNU as the first name in such instances.  Check US Embassy Website FAQs for FNU

Here is an example :

This is how it would look on passport

Case I : 

  • Given Name : “ Vikas Nathan”
  • Surname :  “ “  ( Blank )

Case 2 :

  • Given Name : “ “ ( Blank)
  • Surname : “Vikas Nathan”

In both of the above cases, your US Visa in your passport would look like

  • First Name : FNU
  • Last Name : “Vikas Nathan”

Can I go to US with Blank Surname in Passport ? What is the problem with FNU as first name ? How does it impact my life in USA?

The fact is that, you will be able to go to US with blank First name or blank Surname in your passport, but your life gets tough after wards. You will face issues in places like DMV, when you try to get a Driving License or at SSA office, when you try to apply for a Social Security Number ( SSN).  Many of the US government officials may not be aware of what it means by ‘FNU’. They will always try to verify your documents against your Passport and other identity verification documents…Unfortunately, there will be mismatch as your prior certificates and passport does not have FNU.  You will be asked by DMV and SSA office to get your passport and immigration documents corrected to issue a license. You will be in complicated situation. To avoid such instances, please get your passport corrected before you proceed with anything like taking GRE  or TOEFL , applying for US visa,  etc.

What is the solution, if your Surname is Blank in Passport and you have FNU as the First Name in your US Visa ?

Simple answer : Get your passport Corrected ! Make sure your surname or family name corresponds to your actual family name or initial in your certificates and first name or given name matches with your given name.

If you are in India – Get your names in passport fixed

All you need to do is go to Passport Seva Kendra and apply for a re-issue of your Indian passport with name change.   It is fairly straight forward.  The advantage of getting this corrected before your US move or Visa is that all your future documents will be perfect and you will be good.

If you are in USA with FNU as first name in US Visa, I-20, I-94 or I-797 and Blank Surname in Passport

Because all your immigration documents have FNU as first name, your first job is get your passport fixed and then get your other documents fixed.

Step 1 : Get your names in Passport fixed with correct Surname and Given Name

Step 2 : Get your immigration documents like I-94, I-797 and I-20 Fixed

Step 1 : How to get your Indian Passport with Blank Surname corrected in USA

  1. You will need to go to the Indian Consulate Website that serves your state and check for the process to change your name.
  2. Depending on the type of name change you may end up in two scenarios
  • Name Bifurcation or Split: If it is just a name bifurcation, means split your name into two. For instance, if your surname is blank and your Given name is “Vikas Nath” and you want to split it as   Given Name : Vikas and Surname : Nath, it could be done at the Indian consulate by adding a small observation in the passport indicating the same. A sample would look like what you see in below image. This depends on the Indian consulate officer you are interacting with and it depends on their discretion. They may ask you to follow the below name change process as well. surname blank in Indian passport corrected in USA
  • Name Change in Passport:  If you are going for a name change in your passport then, you will need to follow the below steps. It can vary by consulate and you will need to follow their instructions.
    • You will need to publish and Ad in a reputed US news paper regarding your name change and submit the newspaper clipping to the Indian consulate with supporting documents like your residence proof, I-94, etc.
    • You will also need to publish an Ad in reputed Indian News paper regarding your name change and submit the newspaper clipping to the Indian consulate with supporting document.  Check with Indian consulate for exact instructions.
    • You can appear in person or mail the required documents to the Indian consulate. You will receive your passport with name change done.

Step 2 : How to Get your US Immigration Documents Corrected.

After you get your name corrected in Passport, you need to check for your nearest USCIS office and schedule an appointment with USCIS immigration officer using InfoPass and get the system updated with your correct name in passport.  You will be asked by immigration officer in USCIS to work with a CBP officer, probably in the same building, to get a New I-94 with your correct name on it.

Note
In 2017, one of our users have reported that CBP officer and USCIS appointment did not help with fixing the last name and they suggested to go to home country. I suggest you check with USCIS and CBP and plan for your travel before you make any plans to do the above changes.

Once these steps are completed, you can go to the DMV and get your Driving license and go to SSN office and get the SSN with correct information.

Do I have to go for a new US Visa Stamping after this Blank Surname Correction?

Typically, it is NOT required. You will need to carry your old passport and the new passport with updated name. Also, supporting documentation like your visit to USCIS, Name change documents, Home country driving license or any other identity documents, if any like news paper Ad, etc, just to ensure that you are the right person. Immigration regulations keep changing, you SHOULD check with USCIS Officer or any of US Embassy to clarify the current requirements.

Can I use US Visa Dropbox / Interview Waiver option, if I have to get new visa stamp on Passport ?

If you are eligible for the general US Visa Dropbox/ Visa Interview Waiver requirements as listed on USTravelDocs Interview Waiver Requirements, you can use such option to submit your documents and get US visa stamp on your new passport with the name corrected on it.

———————————————————————–
FNU Name Correction Experience by M Ghiyas – March 2018.   

I had similar problem but It got resolved recently with help of my Employer/Attorney. I followed below

Problem :
1. Surname was Blank on Indian Passport ( Still 3 more years valid)
2. Visa had FNU and Last Name as ABC’ ‘XYZ’ ( It will expire in 10 months 09/2017 )
3. I-94 had FNU and Last Name as ABC’ ‘XYZ’
4. DMV issued US License with First Name as Blank and Last Name as ‘ABC’ ‘XYZ’
5. SSN office issued First Name as “Unknown” and Last Name as ABC’ ‘XYZ’
and list of problems started.

Follow below steps to get rid of problems
Step1 – Wait until you renew/extend your petition.
Step2 – Apply for Reissue of Passport with Split in Name ( You will get new passport with 10 years expiry)
Step3 – Apply for extension of petition with new passport with corrected name (Some where in I-129 you need to mention old names used as FNU ‘ABC’ ‘XYZ” this should be taken care by your employer/attorney while filing extension)
Step 4 – You will get I-797A with corrected name ( this will correct your will I-94 details too)
Step 5 – Goto SSN office , give your SSN card with new passport , I-797A. With few days you will get new SSN with corrected name then goto DMV and get name corrected.

PS: Then take deep breath.

Thanks to Ghiyas for sharing his experience.
—————————————————————————

What has been your experience with FNU ?

Were you questioned at the Port of Entry regarding FNU ?

References and Experiences of people with FNU and Surname Blank Issue

   

Other Articles


Comments ( 479 )

  1. Nirmal

    Hlo sir/mam,
    Urgent help needed ..
    I Have no surname in my indian passport. Only first name is given and last name column is blank.
    In my USA visa my first name is=FNU
    Last name is =NIRMAL
    My Husband have last name in both passport and usa visa.

    My question is that at the time of my child’s birth, What should i fill in Mother’s given name FNU and last name NIRMAL
    or
    Given name =NIRMAL and last name =———
    Please reply if someone have knowledge about this.

  2. Cyrus

    Hello,
    I live in California as of now.
    I am currently facing a problem at DMV because my green card starts of with FNU.
    My SSN has my name done properly but my Green Card reads FNU and it cause a problem with me getting my license.
    My passport was fixed recently…but due to the COVID – 19 situation..it is hard to find a solution.
    But i do need my license soon. I do have a license that is valid for the next 5 years from UAE.
    Please do tell me what i can do about this.

  3. Kumar Ravi

    Hi, My name is Kumar Ravi. I used to write my First Name as “Kumar” and Last or Surname as “Ravi”, but in my organization HR system, they entered in reverse order that is First Name as “Ravi” and Last or surname as “Kumar”. As it seems it will be difficult for changing in my organizations internal system. Will it create any problem in visa processing in any country for business purpose travel or in any visa for holiday trip?

    Regards
    Kumar Ravi

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Kumar Ravi,
      It may create issues, if they are interpreted wrongly. You should get it fixed with your company. If your company cannot change the names, how can you expect Govt organisations to accept wrong order. Both are different names technically.

  4. Sara

    Hello

    I am Sara Myneni I want to change my First name I am on F1 visa status in USA,

    I spoke to few agents they asked me to publish and add in news paper in USA and India,

    But when I spoke to Indian embassy they asked to publish in gazette publications as well,

    Can any one suggest who know about this process or any agents who can help fasten the process.

    Thank you

  5. Supraja

    Hey,

    I am facing similar issue with my name. I am in US on H4 status. My name on i797 is FNU XXX YYY. I recently got admission to MS and I am thinking of changing my status to F1. When is the right time for making corrections in my passport? Should I do it now or after my status is changed to F1? Will there be any visa issues if I do so?

      1. Supraja

        Thanks for your reply. I checked with one attorney who helped with my change of status before. he suggests not to do it now, as the processing time have increased due to Covid. Also, can I make this corrections when I am in next time? will there be any issue because the I797 and I94 contains different name?

        1. Supraja

          Thanks for your reply. I checked with one attorney who helped with my change of status before. he suggests not to do it now, as the processing time have increased due to Covid. And I am in dilemma now, because I want to apply for internships for next summer and I am worried that my F1 might not be approved by then. Also, can I make these corrections when I am in India next time? will there be any issue because the I797 and I94 contains different name?

          1. Supraja

            Adding to above, there is also a COS on my H4 is still pending with USCIS, as my husband changed employer recently.. can I do the passport correction while that is in progress? I am kind of stuck with all the situations here. please suggest a better way to proceed with my issue.

          2. administrator
            Kumar

            Supraja,
            If the attorney said No, then do not do it now. Yes, you can do it later. No, as long as all the details are your and you have proof for the change, it should be fine.

  6. Kaushik

    Hi,
    My spouse recieved h4ead card today .Her name is AAA BBB but it was printed as AAA BB(i have heard there is a limit of 18 characters and my spouse name has 19 characters) .The last letter is truncated .Is it going to be an issue if she starts working ? Note : Her last name is blank so so First name appears as No Name given and surname as AAA BBB

  7. Malika

    Urgent- Please help-

    I am on J-2 dependent visa. I have only one name. On my passport, it is

    Given name: Malika
    Family name: (blank)

    On my DS 2019, it is :
    Given name: (blank)
    Family name: Malika

    On the visa stamp, it is:
    Given name:FNU
    Family name: Malika

    I want to apply for EAD (work authorization). How should I fill my name as in the form? Should I mention:

    Given name: (blank)
    Family name: Malika?

    Thank you,
    Malika

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Malika,
      You would fill it as
      Given Name : you may leave it blank or put in FNU, either should be fine.
      Family Name : Malika

      1. Himanshu

        Sir same issue here, i have only one name, that is ‘himanshu’. I don’t have any last name. Will i create problem in future visa application and aplying for liscence etc. Is not having a last name fine??

  8. Vikram Kumar

    Thank you Kumar, I really appreciate for providing inputs.

    I am one of big fans of your website, since I landed here I always go through with your blogs time to time.

    Thanks again!

    Be safe!!!

    Vikram

  9. Vikram

    Hi, I am also facing similar situation.

    I understand that for Name change I need to provide documents to Indian consulate newspaper clipping from India and USA – Since am residing in USA below are my questions.

    1. Can I provide online newspaper clipping? or they need newspaper clipping (physical printed copy)

    2. In order to post ad in Indian newspaper I checked online it requires affidavit with parent signatures (and most probably we need to be there for notary) as we are residing here then how to achieve this ?

    3. Ad should be posted 30 days old minimum?

    4. If name is changed successfully in Passport, what about Birth Certificate document which was issues in India (I understand this is off topic but it would be great if someone can answer or having any idea on this).

    Thanks for in advance!

    Best Regards,

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Vikram,
      1. As long as it appeared on physical news paper, it should be fine. I am not sure, if they really need the exact copy or scan copy. You can ask the news agency to send you a copy…
      2,3, :I suggest you write to Indian consulate and get this clarified as some of these are tough to get and requirements maybe different.
      4. You need get that sorted out as well. I have no idea…check with Birt Certs office too.
      It is a painful process, but important for future…

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