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

We have recently published information on applying for an Indian Passport.  Some of the unlucky ones, who applied for passports prior to the full online system, may have got their passport with their surname blank in the passport. This could be a clerical or system error, but it can cost you a lot in the future, if not corrected. This article will focus on the common issues around this ‘blank surname’ problem in America and solutions 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 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 a Blank Surname or Given Name in your passport, and if you do not get it fixed, the US consulate will issue your US Visa with the existing name in your passport as the Last Name in US visa and the first name field will be written as FNU. It is a common practice in the US immigration system to use FNU as the first name in such instances.  Check US Embassy Website FAQs for FNU

Below are couple of examples :

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 the US with a blank First name or blank Surname in your passport, but your life gets tough afterward. You will face issues in places like DMV, when you try to get a Driving License or at the SSA office, when you try to apply for a Social Security Number ( SSN). 

Many US government officials may not be aware of what it means ‘FNU’. They will always try to verify your documents against your Passport and other identity verification documents…Unfortunately, there will be a 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 a 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 name 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 the name change.   It is fairly straightforward.  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 on 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 the Passport fixed with the correct Surname and Given Name

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

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 splitting 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 the 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. 
  • Changes in Processes: Also, there are continuous process changes and it may or may not work as there may be need to publish the name in Gazette and then have it updated. So, always check with the Indian Embassy to ensure, what works best. 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 the consulate and you will need to follow their instructions.
    • You will need to publish an Ad in a reputed US newspaper 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 a reputed Indian News paper regarding your name change and submit the newspaper clipping to the Indian consulate with supporting documents.  Check with the 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.

How to Get your US Immigration Documents Corrected.

After you get your name corrected in your 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 your passport.  You will be asked by an 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.

In 2017, one of our users reported that the CBP officer and USCIS appointment did not help with fixing the last name and they suggested going to their 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 the SSN office and get the SSN with the 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 an 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 a USCIS Officer or any of the US Embassy to clarify the current requirements.

Can I use US Visa Dropbox / Interview Waiver option, if I have to get a 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

507 Comments

  1. Hey Kumar .
    My passport is
    First name: Sonia Sunny
    Surname: blank

    Visa
    First name: FNU
    Last name : Sonia Sunny

    My i94, ssn has name fnu sonia sunny, so i decided to update my passport as fnu sonia sunny and got corrected from consulate general of india.
    But the new passport came with new number!!! now i have to update all the systems with new passport number ?
    I am soon going to apply for opt and ead and worrying if this would be an issue. Because i contacted CBP regarding correcting my i94 with new passport number and they said this cannot be done because no individual with this passport number has entered into USA.

    Can i update my passport number in SSN office?
    Worrying how all this will effect my ead card with USCIS and all opt processing.

    Please help
    Regards,
    Sonia Sunny.

    Reply
    • Sonia,
      I think you did a big mistake by changing your passport name to ‘fnu sonia sunny’. You should have really fixed it properly by changing it to ‘Sonia’ as first name and ‘Sunny’ as last name, or otherways, whichever is correct. FNU is not a name. I think you need to fix your passport first before you do anything. Yes, the number would change. Having blank is better than having FNU in passport. It is going to be slightly painful to get this corrected, but you have to get it done. Do one thing at a time. You may have to exit and re-enter the country to have the I-94 updated sometimes, so talk to an attorney. Do update here how it goes.

      Reply
  2. Hi ,

    I have a US b1/b2 visa with FNU,xxx xxx xxx as in my passport my entire name is in given name field and surname is blank . Now my passport is expired and I have to renew it . Should I add the surname portion to my passport ( it would be a split from the given name ) , would adding the surname cause an issue with my US b1/b2 visa ?

    Reply
    • Nik,
      It should not create issue as long as you carry both the passports at Port of entry. It is a common issue and better to get it fixed.

      Reply
  3. Hello All..
    Need some information regarding i94 Download..
    Passport Details:
    Given Name : XYZ ABC
    Surname : Blank

    Visa Details :
    Surname : XYZ ABC
    Given Name: FNU

    How can I download i194 form ?

    Reply
  4. Hello
    My mother lives in New Delhi India. Her B2 Visa expired in April 2017, she is planning a visit so she wants to apply for a new B2 Visa.

    Her name is Jane Doe (example) but often in India people write their names as D.Jane and so, her passport was issued as First Name = Doe and Last Name = Jane. Her TWO prior B2 Visas were issued as Doe Jane

    She made three visits in the last 25 years with no trouble.

    But last month the VAC in New Delhi has instructed her to fill out the DS-160 with First Name = FNU (First Name Unknown) Last Name = Jane. Have the rules changed? Why would they tell her that?
    Will it cause a problem with the Consulate? Will they disapprove her Visa if her prior Visas had a different First and last Name?
    Does anyone know?

    Thank you

    Reply
    • Owyhee,
      No, the rules have not changed. If her passport has first name as Doe, it should be Doe. Also, as per your example, her last name is different.
      If it was a mistake before, then fix it. FNU is only written for blank names. You should not just do anything just because someone has said so, it should be correct and logical.

      Reply
  5. Hi, my parents have a similar issue. Their old Indian passport had both first and last names in the place of first name and surname was blank. The B2 tourist visa that was issued has full name in surname and first name as FNU. Now they got their Indian passport renewed and it has name showing correctly (first name in place of first name and surname in place or surname). They were able to get names updated in passport based on aadhaar card and address proof, didn’t need to publish in newspaper etc.

    Can they travel to the US with new passport and existing valid visa in old passport with FNU? US consulate is not processing normal visa applications right now (only emergency travel) so we are in a bind and want to understand what is the risk of traveling with existing visa?

    Reply
    • Hi Najam ,

      Just wanted to know if there was no issue in travel ? I have the same issue and now my passport is expired so I am contemplating whether to add the surname field .

      Reply
  6. Hi,

    I have blank sur name in my passport and my F2 visa has FNU in it. After coming to US, I changed to H4 and I-797 also contains FNU in it. But I recently changed to F1 and my F1 approval and I-20 are issued on splitting my name without FNU. I got my drivers license and bank account also without FNU. Now all my documents except passport are good but Because there is a change in previous approvals and this F1 approval, will there be any issue next time when I travel to India? Also I will be applying to SSN soon, is it a good idea to correct passport before applying for that?

    Thanks,

    Reply
  7. Hi Kumar,

    The information provided is very insightful. Thank you very much.

    Do you know of any attorney’s handles these kind of cases? if you have any references please provide.

    Reply
  8. Hi Kumar,

    I have the same issue of incorrect name
    First Name: FNU
    Last Name: Praveen Shetty
    I have maintained the same name in my DL , SSN….

    I got my H1B extension approved few months ago but there is a difference:
    First Name : No Name Given
    Last Name: Praveen Shetty

    Now I am having issues getting my DL extended.

    I want to get rid of this mess and want to get it fixed permanently before green processing is started. Can you please suggest how to do it within US?

    Thanks
    Praveen

    Reply
  9. Hi – I had a L2 EAD with a FNU issue, last year my passport expired and i rectified my details and removed the issue with FNU , now i have received my GC Ead with another SSN .
    I have two SSN one with FNU and the other new one with my right details.
    What do i do , should i inform SSN this and should i also get a I9 verification done from my employer with my new SSN. I am also worried about my credit history will all that be erased.
    If someone has any insights here that would be great.

    Reply
  10. Hi, I have the same issue. My Surname is blank so I have FNU and LNU on all the documents including DMV, SSN and Visa. I need an attorney to discuss about this as my I140 is in process and my passport is going to expire soon. I need the info urgently.
    Waiting for the input.
    Regards,
    Rohit

    Reply
  11. Hi,
    I have the same issue of
    First Name: FNU
    Last Name: FirstName LastName
    I have issues getting my DL due to the inconsistency in SSN and I797.
    SSN has FNU and I797 has No Name Given.

    I have my H1B approved and I will visit India to get that Stamped in a few months.

    I want to know If I can get my Passport fixed with the Name bifurcated and then get the Stamp in India.
    If Updating passport and name update in USCIS in the USA is possible and will it affect my stamping when I travel to India.

    Thanks
    Shivank

    Reply
  12. Hi Kumar,

    I have an existing valid B1/B2 visa with First Name as “FNU” and last name as “Yamini Yuvaraj” as this was the case with my old passport having no surname. During my recent passport renewal, I have split my name – Given Name as “Yamini” and Surname as “Yuvaraj”.

    If I was to travel to the US with both my passports, would there be an issue? or can I still travel to the US with the existing B1/B2 visa?

    Thanks in advance
    Yamini

    Reply
    • Yamini,
      Well, it is grey area…Ideally, if your last name has changed, it is best to get your B2 visa renewed. This way you will be 100% sure. You maybe fine the other way too, but I do not know the implications…never heard of any cases. You may write to the consulate and CBP to get confirmation.

      Reply
    • Hi Yamini, my parents are also in the same situation. Did you travel to the US with the same old visa with FNU and did you face any challenges when during entry in the country?

      Reply
    • Hi Yamini, my parents are also in the same situation. Did you travel to USA with your existing visa with FNU? Did you face any challenges when entering the country?

      Reply
      • Hi Najam,

        My parents are currently in the exact same situation as you mentioned. Valid Visa in old passport has FNU, but new passport has correctly split name. Were your parents able to travel to USA with the existing visa?

        Reply
  13. 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.

    Reply
  14. 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.

    Reply
  15. 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

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  16. 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

    Reply
  17. 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?

    Reply
      • 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?

        Reply
        • 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?

          Reply
          • 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.

          • 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.

  18. 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

    Reply
  19. 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

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

      Reply
      • 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??

        Reply
  20. 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

    Reply
  21. 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,

    Reply
    • 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…

      Reply

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