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

In Immigration| Visas by Kumar359 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 on FNU

Here is an example :

In your passport à

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.

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

Related Articles


Comments ( 359 )

  1. TS

    Hi I have a different visa category bit i am hoping to get clarification by you guys. I will appreciate it.

    I have applied for k1 visa and i am done with my medical. However i noticed the FNU written before my name on the NVC letter that i received so therefore i have not scheduled a visa interview at the embassy yet.

    I am thinking of splitting my name before i schedule the visa interview.

    My entire name is written in given name column and Surname is blank in my passport.

    Also i recently got my medical done so do i have to get the medical done again with new passport details.. as passport number will change when i get my name fixed..??

    Please help..

    If yes then… then can i just leave it as it is on my passport and travel to US and get my FNU problem fixed in USA as discussed above in the article

    Which will be better option? Getting correction done here in India or US?

    Please reply
    Thank you so much

  2. Prasad

    You need not get your name corrected for this problem. I got SSN, Bank Account, State ID, DMV etc without having to get my name changed or corrected in my Passport although my First Name was FNU in my US VISA.
    Check this link for more details :
    http://firstusvisit.blogspot.com/

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Prasad,
      While you can get many of these stuff done with FNU in your passport, it is always not the ideal thing to have on your passport. Having proper surname gives you proper identity. Just imagine someone has FNU for last name and have same first name as you in context of security clearance — That could get tricky with security screenings, etc. It is better to have your documents corrected with proper last name. Of course, it is your discretion !

  3. syeda

    hello
    I had my interview on 10th october .I had applied for F1 visa and got my visa approved but they have misprinted the visa type as BI /B2 intead of F1 . I had sumbitted all my documents to Consulate for visa correction . how long it usually takes . will I have to give a interview again ?

  4. Sudarshan

    Hi All ,

    Needed help . I hold an Indian Passport with a valid US – B1/B2

    In my passport

    Surname is null
    Given Name is present

    In US visa B1/B2

    Surname – Present
    Given Name FNU

    I need to apply for a new passport as old one is expiring. Along with it want to give my correct by given name & surname in passport ,what implication will it have on valid US visa?

    Could you please help me with my query?

  5. Ghayasuddin Mohammed

    Hello Everyone,
    I have been through the same problem but now I fixed my Indian passport and moving forward for the correction of i-94 and sevis number on i-20. I wanted to get information on how can we change or update the f-1 visa with correct name, I tried reaching everyone but none has the answer on correcting name on f-1 visa. Please, provide me an information if you know the process of updating name on f-1 visa because I am worried that this may cause problem in opt.

    Thanks,

    Regards,
    Ghayasuddin Mohammed
    +1 313 358 5331

  6. Shama

    Hi,
    My name is Shama Anjum. My passport has blank surname and given name: Shama Anjum. I came to US in 2015.
    My US visa, DMV license have First name:FNU LastName: Shama Anjum
    I did not face any issues with travel or SSN or Driver’s license till now.
    I am planning to take GRE. Will I be restricted to take the test with surname: blank in passport? Do I need to add my surname to passport before taking my test?
    Need suggestion.
    Thanks,
    Shama.

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Shama,
      It is better to get these documents corrected. Your GRE will be valid for 5 years, so it is good to get it corrected before you even apply. I would start with fixing the passport first and then visa, then GRE application. It can be painful process, but you need to fix these at somepoint.

  7. Chithra

    Hi,
    Did anyone use the dropbox facility to get your visa corrected in India recently? If so, could you please tell me how long it took for you to get your passport back with visa stamped after submitting your documents? This would help me to plan my travel accordingly. Appreciate the help.

    1. Arjun

      Thank you for your revert on my post. I am now interested in getting more info on this particular process because even I plan on going back to India and getting my Visa corrected.

      Can you please forward me any information you receive on this.
      My contact details are:
      [email protected]

      If possible, can you share your email ID, if I find something regarding this I shall forward it to you as well.

  8. Yashmita

    Hi,

    On my passport, surname is blank and given name is Yashmita. I’ve got admitted in a university in US. I have received my I-20 with surname as Yashmita and given name blank. Now, I’m in the process of applying for study visa with all my documents carrying this name. Can I change my name to Yashmita Bhalla on passport by getting my last name added as “Bhalla” at this stage? I’m scared that the change will conflict with my I-20 as at the time of issuance of I-20, my passport had Yashmita on it and when I will go for visa interview, it will have Yashmita Bhalla and I-20 will bear Yashmita. What to do at this stage? Please suggest.

  9. PM

    My parents just received their US travel visa and have booked tickets to visit us June end this year. My mom’s passport has her given name as “Radha Harindran” and Surname blank. In her visa it is FNU under Given name and surname is “Radha Harindran.”

    Since they are only visiting, my concern is whether there would be issues with entry or issues during their travels due to this. Would there be any problems in this regard?

    1. Patralekh Satyam

      Hey PM,

      Your parents will have no issues visiting USA. Having FNU as first name and given name on passport as the Last Name on VISA is a known and valid scenario. I have it on my passport and I have visited USA on business visa and on H1B several times without any issue.

      Thanks & Regards,
      Patralekh Satyam

      1. Arjun

        Patralekh,

        Quick question, so despite having the FNU on your visa, did you ever get your name corrected on your passport, or renewed it with correct credentials. If so, then were you able to still travel back and forth with
        Visa having FNU
        passport now having correct credentials.

        This would clear a lot of my confusion.

        Regards,
        Arjun

  10. Chithra

    Hi,
    I’m in the US on my L2 visa and am facing the same FNU issue. My visa and I-94 has FNU as my given name since I didn’t have a surname in my passport. I got my passport corrected now by splitting my name into first and surnames. Then I took an Infopass appointment to see a USCIS official to get my visa updated. But she told me they cannot do that. I’ll have to get it done in India itself, she said. I checked with a CBP officer later regarding the I-94 correction but he said unless the visa gets fixed they cannot correct the I-94 either. In your article it is mentioned, the system can be updated by visiting USCIS. Unfortunately, that didn’t work for me. Do you have any suggestion on how I can get this done in the US itself instead of travelling to India?

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Chithra,
      Sorry to hear that it did not work. I will update the article. It used to be possible as per users’ experiences shared with us. Well, I cannot think of anything else, you have tried USCIS and CBP. I guess you will have leave the country and get new stamping done either via dropbox or in person appointment. You may try writing to consulates in Mexico or Canada and get feedback, if it can be done without going to India.

      1. Chithra

        Hi, Thanks for your reply! I would like to have one clarification though. In your article, it is mentioned they’ve updated the system with your correct name when you visited USCIS. Can you please tell me how exactly that was done? Did they reissue your visa?

        1. Arjun

          Hello,

          This is regarding your condition. I recently went through the same situation. Even I had my passport corrected but unfortunately I have not been able to get my VISA and the I-94 fixed via USCIS/ CBP. I am a student with F-1 visa status. This issue is for all visa types and apparently they suggested to get the VISA fixed first.

          Did you manage to resolve the situation to get the VISA or the I-94 updated or were you able to find any other way around it ? Did you go back to India to get it fixed ?

          Please you can also reach me at “[email protected]”.
          Your and everyone’s help would be greatly appreciated.

          Thanks,
          Arjun

          1. Chithra

            Hi,
            I’m planning to go back by the end of this year and get the visa corrected. If you only want to correct the name in your state IDs, a court order would suffice (as per some blogs). But ‘FNU’ in visa and I-94 will still remain. The link below has details regarding visa correction process in India, dropbox facility etc. Hope this helps.
            http://www.ustraveldocs.com/in/in-niv-visarenew.asp#qualifications

        2. SK

          HI Chitra,

          Just want to check with you. Did you leave India to get your visa amd I 94 corrected.

          OR

          Can we do the change staying within US. Thanks.

        3. Varun

          Hi Chithra, Kumar,

          I too am in a similar situation.
          My passport was corrected a week ago. However my employer mentioned its impossible to correct the visa. However, to correct i94, my employer asked me to step out & step in to US with new passport. Wanted to understand how you are dealing with this presently. Please share if you found any leads to update your legal immigration documents.

    2. varun kumar

      Dear chitra ,
      I am on F1 visa and on opt .I am confused seeing ur case should u go name bifurcation becasue as u were saying my I94 cant get corrected and I have to move back to india for this .Can u tell what should be done in this case

    3. Anju

      Hi ,
      I’m also facing the same problem. I corrected my passport and visited USCIS and CBP they both said they can’t update. To update the I94 Visa should be updated. Is any one travelled to India ? And if the issue is resolved please update.

  11. Prabjit

    Hey guys !
    I don’t have a surname( actually I do but not on any documents )
    I have my name as on visa as
    Given name : FNU
    Surname : P******
    I came to USA with my visitor visa and got my visa changed and extended to F1 student visa , and now I wanted to get my driving license but I had to get my SSN before getting it .. but SS people said that I can’t get it cause of my name … as I don’t have a first name (FNU) and my last name is P*****
    So what I’m suppose to do ? How can I get my name changed on all the documents ?

  12. Balram Yadav

    I have Given Name in my passport as ‘Balram’ and in US VISA Given Name as ‘FNU’ and Last name as ‘BALRAM’.

    what is the process to add surname in passport.

    1. Jeff

      Step 1: you need to get a new passport with the surname.

      Step 2:use that passport an apply for a new visa. You will have to fill a new application form. You can probably use the Dropbox facility.

      This is what I did to remove FNU from my visa.

      1. Arjun

        Hey Jeff,

        A few questions regarding this process.

        When you say Dropbox option, can you explain it a bit here. It might help others aswell. The reason Why I ask is because, I got my passport corrected here in the U.S, now i need to understand how to get the visa re-stamping.

        So do I have to go through the same process, i.e first the OFC and then this dropbox option.

        And what all documents are required for this Dropbox Option and do we need to fix any appointment for this.

        And lastly, when you were traveling, did this new visa create any issues at the port of entry.

        I would really grateful to you for your support. You can also send me a revert on [email protected]

      2. mvrls rao

        Mr. jeff
        I too have the same problem of FNU in US F1 visa. i want to apply for new passport with name bifurcation. after getting the new passport what i have to do. please inform me. i have only 25 days more to go to US.
        please e mail to me personally my email is [email protected] or call me at 9440090834

  13. Sk

    Hi, Admin

    I don’t have last name/surname printed in my Indian Passport. I have my full name printed as given/first name. In 2015, I visited United States on J-1 visa and naturally I was having FNU as my first name and full name printed as last name in my visa.

    My name in passport like Given name SK ABC XYZ
    In my J-1 visa it was printed like this First name : FNU
    Last name : SK ABC XYZ
    Though I had some initial problem when opening a bank account, bank employees were confused and denied me opening an account. But I was later able to open an account in a different bank. I also have got my Social Security Card with same naming information as printed on my visa.

    First name : FNU
    Last name : SK ABC XYZ

    Then I came back to India. I have been accepted as a PhD student for this Fall(Fall’17).I am planning to apply again for F-1 Visa. But I am thinking to correct my passport before I apply for visa again.

    If I change my particulars on my passport, then I am planning to keep first two words (SK ABC) as my first name and XYZ as my last name. After making this correction, if I apply for F-1 visa, do I have to face any problem, given that I have already one previous visa(J-1) stamped with FNU.

    If I apply for US visa simply putting my first name (SK ABC) and last name(XYZ) in DS-160 form, instead of correcting my passport, will it be a right and legal choice ?

    Thanks
    Sk

  14. SK

    Dear Admin,

    I’m staying in US and this is my 2nd extension and I do have the same FNU issue on Visa. I have a question I would like to clarify with you.

    My name on docs are ABC XYZ

    ABC is my family name which is first in all my documents.

    My question to you is when I do name splitting in passport what should I give as surname. Ideally ABC is my surname, if I give this then my Visa will be XYZ ABC which will not match educational documents.

    Please admin help me out or any guys can reply with their similar experience

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      SK,

      I would suggest keeping first name as XYZ and last name as ABC. Education documents can continue to have ABC XYZ and I don’t think it will have much impact.

      Most of the systems ask if you have ever been known by a different name. You can mention the old name in that field. Also check this w/ your H-1 attorney.

  15. Nandi

    Hi ,
    Can anyone guide me in this issue.

    I will explain it in detail ,I am Nandi Prabu,living here United States in H4 Visa
    my husband is in H1B visa with I 140 approved.
    Our current extension ends in Dec 2017,we are planning to go vacation to India in May month

    My concern is my old passport got expired in Last year and the problem in the passport is my Given name was typed as Nandi Prabu and Surname was blank.So accordingly all my visa stamping and other documents updated as last name as Nandi Prabu and first name as unknown.

    So when I applied for the new passport in last year,I corrected this mistake by mentioning proper first name and last name, but my concern is when I am going for vacation to India ,planning to get this corrected by going for visa stamping with the new passport,I am worried of my visa stamping,will this be easy to handle in visa stamping and following port of entry,I just want to know how to handle this or do I need any other documents to visa stamping ? Please advise

  16. SK

    Dear Admin,

    I’m staying in US and this is my 2nd extension and I do have the same FNU issue on Visa. I have a question I would like to clarify with you.

    My name on docs are ABC XYZ

    ABC is my family name which is first in all my documents.

    My question to you is when I do name splitting in passport what should I give as surname. Ideally ABC is my surname, if I give this then my Visa will be XYZ ABC which will not match educational documents.

    Please admin help me out or any guys can reply with their similar experience.

  17. Blore Boy

    Dear Admin,

    I’m staying in US and this is my 2nd extension and I do have the same FNU issue on Visa. I have a question I would like to clarify with you.

    My name on docs are ABC XYZ

    ABC is my family name which is first in all my documents.

    My question to you is when I do name splitting in passport what should I give as surname. Ideally ABC is my surname, if I give this then my Visa will be XYZ ABC which will not match educational documents.

    Please admin help me out or any guys can rely with their similar experience.

    1. Ansh

      Hi, I’ve recently gone through similar situation for my father and will share our experience in detail. This should definitely help.

      2nd week of Feb2017
      Location – New Delhi, India

      o My Father had First Name = XXXX but no last name in his Indian Passport and applied for USA B2 Visa.
      o His DS160 Form had First Name = XXXX, Last Name = LNU and booked the appointment. This was incorrect.
      o On the day of OFC Appointment (Finger printing/Photo), Officer did not accept it because we filled up ‘LNU’ in the last name.
      o They confirmed that correct way is to fill up First Name = FNU, Last Name = XXXX on the DS160. He asked to correct it and then come back.
      o My Father came out of OFC center and I immediately filled up new DS160 form (since was not able to edit existing DS160 once its submitted) as suggested i.e. First Name = FNU, Last Name = XXXX. I submitted it online and then took the print out of this new DS160 confirmation page from an internet café outside.
      o After 2 hours around, my father again went inside OFC office with new DS160 confirmation page and asked officer to replace the old DS160 number from the new DS160 number. He did the same and then OFC was completed successfully.
      o Next day was Actual Visa interview in New Delhi Consulate, and it went successfully and Visa was approved and we received passport in 3 days.
      o Issued Visa had First Name = FNU, Last Name = XXXX.

      Therefore, for people who have last name blank in their Passport – put your First Name in the Last name while filling DS160 and In the first name just put FNU. Later we also found it on USTraveldocs site http://www.ustraveldocs.com/in/in-gen-faq.asp#qlistgen18

      Additionally, There seems to be just one visa category ‘B1/B2’ given regardless you choose B1 or B2 or B1/B2 while filling DS160. We selected Visa Category = ‘B2’ while filling up DS160, But were given “B1/B2” Visa on the passport.

      Hope this helps, All the best!

      – Ansh

        1. sameer

          I have got DS 2019 form where my given name and surname are seperately with that i paid sevis fee and my DS 160 or visa fee but then i realised that i dont have any surname in my passport. I have my visa appointment on 1 july. Will this create any problem. If yes how can i correct it. Please help it urgent.

  18. Ufaq

    My name is Ufaq Raheem. I’m travelling to USA next year as a F2/J2. But I am keen on getting my first name changed as my Turkish origin name is tricky to pronounce. My engineering college certificates, wedding certificate (nikah nama) and every possible document has old name.
    Kindly advice if it’s advisable to take up this name change ? Will it result in visa or immigration complications?
    Thanks in advance .

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Ufaq,
      I really do not think, you should change any name. It will create more complications for you if you try to change now. You can always use a nick name. Many of the Asians use a nick name, that should work fine.

  19. Parneet

    I just got my F1 visa stamped.
    My last name is blank on passport but on visa they didn’t mention FNU as my given name instead they split my name.
    On passport:
    Given name- P**** K***
    Surname- blank
    On visa:
    Given Name- P****
    Surname- K***

    I asked ustraveldocs about the same and they said visa is correct as per US laws. Until now they used to put FNU for those with blank surname field.

    Would there be any issue at POE with this mismatch in name on passport and visa. My i20 has blank first name and my full name in last name field.

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Parneet,
      I am not sure, if rules have changed now. Usually, it would say FNU in the first name field, if the surname is blank on passport. I suggest you write to the US embassy email address and have a written confirmation on the same and carry that along with you to PoE, to avoid any issues.

    2. Sukhvinder Singh

      Dear Parneet,

      I also have the same problem as you have mentioned. Did you receive any confirmation from the US embassy?

      Thanks

      Regards
      Sukhvinder

    3. Manpreet

      Hi Parneet,

      I have got same issue for my wife, We got our VISA stamped recently, She also does not have her last name on Passport
      it is like
      P***** K***** as given name on passport
      “blank” surname in passport

      but on VISA, it is like
      P**** as first name
      K**** as surname.

      I have written an email to US travel docs and waiting for their reply.
      Did you get any update from them.

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