4

When I applied for my ESTA I used the "Upload your passport" feature on the esta.cbp.dhs.gov applicant form. According to the help page it says:

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE NEW “UPLOAD YOUR PASSPORT” FEATURE? CBP has upgraded the ESTA website to allow applicants to capture an image or upload a picture of their passport’s Machine Readable Zone (MRZ) to aid in the completion of the applicant’s biographic information. By selecting “Upload Your Passport” and capturing or uploading a picture of your passport’s MRZ at the bottom of your passport’s biographic page, the ESTA website will auto populate your first and last name, date of birth and passport number into your ESTA application.

WHAT IS THE BENEFIT OF UPLOADING A PHOTOGRAPH OF THE MACHINE READABLE ZONE ON MY PASSPORT? Using the “Upload Your Passport” feature will ensure your biographic information is uploaded as it appears on your passport, minimizing data entry errors. Data entry errors could potentially delay the processing of your ESTA application.

So I used the information the feature auto populated and trusted the information it provided. I filled in the rest of the applicant form and got my ESTA approved.

But now sombody told me that the ESTA should only include the "First (Given) Name" but the feature added both of my first names from my passport.

Question: My concern is, do I need to reapply for a new ESTA with only first (given) name, or is it OK to have both of the names on the ESTA as they are on my passport.

  • They do match but in my passport I have two given names, eg. "Mark Steve". And the "Upload your passport" feature auto populated the "First (Given) Name" field in the ESTA application form with both of the names. Somebody told me that it should only be the first name "Mark". Also it seems that the help text for the "First (Given) Name" field says "In the First (Given) Name field, enter your first (given) name as the first name appears on your passport under the First or Given Name field. Do not include the middle name in this field. ...." – Mark Apr 17 '18 at 19:18
  • Can you move the middle name into the middle name field? The problem arises from the fact that the ICAO standard for machine-readable travel documents defines names as a two-part entity comprising a "primary identifier" and a "secondary identifier." The former is mapped to the last or family name while the second is mapped to the first or given name. – phoog Apr 18 '18 at 14:17
8

But now som(e)body told me that the ESTA should only include the "First (Given) Name" but the feature added both of my first names from my passport.

Somebody is Nobody. You followed ESTA website's advice and did exactly what they asked for. They picked up your complete name. If only 1 first name was a compulsion they would have known and enforced. In any case, it is better to have your complete name showing in both your passport and your travel authorization than to have 2 different names because of some naming conventions.

So I used the information the feature auto populated and trusted the information it provided. I filled in the rest of the applicant form and got my ESTA approved.

As you have already noted, their website says :

Using the “Upload Your Passport” feature will ensure your biographic information is uploaded as it appears on your passport, minimizing data entry errors.

Then it is their system's headache to ensure that the uploaded information confirms to their format, if it doesn't it should generate an error.

I'm not saying you go ahead and argue with them about it but that if this specific thing creates any issue at the port of entry you can explain that you used the feature as suggested by the website and did not make any changes to the personal information after it was automatically scanned by the website.

The information from the passport that the website picked up is the same information that their scanners will pick up at the port of entry, and everything will match.

You're good. Enjoy your trip. I foresee no issues at all.

  • What about the help text: "Do not include the middle name in this field"? – phoog Apr 18 '18 at 14:15
  • @phoog if there are 2 words that make up the first name of someone on their passport it’s still just first name. It’s not first and middle together. That’s what the scanner also picked up. OP’s passport has 2 words for first name field. I believe it’s perfectly fine. – Hanky Panky Apr 18 '18 at 14:18
  • 1
    @BritishSam on all passports, first and middle names are together, at least in the machine readable zone, because the ICAO standard that dictates the layout of the machine readable zone mandates this. – phoog Apr 18 '18 at 19:39
  • 1
    @phoog so the upload system must know about that surely? – BritishSam Apr 19 '18 at 9:08
  • 1
    @BritishSam I would have thought so, but the existence of this question seems to imply that either the implementers of the system or the creators of the help text did not understand the situation fully. – phoog Apr 19 '18 at 20:56

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.