I am a Singaporean(Indian origin). My Singapore passport and IC shows my Name as FirstName S/O LastName. There is no separate first and last name in passport or IC, its printed as:

Example Name: Hari S/O Kumar
Machine Readable Zone from 6th character: HARI<SO<KUMAR

I recently received my US non immigration visa. In the US visa page my name is listed as:

GivenName: FNU 
Surname: Hari

I did traveled to US as a tourist previously(last year) under US visa waiver program(had ESTA). My I-94 record for it shows my name correctly as follows:

GivenName: Hari
Surname: Kumar

Will this naming in US visa stamping page cause problem while I enter US? or will it cause issue when I apply for SSC and Driving License.

My flights are in 2 weeks time. What are my best course of action to resolve this, if this is a issue? If the US embassy asks for proof of my first name and last name to perform this change, what should I show because name mentioned in my passport and IC doesn't mention first and last name separately.

  • 2
    How is your name shown in the machine readable zone? That is the area with two lines of text in a distinctive font at the bottom of the page bearing your photograph and other identifying data. Your name should start at position six and be no more than 39 characters long. Also, did you have ESTA authorization last year?
    – phoog
    Jul 16 '18 at 18:18
  • Yes, I did have ESTA authorization last year. Machine Readable zone in passport from 6th character: HARI<SO<KUMAR Machine Readable Zone in US Visa page from 6th char: HARI<<FNU
    – ratbaby
    Jul 16 '18 at 18:27
  • 1
    Did the markdown eat some of your characters? You can prevent that by enclosing them in backticks (`). For example, I would expect the MRZ in your visa to read HARI<SO<KUMAR<<FNU.
    – phoog
    Jul 16 '18 at 18:33

Here is the reply from US embassy.

Please be informed that for names that appear with ‘s/o’and ‘d/o’, their names before ‘s/o’and ‘d/o’ is written as Surname and their Given name is FNU-First name Unknown. Visas cannot be issued with ‘s/o’and ‘d/o’, according to our naming policy. There is no error in the visa issued and there is no amendments needed.

They assign this naming convention on a daily basis to many people from Singapore Indian origin. It will be fine and there wont be any amendment to it.

I did get an email from US embassy explaining the same.

  • 2
    At least they gave a clear answer. Hope it works. Let us know how it goes with SSN and driver's license once you get to Virginia.
    – krubo
    Jul 17 '18 at 22:17

You mentioned Social Security and Driver's License. Your results will depend not only on your passport and visa, but also on other factors. What kind of visa is it, what other official migration documents do you have (like I-20 for F-1, DS-2019 for J-1, etc.), and what state are you applying for Driver's License in?

In general, both Social Security and Driver's License offices expect your name to be identical on all official documents including passport, current visa, current I-94, and other current official migration documents. This can be a problem for passports that don't separate surname from given name. But the problem is less likely if the documents are close to matching. It would actually be ideal to get a passport that separates surname from given name before applying for the visa. But at least you should try to get the visa to show the same names as the passport.

(FNU stands for First Name Unknown. It is sometimes put on visas especially if the person has only one name. This isn't necessarily a problem. But it is sometimes then copied onto I-94, Social Security and Driver's License, which can be a problem.)

  • I am in L1 Visa and moving to Virginia.
    – ratbaby
    Jul 17 '18 at 2:05
  • With the advent of Real ID, an I-94 is indeed necessary for a driver's license, at least in some states.
    – phoog
    Jul 17 '18 at 2:07
  • @phoog I see that was unclear, I meant only the new I-94 will be needed. Edited to clarify.
    – krubo
    Jul 17 '18 at 2:20
  • @ratbaby I believe for consular L1 you should also have Form I-797B with the identical name. Also ask your company's lawyer about this.
    – krubo
    Jul 17 '18 at 2:25
  • Doesn't any I-94 replace any previous I-94? Earlier I-94s may be valuable as evidence of past compliance, but they have no bearing on current immigration status.
    – phoog
    Jul 17 '18 at 2:29

I suspect that the name is shown in your I-94 record just as you entered it on your ESTA application. This also differs from the way it is encoded in your passport.

The ICAO standard specifies that the name in the machine readable zone be broken into two parts, where it is possible. The first part is the "primary identifier," which corresponds to the US "last name," while the second part is the "secondary identifier," corresponding to the US first and middle names. (The last name is also known as a surname or family name, and the first and middle names are also known together as given names.)

Any spaces or characters other than letters are either omitted or indicated with the specified filler character, which is the less-than sign (<). The primary and secondary identifiers are separated by two filler characters.

In a comment, you give this for your MRZ:


The name that would match your ESTA record, however, is


So you can see that you've already entered the US with a mismatched name.

There's a lot of confusion in the US with Asian naming conventions. There's even confusion with some European naming conventions. Having the various parts of your name distributed differently in your passport and visa is unlikely to pose a problem. They must see things like this on a daily basis.

If I were you, I would not try to get them to put your first and last name on the visa "properly," but I would point out to them that they have not copied your entire name from your passport. It seems reasonable to expect that your visa should reflect the passport by including the entire name given in the passport as your "last name":


But if they don't seem happy with that request, I would leave it. Since the name on the visa is what US officials came up with when they were given your passport, another US official ought to accept the name on the visa when given your passport.

  • Thanks a lot sir. I will contact embassy later today with an email requesting as you said and see
    – ratbaby
    Jul 16 '18 at 19:09

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