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My name consists of just a first name and no surname.

Will there be a problem regarding my name in the country I visit with a tourist or employment visa? Are there countries in the world where this might be a problem?

  • 6
    Do you have a particular country (or several) in mind? Otherwise, your question is too broad and cannot be reasonably answered. – mindcorrosive Aug 27 '13 at 18:38
  • 2
    Actually I think this is a peculiar enough problem that it's not really as broad as it might seem. I doubt it will be a problem but you might need to explain the situation. Is it normal in your country/culture? May we ask where you're from? – hippietrail Aug 27 '13 at 19:24
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    How does it appear on your passport ? – happybuddha Aug 27 '13 at 19:47
  • 1
    Variations in what is used to identify a person varies actually quite a lot between countries and cultures. The number of names is one issue, date of birth and place of birth are two other criteria often used, but perhaps unknown to people coming from other countries. – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo Aug 28 '13 at 12:49
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    Well, at least one person has a problem getting a passport when not having a surname: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constantine_II_of_Greece#Later_life > A law passed in 1994 stripped him of his Greek citizenship, passport, > and property. The law stated that Constantine could not be granted a > Greek passport unless he adopted a surname. – user102008 Sep 17 '13 at 0:33
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Short answer is none, you'll be able to apply for visas and enter anywhere, although it may require some explaining. Here's the US Consulate in Chennai (which presumably deals with this all the time) as an example, and a random sample visa from an Indonesian lady:

enter image description here

Single names are quite common in eg. southern India, Indonesia and Mongolia, and thus embassy staff are reasonably used to dealing with them; a single-named Indonesian friend of mine had more problems dealing with smaller bureaucracies like (in the US) library cards, university IDs, etc. She usually ended up duplicating her name or creating a fake initial: "H Henny", "Henny Henny", etc.

  • I assume "FNU" means "field not used" in the example? – O. R. Mapper Sep 18 '16 at 7:18
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    "First Name Unknown". – jpatokal Sep 18 '16 at 8:58
  • An Indonesian professor at the university where I did my undergraduate degree was listed in the computer system, and therefore the course catalogue, with the first name "Mr." – phoog Mar 14 at 17:42
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The following is US specific, but I think this is followed the world over. If you ever got to apply for a US visa and in case you don't have a first name or a last name, the US consulate will consider your entire name as your last name and mention FNU (First Name unavailable) in the first name field. It should not cause any problem as it seems to be a pretty common occurrence in South Indian names.

source

  • 1
    What's the provision for this kind of issues in European countries especially in UK, Spain and Germany? – Harsh Aug 28 '13 at 4:37
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    So what if someone's first name is actually "FNU"? – Tobias Kienzler Aug 28 '13 at 7:53
  • @Harsh I believe there should be no problem as in most cases the first name will be inserted in the last name field or vice versa (if that country is not using FNU/LNU). I would highly recommend you to call the embassy of the country you wish to travel to and confirm. – happybuddha Aug 28 '13 at 13:41
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I had a related problem in Germany - I carry an Indonesian passport, which in the past did not distinguish between first and last names (precisely because many Indonesians do not have both).

No problem with the local German consulate, which understands the situation. But when I did my registration at the local town hall, the official insisted that because he could not reliably determine what my surname is (wouldn't take my word for it), I ended up with + as my first name - equivalent to FNU - and three names in the last name field

  • 1
    Well it's all good as long as there are workarounds. – Aditya M P Nov 17 '15 at 11:27

protected by phoog Feb 12 '17 at 6:19

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