My old passport has a valid US visa. The surname and given name were interchanged in the visa, but I travelled with these documents to the USA 4 years ago. Since the old passport is expired now, I got a new one, but the new passport entry for the name combines the surname and given name together in a single line as given name. Can I travel to USA under this condition carrying both the passports?

  • Are you saying your passport has both surname and given name list on the same line in the information section. Or are you referring to the bottom machine readable section where they share a line with > separating each item? I thought international standards required separating the two.
    – user13044
    Jul 29 '14 at 18:36

I am not 100% sure if I understand you correctly, so let me recapture:

  • You have a valid U.S. visa, but the surname and given name appear are transposed
  • Your visa is in your old passport
  • In your new passport, the surname and given name are combined into your given name, and the surname remains blank

If this is the case, you should (please thoroughly read below) be able to travel to the U.S. with these documents, as can indicated by these sources:

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 afterwards


My old passport has already expired. My visa to travel to the United States is still valid but in my expired passport. Do I need to apply for a new visa with my new passport?

No. If your visa is still valid you can travel to the United States with your two passports, as long as the visa is valid, not damaged, and is the appropriate type of visa required for your principal purpose of travel. (Example: tourist visa, when your principal purpose of travel is tourism). Both passports (the valid and the expired one with the visa) should be from the same country and type (Example: both Uruguayan regular passports, both official passports, etc.).


This being said, ultimately, the decision to be admitted into the U.S. lies with the CBP (=Customs and Border Protection) officer at your point of entry, and you may want to temper with your chances as little as possible.

As you can see from the first link, having a blank surname in your passport can set you up for all kinds of delays and hiccups when doing official business (government agencies, banks, ...).

Therefore, I would suggest to get your passport fixed while still in your home country, and then have your visa information corrected at the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) while you are in the U.S. if your stay requires you to get a Social Security Number or driver's license etc.

P.S.: One thing to keep in mind – the expiry date on your visa is not a sufficient measure for validity of your visa or your length of stay, as stated on the state department's website:

The admitted-until date or D/S notation, shown on your admission stamp or paper Form I-94 is the official record of your authorized length of stay in the United States. You cannot use the visa expiration date in determining or referring to your permitted length of stay in the United States.


My J1 visa allows me to work as an intern in the U.S. and my visa expiration date is the end of the year. The period for which I am allowed to stay, however, is determined by the DS2019. If, for whatever reason, my internship is terminated tomorrow, this will also revoke my authorization to stay in the U.S. and I will have to leave the country within a certain grace period.

  • "P.S.: One thing to keep in mind – the expiry date on your visa does not necessarily mean that the visa is still valid, as stated on the state department's website:" That quote is completely different from what you're saying. That quote is about the difference between a visa (which is only for entry to the U.S.) and status (which is only for staying in the U.S. You can stay if you have a valid status, even if you don't have a valid visa; and conversely, you cannot stay if you don't have valid status, even if you have a valid visa.
    – user102008
    Jul 30 '14 at 0:35
  • ... But that is completely different from "the expiry date on your visa does not necessarily mean that the visa is still valid", which is about the difference between when the visa expires and whether the visa is valid or not (i.e. whether it is useful for getting entry or not). It is always true that an unexpired visa does not guarantee admission to the U.S., and certain things will make a visa effectively unusable for getting entry. But that quote is not about that.
    – user102008
    Jul 30 '14 at 0:37
  • "my J1 visa allows me to work as an intern in the U.S. and my visa expiration date is the end of the year." Your visa expiration date has NOTHING to do with how long you can stay in the U.S. That is determined by your status. The visa expiration date is the last day that you can use the visa to enter. How long you can stay is determined by the officer when you enter, and is completely unrelated to the visa.
    – user102008
    Jul 30 '14 at 0:39
  • You are correct, I will rephrase. We mean the same thing – just because the visa expiry date is still in the future, this does not warrant admission (well, to be exact, nothing warrants admission). Take student visas – if a student drops out of school, he will not be re-admitted into the U.S., and he will have to leave rather immediately, no matter what the CBP put down initially, as he has violated the terms of his status.
    – hko
    Jul 30 '14 at 21:06

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