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The given name listed in my passport is Johan Fredrik and family name is Nilsson, however the name "Johan" is never used in real life and Fredrik is the name I use for all purposes. Johan then is a middle name. The reason for this is that "Johan Fredrik" sounds better than "Fredrik Johan", I guess.

The ESTA form 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. "

The first name that appears under given name is "Johan", but that is in fact my middle name.

What should I write in this field? I want to be 100% guarenteed that I won't get stopped from traveling because of some idiotic detail.

The name Johan Fredrik Nilsson isn't my real name, I replaced the real name with dummy names.

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Tor-Einar's comment made me realize that I'd misunderstood the question. I can't find a direct FAQ for an ESTA, but I did find a statement about two first/given names on a page for an I-9 form. This is an immigration form, rather than a short-term visa form, but both are administered by USCIS.

If you have two first names (given names), include both.

That is, put both first names in the "first name" box. If you're filling out an electronic form and it wants a middle name as well, I would recommend that you write "NONE" or "NO MIDDLE NAME", but I wasn't able to find a reference for this. Only do that if the middle name field is required.

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    Both you and Fredrik are incorrect when talking about the middle name here. Naming laws can be very different, even between western countries. Assuming that he is from Sweden, the OP has (according to Swedish name law) two first names, no middle name and one last name. Since the ESTA guide assumes that the applicant has only one first name, it is not necessarily obvious how to enter two (or more) first names. What the OP calls himself (using the second first name) is of course completely irrelevant. – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo Feb 23 '15 at 0:14
  • So the name I should fill in is "Johan" in this case? – Mårten Feb 23 '15 at 7:55
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    Enter whatever is the first name listed on your passport. The first name is the given name. Your passport lists "Johan Fredrik" as your given name. That is what they want to see. – CGCampbell Feb 23 '15 at 19:07
  • @Tor-EinarJarnbjo: "What the OP calls himself (using the second first name) is of course completely irrelevant." - I am not sure where you take that from. While it does not necessarily apply to ESTA, I know various official forms that require you to highlight which one out of several first names is actually used to call you. Hence, the "of course" might be a bit strong in this case. – O. R. Mapper Feb 25 '15 at 11:16
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It seems to me that the instructions are unambiguous: "enter your first (given) name as the first name appears on your passport under the First or Given Name field."

You state that your passport lists your given names as "Johan Fredrik." The first name appearing in the given names field is therefore "Johan." You should therefore enter "Johan."

The fact that you are not called Johan has no bearing on this question.

Similarly, in the US, "middle" name means the name that is in the middle. The fact that you are called by the name in the middle doesn't make the first name into a middle name. In other words, if Alexander Brian Campbell were called "Brian" then an American would say that he goes by his middle name.

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