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I have 3 first names on my passport. I requested an ESTA to travel to the USA by entering only one name. Is it right?

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Update 02 Oct 2018

The ESTA site has now changed its help text. It now states:

In the First (Given) Name field, enter ALL first (given) names exactly as they appear on your passport in the first (given) name field. The first (given) names are required to complete the application. If you have no first name, then enter the letters FNU which stands for First Name Unknown.

(emphasis mine).

Note that you can now upload your passport photo and have the MRZ read directly, which should fill all relevant data for you.

As an aside, I just noticed that by current french passport lists all my given names in the MRZ, while my previous passport only listed the first one.

--- original answer ---

Yes, that's right.

In the United States, given names are usually split as first and middle names.

The first name only includes a single name, while you would put any additional given names as middle name (they're used to a single middle name, but you can add more).

The ESTA form specifically asks only for the "First (Given) name", and the associated help bubble states:

Do not include the middle name in this field

Also, as it is quite common for French people to have multiple given names, I checked the French version of the ESTA site. That one says:

Dans le champ Prénom, tapez votre premier prénom. [...] N'incluez pas le deuxième prénom dans ce champ.

Which can be translated as:

In the First (Given) name field, type your first given name. [...]. Do not include the second given name in this field.

  • Since you didn't include the URL of the site you consulted, it's not possible to know whether the incorrect help text quoted here results from using an unofficial site or from the help text having changed on the official site (esta.cbp.dhs.gov). In any event, the help text now reads: In the First (Given) Name field, enter ALL first (given) names exactly as they appear on your passport in the first (given) name field. The first (given) names are required to complete the application. If you have no first name, then enter the letters FNU which stands for First Name Unknown. – phoog Oct 2 '18 at 6:23
  • @phoog It was definitely on the official site, they must have changed things. I'll update the answer. – jcaron Oct 2 '18 at 12:43
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tl;dr: Officially you should use them all, but maybe both ways are fine?

I think you were wrong and should have filled the ESTA form with your 3 first names. In reality, it looks like people are reporting here and there having no problem with either way.

Officially though, it looks like the ESTA application form provided by the U.S Customs and Border Protection recommends to put the entire "First name" field as shown on your passport.

Taken from the help text displayed when I hover over the question mark icon next to the First (Given) Name field:

In the First (Given) Name field, enter ALL first (given) names exactly as they appear on your passport in the first (given) name field. The first (given) names are required to complete the application. If you have no first name, then enter the letters FNU which stands for First Name Unknown.

(Emphasis mine.)

My French passport says "First Name: David,Eric,Jacques", so that's what I'll put in my application. If my passport had a middle-name section, I would ignore it.

Update: it is also possible to use a passport scanning feature by uploading a scan of your passport. This feature worked quite well, and filled the First (Given) Name form input field with my three first names, separated by a space, in capital letters: DAVID ERIC JACQUES.

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    Passports don't generally have middle name sections. US passports certainly don't. I'm left with the distinct impression that the implementers of the ESTA site didn't bother to look at the ICAO specification. – phoog Oct 2 '18 at 6:13
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No, that's not right. You have to give your name as in the passport, including all first names.

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    Do you have any references or sources for this? – drat Feb 29 '16 at 4:07
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    It's not clear that this answer is correct. The ESTA application form says "First (Given) Name: ____" in the singular. However, it advises, "Information must be entered exactly as it appears in passport" and my passport has a field labelled "Given names: ____" in the plural. – David Richerby Feb 29 '16 at 6:07
  • @drat application-esta.co.uk/use-middle-name-or – Awita Feb 29 '16 at 11:21
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    @Awita note that is not the offical ESTA/ US CBP site - it's a third party "agent" that charges an additional fee. – CMaster Feb 29 '16 at 11:25
  • @CMaster Thx, i am aware of that, but it states exactly what what my brother has been told when he recently did the same mistake like Cinzia and faced problems. Therefore I believe it is correct. – Awita Feb 29 '16 at 11:36

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