So my name on my passport is as such First - Middle - Last name (e.g. Tun Kyaw Min with last name as Min)

For me (and citizens of my country) we don't usually have surnames. On the UK visa application form I filled in a dash as my surname and for name I just used the complete name.

On the visa however it is written as Last - First - Middle name (e.g. Min Tun Kyaw) with the last name having been brought to the front & taken as surname. This is not an issue with airline tickets for instance as my name has always been printed as such (& is unofficially my surname). However I would like to check if this is an issue with visas?

There's no spelling error whatsoever it's just that my passport doesn't state a surname but just a name.

  • 10
    I always thought "last name" was just the American English word for "surname".
    – Belle
    Dec 6, 2016 at 6:33
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    @pnuts thanks ! Yeah after thinking about it I guess so. Since the airline tickets as well as some other official documents addressed me as Mr. <Last Name> besides my biometrics are in the system either way (+ my face on the visa sticker) so it wouldn't be an issue. Thanks for the help :)
    – h21
    Dec 6, 2016 at 7:45
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    @pnuts haha that I will. Plus probably some other official documents showing that they refer to me as such too. & if only my real name was "Min" :) wouldn't be an issue having ' King' as an honorific of sorts.
    – h21
    Dec 6, 2016 at 8:04
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    This is standard anxiety over nothing. They are not idiots and have experience in dozens of different name conventions. If you are Burmese and you submitted your application at the VFS in Rangoon, it went to Bangkok where the assistants know what to do. Worry about something else.
    – Gayot Fow
    Dec 6, 2016 at 11:52
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    The Manilla consulate would have shown a scan to the assistants in Bangkok and confirmed the naming convention. Manilla is a HUGE operation and takes in applications from many different countries, including Australia and New Zealand and Hong Kong and Indonesia and Singapore. They know what to do, honestly. It's wasting time to fret and wring your hands over nothing.
    – Gayot Fow
    Dec 6, 2016 at 12:35

1 Answer 1


In the Western world, specifically Germanic and Slavic speaking countries (explicitly excluding Iceland), there is a strong assumption that people have a given name, potential (or mandatory, e.g. patronymic names in Russia) middle names and a surname, with the surname being the same or at least strongly similar within families while given and middle names may vary considerably. This already fails when dealing with Spanish people who typically have two (technically equivalent; so I am told) surnames. Other countries have even more different sytems.

Before the days of worldwide international travel, this was hardly any issue; names were close enough to the first, middle, surname format that they could be made fit. Hence why airline tickets do so and many countries’ visas.

Nowadays, there is a considerably larger variety of nationalities and thus names travelling, but the visa procedures have remained rather the same. It is rather rare for people to be referred to by one name and one name only, so in most cases an arbitrary call can be made which name is to be considered a given name and which a surname. Thankfully, visas are processed approximately locally (Gayot mentioned that UK visas for Myanmar citizens are processed in Bankok, which is close on a global scale while being in a different country) and the local officials will have experienced this type of name for quite some time. Thus, they will format it in a way that is appropriate on the visa itself.

When entering the UK, the border officials will check if the name matches. They also will have experience with different types of names. They might not be well-trained to recognise every local variant immediately but they know that variants exist so they expect them. If your passport’s name section contains all the names that your visa does, they will not worry or suspect much if the ordering has changed. It is important that the picture(s) match(es) you and that the names are similar enough when comparing the data page and the visa page. Names may even be spelt differently due to different transcription/transliteration standards.

Thus, as has been mentioned in comments, you are worrying about a non-issue. I doubt the ordering of the names will even be remarked. The only question on the topic may be something along the lines of ‘So, Mr/Mrs Min …?’ (awaiting confirmation that you feel addressed by the official using that name).

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