My precise question: Is the MRZ format documented somewhere, such that I should purposefully fill in forms counter-intuitively so as to conform to the standard?

I have a Brunei passport (yes, what the hell is that?) and the format of my passport's MRZ is


and indeed, the "Name" field (I only have one single name field) of my passport says


I am worried that when filling in forms, that tell me to fill it in "exactly as in passport" and then go on to talk about first name and last name.

I notice that every other passport in the world puts the family name before the forename.

Shall I fill it in according to what I call myself or what the passport says?

Basically, I just hope that things don't go wrong because my names are in an unexpected order.

  • "The primary identifier shall be followed by two filler characters (<<)." If you've transcribed the data accurately, your entire name is entered as the primary identifier.
    – phoog
    Jun 16, 2017 at 22:49

1 Answer 1


Your family name is the same thing as a last name.

Your "other name" field, should only be filled in if the form explicitly asks for it, otherwise stick with first name and last (family) name.

If you have a compound first name, don't put the second part of your first name as the middle name - as this will confuse many systems.

You should fill out the form with the names as stated in your identity page, not how they are written in the MRZ area.

Do not use any nicknames or other aliases that you may be known by, and definitely don't try to "reverse engineer" your name from the MRZ.

To answer your direct question:

Is the MRZ format documented somewhere

Yes, it is in ICAO Document 9303 part 3.

  • "The name of the holder is generally represented in two parts; the primary identifier and the secondary identifier. The issuing State or organization shall establish which part of the name is the primary identifier. " Paste this extract from the doc you linked and I'll mark this as the answer :)
    – JamEnergy
    Jun 16, 2017 at 19:12

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