What is in a name?

“Nalluri Paranjape Vinayaka Mahanta” S/O Narayanamurthy!! Don’t get frightened. This is the name of a student traveling to USA for higher education. He is not alone. There are many like him and names of Indian immigrants could be confusing to visa officers.

Indian passports indicate name as “Given Name” and ‘Surname’. In this case “ Paranjape Vinayaka Mahanta” is given name and ‘Nalluri’ is surname. US visa applications however expect students to fill “First Name”, “Middle Name” and “Last Name”.  In this student’s case, the first name is ‘Paranjape’, middle name is “Vinayaka Mahanta” and the last name is ‘Nalluri’

US immigration staff use ‘FNU’ – an abbreviation for “First Name Unidentified”, if either the first or last name is unidentified.  Until a couple of years ago, they used both FNU and LNU (Last Name Un-Identified). Since, US convention requires sorting and addressing persons by their last name, it was rather embarrassing to address persons as Mr. or Ms. LNU! Besides, if there are multiple persons without last name (which is always the case), it would be difficult to distinguish many Mr. & Ms. LNUs!! Hence, as a solution, immigration officials began using FNU regardless of the missing parts of the name.

This student had an additional complication. Unfortunately, his name was documented differently in different documents (see table below)

Given Name Surname
10th year passing certificate Paranjape Vinayaka Mahanta Nalluri
12th year passing certificate Paranjape Vinayaka Mahanta N
Under graduation marks card Nalluri Paranjape Vinayaka Mahanta Narayanamurthy
Passport Paranjape Vinayaka Mahanta Nalluri

He was advised to approach a Notary and make an “Affidavit For One And The Same Person”. This affidavit is a declaration that all names refer to the same person!