Passport alias name

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Passport Alias Name, sometimes called an a.k.a. Name, is a more easily pronounceable rendering of the passport bearer's name allowed by some countries, in addition to how their name is legally written. The alias may not accepted or recognized by many agencies, which may cause problems for visitors trying to use their alias names.

The pronunciation of a name that comes from a non-English-speaking country could seem unusual or difficult to say correctly. To make life easier, some countries offer the ability to display an alternative name which people prefer to be called when traveling on the passport. However, even thought this name is listed on the passport, some US agencies do not allow it to be used on any legal documents. This issue has caused problems for a considerable portion of foreign travelers and immigrants in the United States.

Does the statement "All requesters should provide all possible name variations or spellings"[1] documented on the USCIS website imply that the alias name is actually a legal name? If the answer is yes, why do people still have problems using their alias names on some legal documents such as the married licence or the driver's licence? One of the possible answers may be that most of the US agencies are not even aware of the AKA Name listed on the first page of a passport.

It is very common that the US agencies only focus on the information listed on the visa page when processing aliens' requests for any documents or certificates for use in the US. Occasionally, some agencies will accept the alias name by asking for proof of the alias name used in other formal US documents. However, it doesn't actually work and it causes a deadlock as a result. For example, DMV requests that the alias name should be listed on the marriage licence for a name change on the driver's licence using the alias name, while state municipalities ask that the name should be displayed on the driver's licence to adopt it on the marriage licence. In the end, no one is willing to issue the alias name on the document.

Workaround: Legal Name Change

Before every US agency in each state synchronizes the database with USCIS, the best bet for using the alias name as the legal name is to actually make the alias name official through the "Name Change" process.


  1. Visa Files, July 1, 1924 to March 31, 1944. [[1]] (2010). Retrieved on 2010-07-24.