I'm in the process of applying to graduate schools in U.S.A. and Canada as an international student and run into this issue: The name displayed on my passport and national ID consists of first name, middle name, and family name. However, on my transcript, my family name is not shown. I presume that this makes a difference. Some of the universities' registration page has fields for former name(s) listed on previous records/certificates. Should I indicate the name on my transcript in the former name fields since it lacks the family name while the one on my passport has my family name? In addition, should I make an affidavit letter to state that the name on the passport and the transcript belong to me?

About on how I ended with only my first name and middle name on my transcript: In my country, as far as I know, the way the name is put on every academic record must be the same as the one on those preceding them. Also, it's usual here to write the only the given name in full and either omit the surname or make an initial of it if the space permits since many ethnic groups here do not actually use family names. I have many friends at college who did not use their surnames for their records. Back to academic records, my name has been written without a surname in academic records since elementary school, when my dad did the application process.

  • There is a very similar question (I am not sure it's a duplicate) on our site. I have only one name shown in my ID card. How do I write my name (surname) in research paper or article?. Please read it to see if it answers your question.
    – Nobody
    Oct 6, 2017 at 13:13
  • 1
    The situation is almost the same regarding naming issues. However, the objective is kind of different. So, the method of solving the problem might be different as the administration process may be different as well. Oct 6, 2017 at 13:44
  • Did you ask the administration/international office at one of the institutes where you are applying? They might have had this situation before, whereas here it is less likely anyone has been in the same situation, or has solved a case like this.
    – Mark
    Oct 6, 2017 at 14:18
  • I did and I'm still waiting for their reply. Oct 6, 2017 at 15:41
  • This just in. Their reply regarding the name is very brief and only says that I have use my name as written on ID issued by the government (e.g.: passport). Nothing else. Looks like on their end it would not be a problem. I don't know if this solves my problem. Do you think it's prudent if I still proceed with making an affidavit letter anyway in case needed? Oct 6, 2017 at 17:04

1 Answer 1


It sounds like the forms you have been provided already give a sufficient means of clarifying, particularly you indicate the form is specifically meant to link a current full name to an alternative shown on formal records. While the university may have been thinking about different cases, like names changing via marriage, it fits your situation as well.

I would suspect getting an affidavit or other formal attestation is not necessary: if they are not asking for it in the other cases where a name does not match, they should not expect it for your case either.

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