How To Book A Flight And Get A Visa When You Do Not Use A Surname On Your Passport

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So, you do not use a Surname on your passport and other travel documents and are running from pillar to post to get a Visa now? I decided to write this post as a case study to help out those travellers who face the similar challenge when traveling overseas.

This is an original story of how a fellow traveller could get a Dubai Visa (and it is quite simple, if you know the process) when she did not have a surname on any of her travel documents. Read on..

How To Book A Flight And Get A Visa When You Do Not Use A Surname On Your Passport


So, this one afternoon, I received an unsolicited message seeking help about what to do when the surname on your passport is missing.

Honestly, I was hearing about such a case for the first time. I had read about this question on Quora before, but, had not addressed one in person. Also, my passport has the full name endorsed on it, so this question never came to my mind.

But this can be a serious challenge if you do not know the solution. You might end up modifying all your documents from scratch including modifying your passport info. That is not only time consuming, but also, expensive.

But, there is definitely a solution. A better one of course!

What To Do When You Do Not Have A Surname On Your Passport?

Surname On Your Passport

When you do not have a surname on your passport, or other travel documents, these are issues that you might come up with.

1. The flight booking engine may not allow you to book a ticket because adding a last name OR surname is mandatory while booking flights.

2. When you apply for a Visa, and you do not have a surname on your passport, you will not be able to make an application as the last name is mandatory here too.

Related:- 5 Insider Trawell Hacks To Know How Airfares Are Priced

To answer these two questions, I decided to hear it out from the horse’s mouth. I called up the Qatar Airways helpline (as the traveller was seeking a Qatar flight and visa) to understand the solution. Since Qatar does not fly to Dubai directly, I decided to call up Emirates.

So, if you do not have a surname, simply put Mr / Mrs / Ms. whichever initials are applicable to you, in the surname area, while booking the flights. For example, if I have to book a flight and I do not use a surname on my passport, the information would look like this.

Surname On Your Passport

Note carefully, the way you should enter your details in your flight booking information. Please note that this is the method that was acceptable by Emirates Airlines.

In case you want to address the same issue with other airlines, it is a good idea to first speak to the airline customer care before booking your flights. Make sure you take the process this way.

  • Call the relevant airline helpline number.
  • Ask them the process of booking your flight with no surname on your passport.
  • Best is to visit the airline office directly at the airport to confirm information. You might have to bother traveling first, but that will save you lot of trouble later.
  • Once you are assured, you can use the method above, if it is applicable for your airline and book your flight. Use the airline website only and not an OTA website for this.

Also Read:- Travel Insurance: A Sneak Peek Into Whether You should buy one or not?

How To Apply For A Visa When You Do Not Use A Surname On Your Passport

The next challenge will be now to apply for a Visa, as you might be questioned for this also. To do that, you need to know that a lot of airlines, especially, the full-service carriers also facilitate Visa applications.

shallow focus photography of people inside of passenger plane

In the case where the traveller needed help, the Visa facilities were also provided by the Emirates Airlines. This is what was needed to be done.

  • First- book flights with the relevant airlines of your destination.
  • After completion of booking, apply for Visa directly from the airline website, if the airline is providing such service.
  • You can also connect with the airline help desk to facilitate Visa in case online application seems overwhelming.
  • Send your passport copies, flight PNR info and other details pertaining to the Visa and complete the process.
  • Wait for the Visa to arrive.

Also Read:- The Trawellblogger’s Handy Trawell Checklist for International Trips

Do not do this when you do not have your surname on your passport.

The traveller who contacted me was told that she will have difficulties traveling abroad her whole life because of this surname issue.

I believe there’s always a difference between ‘facts’ and ‘opinions’. Always take ‘information’ from a genuine source and not from people who focus on problems alone.

You do not need to:-

  • Change information on any of your existing travel documents.
  • Renew your passport or other travel documents.
  • Change information on any of your other documents such as school leaving certificates, college degree, voter card, PAN card or Aadhar Card.

Also Read:- What You Must Know About Your Passport Before You Travel

Best Tips To Book Flights When Facing This Challenge

This is not sacrosanct and the situation may differ from one airline to another. You should follow up with the airlines first before making a final decision.

In case you are facing issue of no surname on your passport, this is what you can follow in practice:-

  • Book a flight with the destination country’s official airline – for example, if you are traveling to Paris, you can consider booking a flight with Air France.
  • Apply for a Visa with the same airline at a little extra cost.
  • Consider visiting the booking office of that airline at your place of residence or the nearest Tier one city for detailed information.

This makes sure that your documentation is in the right hands and you are getting the right kind of information and not the wrong mind of opinions.

Hope you liked this post. Please share with your fellow travellers and help them out. This might save someone a lot of money.


Surname On Your Passport