Confused with first, middle and last name? Find the answer here.


This is a permanent problem for many of us. Most of the government application forms ask us to fill first, middle and last name. It was not difficult when we had to fill the forms manually. Now most of the government jobs are to be done online. So, once you register your credentials mentioning first, middle and last name, you will have to use the same pattern in your subsequent visits to the government department sites.


Some of us, who have a problem in memorizing the details will end up in doing a permutation and combination of names to get the right one! I guess many of you have faced similar problems.


So for the sake of all, let’s once for all, resolve this issue.


First, Middle and Last Name


  • First name is the name given by your parents. For example – in the name Sathya Prakash Rao; the name ‘Sathya’ is the first name.
  • Middle name is the name of your father, husband or the place. In the above example, Prakash is the middle name (maybe it is his father’s name). some people use their place in the middle name such as Sathya Kateel Rao. (Kateel is a place).
  • Last name is your surname. In the above example, it is Rao. Some people use their community name such as Reddy. It may be even family name such as Machamada (kodava community names)


Remember or write it down: Whenever you fill an online application form, kindly remember the way you have written your name. If you can’t remember, note down in a master file or save in your mobile or dropbox.


Names for new born – most of the government sites requires the citizens to fill at least first and last name. (Middle name is optional). Now it is a fancy to keep short name to kids. But remember that at least 2 parts of the name should be there. So, keep 2 parts name to newborns.


Change of name – don’t change your name without changing it in official records. Post marriage, people will start using husband’s name (instead of father’s name). They may give the new name to the employer. They may get even PAN card on the new name. But important documents such as driving license, passport may have the original name. The change of name without following the correct procedure may end up in a problem at the time of availing loans or getting VISA.


Names are not written in the order of Fist Name, Middle Name and Last Name: If in the same example of Sathya Prakash Rao, he will use it as ‘R P Sathya’ (Rao Prakash Sathya). This is the starting point of confusion. We are used to writing our names in the reverse order and when it comes to filling up the form, we make mistakes. So, you would have experienced that in airports / foreigners will call the first name (thinking that your first name is ‘Rao’). Another example – P Chidambaram (P stands for Pallaniyappan) is called by foreigner’s as ‘Pallaniyappan’!


Hope we will write it correctly from now on!

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About B E Kumar Prasad

B E Kumar Prasad
He is a Practicing Chartered Accountant in Bengaluru, India. He has 25+ years of experience in income tax, business setup, and NRI matters. He is also an Insolvency Professional and Registered Valuer (F&SA).Prasad welcomes your comments and questions. Please email him at

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2022 years ago

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