Middle names and passports do not always go together in harmony. Often times there is a lot of confusion with variations or changes to middle names and how it effects valid passports or passport applications. This is a reasonable concern as a simple fluke that goes unnoticed on your passport can hinder your travel experience or even put it to a shrieking halt! Be sure to know what is acceptable in regards to middle names on your passport before you travel.
Did you know that a middle initial is acceptable on your passport? Even if you have two middle names or no middle name that must appear on your passport. Yes, you read it correctly! As long as you enter your name exactly how it is on your chosen document for proof of citizenship, usually a birth certificate, and proof of identity such as a valid driver’s license, that is accepted and expected to obtain a valid passport book/card.
If there is an event where you are applying for a passport with a different name than what is printed on your birth certificate, you have to provide either legal proof of the name change through a court order, or at least provide 3 public records showing your date and place of birth. These must show an exclusive use of your assumed name for the last 5 years. Other public record options include baptismal certificate, census record, school or driving record, voter registration, or a business license.
Travelers should use the same name on your passport for your flight reservation and vice versa. TSA’s Secure Flight Program asks passengers to clearly write their names as they appear on their government ID such as passport books or cards. TSA recognizes that information printed on boarding passes may differ slightly to the information on the traveler’s ID/passport depending on the boarding pass printing process of the different airlines. However, this confusion is best avoided by strictly putting your name as it is presented on your passport.
While documents should be copied exactly as it is on your passport or government ID, if you accidentally skip your middle name and are flying domestically in the United States, it is ok. As long as you are certain that both your first and last name are exactly written as they appear on your chosen document for identification then you will be ok.
International flights differ in this regard. To avoid all confusion, it is best to be specific. Language barriers are not easy to explain this in a foreign country, but domestic flights should be fine. If you have to modify this, sometimes foreign policies are not as lenient and they will make you cancel and rebook your flight which is costly.