Making Sure All Your Documents Match

A common cause of delay or rejection in applying for a Social Security Number, Drivers license, or completing other official applications is not having your personal information match. These problems usually start when filling out your visa documents. This can cause delays, costing you extra trips to administrative buildings, extra application fees, or even denial of benefits or services.

So how can you prevent this?

  • Be consistent:
    • When you are filling out important applications, remember to be consistent. Even if you may fill out your forms slightly differently if you were in your home country, most official and government applications you fill out will be checking to see if your application matches your sponsorship and Visa documents.
  • Check for accuracy:
    • The best place to start is before you leave the US, and before you even apply for your visa. You want to start when you are applying for sponsorship.

Common Errors with Visa Documents

Your sponsor issues you a DS-2019 form after they approve you for your program. When they do this, they are creating a SEVIS immigration record. This record is based on the information in your passport. While this should match your passport exactly, it is important to look through it before applying for your visa. Here are a few common errors that happen with visa documents:


  • Mistakes do happen, so make sure you have the right form! Check your name, city and date of birth, and other biographical information to make sure you have the right form.

Non-Standard Characters

  • The name as it appears on your visa documents will generally be based off of the Machine Readable Zone of your passport.

    Machine Readable Zone circled in Red.
  • If your name contains characters not in the standard English alphabet such as {ä, è, ñ, ö, š, ù, ï} and others, they will not show up this way on your DS-2019 form or most other visa documents. They will most likely show up as {ae, e, n, oe, s, u, i}.
  • If you have an apostrophe ( ‘ ), it will be deleted.
    • O’Mally = OMally
  • If you have a hyphen ( – ) in your name, it will show up as a space.
    • Tom-Smith = Tom Smith

Multiple Surnames

  • Make sure the order of your names is correct.
  • If you have multiple Surnames and/or Given (first) names, make sure the names are properly identified. Example: Rijker van Gissem
    • Given Name: Rijker
    • Surname(s): van Gissem
  • If you have a long name, your whole name may not appear on your DS-2019 form or other documents due to character length restrictions.
  • If you are unsure, check always check with your sponsor to determine if it is an error or not.