I have a question regarding my name and how to write it in the United States application forms since I'm planning to undergo some exams there. I'm an Arabic National My first name is Omar My father name is Farok My grandfather name is Mohammed Jawad( double barreled name) So in my native language my full name is : Omar Farok Mohammed Jawad Forgive my lengthy introduction,, The problem is that my full name in the passport is : Omar Farok M. Jawad ( the shortened Mohammed into initial M.) and my surname is Mohammed Jawad .. So to be clear my First name is Omar and my Last name is Mohammed Jawad The problem is when I write the middle name is is just Farok or Farok M. Jawad?? This is creating a huge anxiety for me as the name is sensitive matter in every paperwork.
For any sort of important or official paperwork I would classify Farok as your middle name. M. Jawad, or Mohammed Jawad would both be acceptable forms of last name/surname unless the form specifically requires "full name".
When it comes to more informal paperwork, it is common to omit the middle name. Even dual last name/surnames are often shortened to one or the other based on preference.
One doesn't need to alter their name in English; it has a history of borrowing from other languages, and this includes borrowing words, phrases (sometimes translated, sometimes not translated), and naming patterns.
While English has this history of borrowing, it typically borrowed from Europe, where most of the languages fall into two major patterns
- Romance languages, meaning "from the Romans", which collectively means all the languages which came from Latin.
- Germanic languages, meaning "from the Germans" which collectively includes lots of languages that share roots going back to ancient regions near Germany.
Omar Farok Mohammed Jawad is fine. But we do not extend middle names to include the other names. So your name will be seen as
- First Name: Omar
- Middle name: Farok
- Surname: Mohammed Jawad
For some background information, there are two traditional naming patterns:
- Your last name is the last name of your father's
- Your last name is a compound name, being your mother's last name followed by your father's last name.
The first rule is far more common.
The second rule keeps names from growing too long by dropping the Grandmother's portion when you inherit compound names from your Mother or Father. There is an exception where the names aren't dropped, but those exceptions typically only apply to names of historical importance.
This means that you might find people who think your Mother's family name is
Mohammed and your Father's family name is
Jawad; but, such small things are easily explained away and not likely to create any issues for you. Compound names often use hyphens "-" to join the name, but it is not always necessary.
A "middle" name (mostly) comes from a different bit of history. For large regions, your profession was your surname. "Smith" is short for blacksmith, Kellogg (an altered form of Kill Hog) is for hog slaughters, Cartwright (wright is to build) was for cart builders, etc. Since many liked to take first names from the Bible, it became important to know the difference between two "John Smith" names. Middle names help in this area. This means that a middle names often don't have a profession or family relationship; but, some families tend to reuse names from within the family for middle names. For example, my Grandfather's first name is my middle name. In your case, you middle name is your Father's name.
This lack of shared history also means that there are many people without a middle name. There are also (fewer) people without a first name. And finally, there are a few people who lack last names. If you ever see a "NMN" name or a "NMI" name, these are not real names, they mean "No Middle Name" or "No Middle Initial" for computer systems that require an entry when the person doesn't have that kind of name.
And generally, you can change your name in any way, provided you do so in a court and the reason isn't to avoid debt or legal proceedings. I have a few friends that have names that don't share anything with their family names.
The real problems that come with compound last names is when someone creates a computer system that tries to handle names with an assumption that doesn't work for your name. If anyone indicates that they can't use
Mohammed Jawad as a last name, you should probably provide
Mohammedjawad as a last name, to prevent them from shortening it to
Jawad (under the compound surname pattern, they're dropping what they would see as the Mother's last name).
Also, keep in mind that spelling of foreign names is something that many won't be good at. Offer to spell your name each time on official documentation, and try to pick a standard spelling within your near family (My wife, a Samie, has a sister that's a Samiee, a Father that's a Sammy, and a brother that's a Saamie because they didn't coordinate spellings).