Initial snag at Immigration

This item appears on page 11 of the May 2008 issue.

My name is J. William. On my passport, my first name has always read “JWilliam.” This has been on several passports over about 50 years without any problems.

However, when we returned to Dallas from Mexico on Feb. 25, 2008, the computer at Immigration would not recognize my passport. I was taken into a private room. After I waited about 45 minutes for other people to be processed, the officer came out, apologized and returned my passport.

He said the State Department had put in a new system in December ’07 and these computers at Immigration control can no longer read any passport on which the first name is an initial. He said there is no way the name can be put in that will work.

The computers in the special section where I was taken can read a first name that is an initial. The problem is one will be taken into this other section and might have to wait no telling how long to get this corrected, possibly missing a connecting flight.

He said this is happening all the time with people who use an initial for their first name and that Immigration had notified the State Department about it but, since the two are different departments, and knowing the government, he does not know when this will be corrected.


Nichols Hills, OK