There are a number of cases when foreigners cannot use documents because identity information does not match the data contained in their passport or other documents. This significantly complicates the process of preparing documents by a foreigner. Incorrect spelling of at least one letter in the name or number in the date may cause problems to a foreigner, that is why a foreigner is deprived of the opportunity to obtain an immigration permit to Ukraine or to acquire Ukrainian citizenship.

Where the discrepancy can be found

The most common discrepancy can be found in a passport, birth certificate, marriage certificate, title document, еtс. Therefore, it is important to carefully check the spelling of surname, given name and other personal data while receiving new documents. However, even slight discrepancy in the spelling of surname or given name in the document may cause serious difficulties concerning obtaining new documents in the future. For example, in the case of inheritance or obtaining an immigration permit to Ukraine, acquisition of Ukrainian citizenship.


Why the discrepancy in the documents happen

There are several reasons for the discrepancy in documents. Among the most common are the following:

  • Changes in the spelling rules of surname, given name

Especially, it refers to the cases when documents were issued at the beginning of the last century or even earlier. The spelling rules underwent numerous changes and modifications throughout their existence in Ukraine and foreign countries, which some modern Ukrainian lands used to be a part of. For example, some names may have their national forms in different languages. Thus, records of documents issued by different countries may vary. There are widespread cases of finding discrepancies while preparing the documents in order to prove Ukrainian origin. Such documents are necessary for obtaining an immigration permit or acquiring Ukrainian citizenship. Often, such documents were issued by Soviet authorities in which personal data was mostly given in the Russian language. After Ukraine became independent, owners of the documents received new Ukrainian documents where the spelling of the surname and given name could differ due to translation implications.

  • Changes in the rules of transliteration of the Ukrainian alphabet to Latin

After obtaining new Ukrainian ID-passports, every owner has received an official transliteration of the surname and given name in accordance with the uniform rules of transliteration approved by the government. The rules have repeatedly undergone numbers of changes. So, in practice, there are cases when the spelling of a person`s surname and/or given name differ in Latin compared to an international passport which was obtained much earlier. A similar situation may occur in one family, where one had received the documents earlier than other members, as well as with their relatives who are foreigners. Thus, despite the fact that the surname in the Ukrainian language is the same, transliteration may be different.

  • Human factor

Anyway, information about foreigners is filled in by state officials. That is why the human factor cannot be excluded from the factors which cause a discrepancy in the documents. In rare cases, an official may not notice the discrepancy in entered data contained in the document.

Incorrect translation of the document into Ukrainian also may be a reason why discrepancy happened. Sometimes, the translator may make mistake while translating the foreigner’s personal data into Ukrainian. In the first place, state official takes into account a translation of the document. As a result, a foreigner may face serious issues in obtaining other Ukrainian documents in the future.


What to do

There are two possible ways of resolving the issue: turning to the authority that issued the document and filing with the court.

  • Turning to the authority that issued the document

The easiest and fastest way to resolve the issue with the documents is to turn to authority that issued the document. For example, amendments to acts of civil status shall be introduced within three months. However, such way of solving the problem may not be suitable for all foreigners, because the relevant authority may be liquidated or the necessary archival documents missing, etc. In this case, a foreigner should file directly with the court.

  • Filing with the court

If the mistake in the document had not been corrected in time or the correction had been impossible, a foreigner would have to file with the court. Foreigners, along with Ukrainian citizens, have the right to apply to the Ukrainian courts in order to protect their rights and legitimate interests.

In practice, the most common causes are the following: obtaining an immigration permit to Ukraine or acquiring Ukrainian citizenship based on territorial origin. However, the documents confirming foreigner`s Ukrainian origin have not been preserved or they just cannot be used, in particular, because of discrepancy in the spelling of foreigners` names or the Ukrainian relatives` names. In this case, they legally are not considered as relatives. So, foreigners should file with the court an application on the establishment of a relationship between individuals or an application on the establishment of the fact of birth on the territory of Ukraine. These facts should be properly justified and supported by proofs confirming the circumstances set out in the application. Such proofs can be, in particular, birth certificate, marriage certificate, death certificate, archival documents, etc.

Despite the fact that such court cases are carried out in a simplified procedure, foreigners should be ready that this way of resolving the issue is rather time-consuming. Moreover, be aware that a received positive judgment on the establishment of a legal fact does not replace a document itself, but it is a basis for obtaining a new one.

Thus, the discrepancy in the spelling of at least one letter of the surname or given name can seriously complicate the process of obtaining documents in the future. Therefore, it is best the problem be solved immediately before the negative consequences take place.

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