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Can accents/diacritics (é) in names of people of foreign origins have a legal implication in any English-speaking country?

San Francisco, CA |

Hi there,
My case is kinda weird lol. I'm Spanish Filipino, currently living in England. My girlfriend's American, she's originally from Frisco. We haven't yet made up our minds whether to stay here in the UK or move to the USA in case we get married in the future.

My first and last names are indeed Spanish. To avoid English speakers from mispronouncing them, I've always put accents, whereas appropriate, to my names when filling out forms applications. When I applied for a UK visa in Manila, I didn't take the risk of putting accents (I was kinda afraid I wouldn't get a visa because of that). Currently, I've been applying to a lot of universities here in London with accents on. I'm completely so living with those accents that sometimes I don't think what problem it might bring about. I'm just wondering, will I encounter any problems? in examination results, diplomas, certificates perhaps? My birth certificate and passport don't show any accents or diacritics as the Phils. is an English-speaking country. Some people said that's not really a big deal and I shouldn't worry at all because in the English-speaking world, they're completely. Can I possibly encounters problems whether in the UK or in the US?

Thanks a lot

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Filed under: Birth certificate
Attorney answers 1


While I can't speak for the UK, in my 10 years of practice, I have yet to see accents be an issue in the US when referring to immigration/naturalization cases. What tends to be problematic (particularly at embassies for interviews and verifying identities) is differences in the actual spelling or order of names on documents, not the accents. Check back to see what other practitioners say.

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