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CFA Program Identification Policy

CFA Institute requires that every CFA® Program candidate have a valid international travel passport to register and sit for the exam. See below for details to determine if your passport is valid under this policy. Failure by testing personnel to detect an invalid ID does not imply the ID is valid or that you will receive an exam result.

Passport Assistance Letters

Passport assistance letters can be used, if needed, with passport requests or applications. For candidates needing to move through a city on lockdown, you may use the passport assistance letter along with your exam admission ticket to explain your need to leave home. Choose the letter for your exam administration (PDF):

A Valid International Travel Passport

  • Certifies your identity for the purpose of international travel (learn more about unacceptable forms of identification);
  • Is an original document (photocopies are not allowed) and is current (not expired);
  • Contains your name* and passport details, exactly as it is in your CFA account
    • Login to confirm the passport information on file.
    • If your name does not exactly match, you will not be permitted to take the exam and you will forfeit your registration fee. Failure by proctors to detect an invalid ID does not imply the ID is valid or that you will receive an exam result.
    • To change your name you must submit a Name/Identification Change Form (PDF). Processing time varies as noted on the form.
  • Is machine readable** (handwritten passports will not be accepted);
  • Includes a recognizable photograph on the passport data page; and
  • Is required when you register for the exam and during check-in for both exam sessions on exam day.

During the check-in process for computer-based testing, personnel may use a passport reader to decipher the machine-readable strip on the data page. This is done to confirm the information presented on the data page of your passport is correct.

See how the information above appears on your passport. 

US Sample Passport

 

*Acceptable Name Variations

Name on Passport Name on Admission Ticket
Doe Maria Jane Maria Jane Doe
Maria Jane Doe Jane Maria Doe
MARIA JANE DOE Maria Jane Doe
Maria Jane Doé Maria Jane Doe

**The United Nations agency ICAO has determined that all non machine-readable passports are considered expired as of 24 November 2015. Therefore, international travel passports that are not machine-readable (including handwritten passports) will be considered invalid for entry into the CFA exam. Please note: A machine readable passport has two lines of text as letters, numbers and chevrons (<<<<<) at the bottom of the data page (the page containing your photo and personal information) of your passport.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do you mean when you say “the name you register with must match your passport exactly”?  
The exact names that appear in the Given Name(s) and Surname fields of your passport must be included in your CFA Institute account, spelled exactly as they are in your passport. Some passports contain additional fields, such as “Father’s Name” or “Family Names”; names shown in these fields should NOT be included. If a suffix is shown on your passport, it should be included on your CFA Institute account. If your passport does not show a suffix, you should not include a suffix on your CFA Institute account.

What name variations are allowed?
Only the following name variations will be allowed:

  • Given name(s) and surname are reversed, but match exactly with the names on the passport
  • Accent mark is present (or missing)
  • Special characters represented by standard accepted translations (example: ü represented as ue)
  • Differences in hyphens and/or spacing
  • Differences in capitalization
  • Names truncated on the passport due to space constraints

I registered with a shortened version of my full name.  It’s obvious my name is a shortened version of my full name.  My full name is on the passport.  Will I be allowed to sit?
No. You must update your CFA Institute account to reflect your name exactly as it is shown in your passport. Otherwise, you will not be allowed to sit.

My full name is Robert Xavier Pettit, Jr.  I registered without the Jr.  Is this okay?

If your passport includes the suffix in the Surname or Given Name(s) field, it should be included in your CFA Institute account.

I did not register with my middle name.  Will I be allowed to sit?
All of the names that appear in the Given Name(s) and Surname fields of your passport must be included in your CFA Institute account, spelled exactly as they are in your passport. This includes any middle names (additional given names). 

The name I used to register doesn’t match my passport.  What should I do now?
You must submit a Name/Information Change form to cmservices@cfainstitute.org, along with a scanned image of your passport data page, to update your CFA Institute account so that your account reflects the exact names shown in the Given Name(s) and Surname fields on your passport. Please submit name update requests as soon as you become aware an update is needed. CFA Institute cannot guarantee requests will be processed if they are submitted less than 30 days before your appointment.

How do I confirm the name on my passport and make other changes to my passport information?
Review your passport information and update your passport number, expiration date, or country of issuance in your candidate profile.

My passport includes my father’s last name.  Do I need to include this when I register?
The exact names that appear in the Given Name(s) and Surname fields of your passport must be included in your CFA Institute account, spelled exactly as they are in your passport. Some passports contain additional fields, such as “Father’s Name” or “Family Names”; names shown in these fields should NOT be included.

When do I need to update my passport information?  How long will it take to process?  
Please submit name update requests as soon as you become aware an update is needed. CFA Institute cannot guarantee requests will be processed if they are submitted less than 30 days before your appointment.

What do I do if my passport expires before the exam?
If your international travel passport expires before the date of your exam, you may still use it to register, but you must renew it before the exam and update your account with the new information. If the information in your account does not match the information on your passport exactly or if your passport is expired, you will not be permitted to take the exam and will forfeit your registration fee.

The laws and requirements of each country are different. Please contact your country’s passport-issuing agency for detailed instructions. The application process may take several months, so make sure to give yourself enough time to obtain your passport.

I have a Chinese passport and I registered with my Western name instead of my Chinese name. Western names are commonly accepted in China. Will I be allowed to sit?
The exact names that appear in the Given Name(s) and Surname fields of your passport must be included in your CFA Institute account, spelled exactly as they are in your passport. You should not include your Western name on your CFA Institute account unless it is shown on your passport. If you present a passport that does not match the name you registered with, you will not be allowed to sit.

My name changed (for example, due to marriage or divorce) and my new name is not reflected in my passport; however, I have separate name change documentation. Will I be allowed to sit?
Separate documentation of a name change is not acceptable. You must either update your CFA Institute account to reflect the name shown on your valid passport, or obtain a new passport that reflects the name shown on your CFA Institute account. Regardless of whether you present additional documentation, if you present a passport that does not match the name you registered with, you will not be allowed to sit.

There is a minor misspelling in the name on my CFA Institute account. Do I need to update my account?
Any name mismatch, including but not limited to typos, misspellings, nicknames, and suffixes not shown on the passport, will result in you being denied admission to the exam. We strongly encourage you to review your passport and update your CFA Institute account if needed.

There are additional names on my passport that are shown only in Arabic. Should I include the English translation when I register?
You should only include the names shown in English in the Given Name(s) and Surname fields on your passport data page in your CFA Institute account. Please do not include translations of additional names that do not appear in English.

If I cannot obtain a passport, what other documents may I use?
The following is a list of alternate identification documents that are approved to use in lieu of an international travel passport. If you have a valid (unexpired) document on this list, you may present it at the test center for admission and no further action is needed.

ARGENTINA

  • Duplicate passport (“DUPLICADO” in Copy field at upper-right corner of data page) 

AUSTRALIA

  • Certificate of Identity
  • “Limited Validity” passport
  • Travel Document/Titre de Voyage (Convention of 28 July 1951) 

BRUNEI

  • Certificate of Identity (brown cover) 

CAMEROON

  • Emergency Travel Document/Laissez-Passer (only if the “Is Authorized To Travel To” field shows “UNRESTRICTED TRAVEL” or “ALL COUNTRIES”; if specific countries are named, it is NOT an acceptable form of ID) 

CANADA

  • Certificate of Identity
  • Travel Document (Convention of 28 July 1951) 

CHINA

  • People’s Republic of China Travel Document 中华人民共和国旅行证
  • People’s Republic of China Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Document of Identity for Visa Purposes 中華人民共和國香港特別行政區簽證身份書
  • People’s Republic of China Macau Special Administrative Region Travel Permit 中華人民共和國澳門特別行政區旅行證
  • People’s Republic of China Seafarer’s Passport 中华人民共和国海员证

EGYPT

  • Document de Voyage Pour les Refugies Palestiniens (Palestinian Refugee Travel Document)

FRANCE

  • Titre de Voyage Pour Réfugié (Refugee Travel Document) 

GERMANY

  • Vorläufiger Reisepass
  • Travel Document/Reiseausweis (Convention of 28 July 1951)
  • Travel Document for Foreigners 

INDIA

  • Identity Certificate/Yellow Book 

ISRAEL

  • Travel Document in Lieu of National Passport 

LEBANON

  • Document de Voyage Pour les Refugies Palestiniens (Palestinian Refugee Travel Document) 

NEW ZEALAND

  • Emergency Travel Document 

PALESTINE, STATE OF

  • Document de Voyage pour les Refugies Palestiniens 

RUSSIA

  • Family passport – only if presented by the primary issuant; not valid for dependents listed on the passport 

SYRIA

  • Document de Voyage Pour les Refugies Palestiniens/Travel Document For Palestinian Refugees
  • Travel Document (Convention of 28 July 1951)
  • Stateless Persons’ Travel Document
  • Certificate of Travel 

TOGO

  • Titre de Voyage Tenant Lieu de Passeport Provisoire / Travel Document in Lieu of Passport Provisional 

UNITED KINGDOM

  • Certificate of Travel
  • Stateless Persons’ Travel Document (Convention of 28 September 1954)
  • Travel Document (Convention of 28 July 1951) 

UNITED NATIONS

  • Laissez-Passer 

UNITED STATES

  • Travel Document (“Form I-571” OR “Form I-327” is displayed under photo) 

URUGUAY

  • Family passport – only if presented by the primary issuant; not valid for dependents listed on the passport 

VENEZUELA

  • Expired passport, if it has been 5 years or less since the expiration date printed on the data page of the passport (per government decree and subsequent U.S. recognition that all Venezuelan passports have been extended for 5 years past the expiration date printed on the data page)

If you have another form of ID not included in the list above, you may request to use it for registration and admission. We will consider your request if your alternate form of identification is:

  • a government-issued, passport-equivalent document that allows for unrestricted international travel (with the exception of your country of origin, if you are a refugee);
  • an original document (no photocopies);
  • current (not expired); and
  • contains a recognizable photograph.

Email info@cfainstitute.org with a color scan of the front cover and data page of your alternate identification document or the official name of the document you wish to use.

We consider each request separately. Submitting a request does not guarantee an exception will be made. We cannot suggest specific travel documents for which you might be eligible; we encourage you to seek assistance from your local passport-issuing agency, consulate, or other government resources to determine which alternate international travel documents may be available to you.

Requests for exceptions to the CFA Program ID Policy must be made at least 30 days before your exam appointment date. If you submit an exception request less than 30 days before your scheduled exam, we cannot guarantee it will be reviewed or that you will receive a response before your exam date.

Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns about our identification policy.