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Assume one has 2 passports:

  1. A US passport with first name "Robert" and last name "Balladur".
  2. A French passport with first names "Robert Paul Etienne" and last name "Balladur".

What problems can having 2 passports with 2 different first names cause?

From https://travel.stackexchange.com/a/52101/1810, I understand there is no issues when traveling if one handles the passports correctly. What are other potential issues one may face?

Motivation for this question: changing one's name in the N-400 (Application for Naturalization Form).

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I have two passports. My name is shown identically in both. But my second name is long and complicated -- it is a single name comprising three words, and, if you count spaces, my full name requires 31 characters (32 in an ICAO machine-readable zone, because that specifies two separator characters between the surname and the given name). So I have thought about dropping it.

Furthermore, my driver's license doesn't have my middle name but rather a middle initial, which, to make matters worse, is not the first letter of my middle name but of the third word in my middle name (the first two words being a preposition and an article).

In the US, you will occasionally read about a requirement that your airline ticket must exactly match the name shown on your ID. Some airlines, or some airline agents, may be more or less strict about whether this includes middle names. So far, I have not had any real trouble with this, but it has come up every once in a while. In the last few years I have started giving my middle name when booking a ticket if I am explicitly asked; until two or three years ago I would always decline.

If you have different names in your passports, and you are flying round-trip between the two countries that issued the passports, and the names are different, and the check-in agent is strict about the name matching, and you have to use each country's passport when flying to that country, you might find a bit of trouble in one direction or the other. You ought to be able to resolve any such trouble by showing both passports, but it's not guaranteed, so I would rather avoid the possibility altogether.

Related, over at Travel.SE: Why will ETIAS add some motivation for dual US/EU citizens not to use their US passports to fly to the EU?

When I was doing some research for this answer, I also came across some suggestions of the possibility that using a different form of your name for a reservation might prevent you from receiving pre-check clearance from the TSA, but I didn't look into the details.

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  • Thanks! "if [...] the check-in agent is strict about the name matching, and you have to use each country's passport when flying to that country, you might find a bit of trouble in one direction or the other": why not always using the passport that matches the name on the ticket at check-in time? Also, was your second name converted as a middle name on your US passport? Jul 4, 2022 at 23:04
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    @FranckDernoncourt if you're (for example) a Polish/US dual citizen, you're not allowed to enter Poland using your US passport and you're not allowed to enter the US using your Polish passport. The airline may therefore require you to check in with that passport. If you have a round-trip ticket between Poland and the US, you will have a name mismatch in one direction. "was your second name converted as a middle name on your US passport?" US passports do not distinguish middle names. They just have "surname" and "given names."
    – phoog
    Jul 5, 2022 at 0:38
  • Got it, thanks! Jul 5, 2022 at 0:40

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