I have to fill some official paperwork, and realize that they are asking me my full name, including middle name.

Being French, the system is a bit different because there is not really any middle name, but several given names ("prénoms").

It seems like in the US, people expect a single middle name, so it is unclear what to use as THE middle name when you have multiple given names.

Let's consider someone whose given names are "Alexis, Bernard, Charles" and last name "Ducatel", how do you derive the middle name, and from that the full name in official US format?

  • My middle name is Marcel...but the way I put is it correct. Imalele Osasere .M.
    – Marcel
    Commented Aug 31, 2021 at 5:56

3 Answers 3


When a US form asks for "full name", it means the sequence of names as written on your birth certificate or other official documentation (such as passport). In your case, your first name (usually the name you are known by) is the "first name" and your remaining prénoms would be the "middle name(s)". In your example:

  • First name: Alexis
  • Middle name(s): Bernard Charles
  • Surname: Ducatel

It is not uncommon for Americans to have more than one middle name, and this is how it would be filled in on a form.

  • Just curious, how does this work if your official name doesn't match your regular name? Like William who is publicly known as Bill.
    – Ton Plomp
    Commented Aug 8, 2014 at 8:33
  • 1
    @TonPlomp: I know this isn't a great answer, but it depends on how "official" the form is. My full first name is Gregory, but I usually only use that for government identification like drivers license or tax forms (it matches my birth certificate). For other things like a phone bill or car insurance, I just use Greg. Commented Aug 8, 2014 at 10:13

I have two middle names (I'm from the UK, living in the US), and I have this problem. My solution is to write in both middle names if I can, and if not, just put the first. I find that official forms often ignore the second middle name (the third prename) - even if I add it to the form, when I get (say) a letter back, the second is dropped. Similarly forms ask for middle initial - I just put the first.

This approach has not cause me any problems, at least for the past 8 years I've been here.


I am American and have three first names. At the DMV where you could get an identification card or driver's license, they made me record my first first name as my first name, my second first name as a middle name and they completely left out my third first name. However, if your first name is hyphenated, like "Alexis- Bernard" they will record that as your first name on the license up to 10 characters (so it might look like "Alexis- Bern"). I'm really frustrated with having three first names here, and I'm considering legally changing my name so that my name will be recorded consistently between jobs, school, and my license. Is your name fully recorded on your identification card in France? Do you have any similar issues?

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