How can I make my name French?
I read that an MP has suggested that other nationalities should adopt a French name if they are taking French nationality. I like the idea anyway (I’m British). How could I go about it? S.A.
Changing one’s name is simpler in the UK than in France. Britons here who have not taken double nationality can undertake the change via the UK procedures, but France will only do this for people with French nationality or for refugees.
In the UK, it is legal to simply start using a new name. However, for formal documents such as a passport or driving licence you need to make the change via deed poll. The procedure is straightforward (see gov.uk/change-name-deed-poll) though there is a €36 fee for the most formal version.
Once you have a passport in the new name, you could use this to change documents in France. You cannot change your UK birth certificate but you will obtain a deed poll document certifying the change.
If you have double nationality, you should go through the French system, which requires permission and evidence of a “legitimate reason”, such as the fact that your original name “sounds daft” in French or causes you harm.
If applying for double nationality, you can ask to change your name to sound French as part of the application. This is almost always accepted if your current name is obviously not French. You also have a year to request a change after obtaining French nationality.
Send your queries about life in France by email to: email@example.com