Choice of child's first name

Verified 24 October 2023 - Legal and Administrative Information Directorate (Prime Minister)

Can you give your child any first name? Is the number of first names limited? Is the choice of first name controlled? We tell you the main rules to know when choosing your child's first name.

The parents of the child choose his first name(s).

The first name has been chosen during the birth declaration.

The registrar can then write the birth certificate.

You must follow the following rules to choose your child's first name:

  • The first name, alone or associated with the surname, shall not be contrary to the best interests of the child.
    Example: ridiculous or rude first name.
  • The first name must respect the right of another person to have his family name protected.
    Example: choose as first name the surname from a famous person.
  • The child who wears the name of only one of his parents cannot have the other parent's first name.
    Example: a child has Mr. Dupont and Ms. Martin as parents. If this child has only Dupont as his last name, he cannot have Martin as his first name.

There is no rule on the number of first names of the child.

However, the registrar may consider that the multiplicity of first names is contrary to the best interests of the child.


Any first name entered in the birth certificate can be selected as common first name, whatever his order.

When you declare the birth of your child, you must specify spelling of the given name(s) chosen.

If you give multiple first names to your child, they are comma separated.

How is a compound first name written?

The first names of a compound first name are separated by a dash or by a simple space.

If you choose a compound first name, you must specify whether you want to separate the first names with a dash or by a simple space.

Example :

Marie-Anne and Marie Anne are compound names.

Marie, Anne are two simple names.

What alphabetic characters are allowed?

The alphabet used must be the one used to write French.

Alphabetical characters that are not used in the French language are not allowed.

Example: ña.


You can to have the birth certificate rectified if you notice an error in the first name. For example, misspelled first name, forgot the hyphen or space for a compound first name.

The registrar control each first name chosen by the parents at the time of birth registration.

The check shall cover the first name only, on the first name associated with other first names, and on the first name associated with the surname.

The registrar cannot refuse first names chosen by the parents.

He warns the public prosecutor if the choice of the parents seems to him contrary to the best interests of the child or at right of another person to have his surname.

The public prosecutor may enter the Jaf: titleContent.

The Jaf: titleContent can order the deletion of the given name on civil registration records.

The Jaf: titleContent assigns a first name to the child if the parents do not choose a different first name.

Who can help me?

Find who can answer your questions in your region