Maiden name on French driving licence

I have just received my first French driving licence, but it has only my maiden name on it. This means that it will not be useful for identification as I am always known by my married name. Has anyone else had this problem, and could you easily change for a new card with both names on?

1 Like

Did you know Hitler’s brother, Alois Hitler, worked in the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin? Interestingly they have chosen not to commemorate that fact by naming one of the hotel’s bars or function rooms after him.

having just seen this discussion again and seen Vero and Helens’ further replies, given I’m not French, but have been involved with the authorities in 4 Depts since 2001, have just reminded me, Yes it boils down to what the specific forms ask for :slight_smile:

nom du Naissance = your maiden name, which can be backed up by your birth certificate.

nom du marriage / nom d’usage / nom = Surname, both or either your passport or marriage certificate will back that up.

Pre-nom never changes does it - your Christian/ first name! Hope I’ve got all that right, so I put maiden name or married name depending on which way it’s specified on the form that’s asking. always a good idea to take birth, Marriage and divorce certificates, as a friend of mine had to once, plus passport if you are going to the sous or pre-fecture to do anything official, Mairie also I guess.

Nom d'usage! The only way you can actually change your patronyme is either by a lengthy process because your name is 'Stinker' or 'Hitler' or whatever & so likely to make people mean to you, OR by being adopted. But getting the use of a nom d'usage is fairly easy. But as so often it depends on who you talk to in the Préfecture etc, they seem to have differing interpretations of the law.

Not in my late wife's case Veronique. We were married in Grenoble in '82 and she always used her married name for all documentation after that.

Today, I called at the Préfecture to ask whether I can have both my names on my driving licence. But I was told that now all new licences are issued with just a woman’s maiden name on them, no other name and no address. I think this is to simplify things for any one who has been married and changed names more than once. Your birth name is yours all your life. So I think, for identification purposes, I shall have to carry the attestation I was given while waiting for the new licence, which has both names on it.

1 Like

I'm sure you are right as to how it works for foreigners - as I'm not a foreigner in France or in the UK I can tell you only how things apply to those of us who are natives ;-)

Nobody over about 13 is called 'Mademoiselle' any more unless they choose to call themselves mademoiselle to make a point. Same goes in Germany - any adultish young woman is Frau, eg when I was a 16 year old student I was addressed as Frau Langlands on all official university letters (and that was AGES ago).

If you are a UK citizen and your only ID is eg your passport, & it is in your married name, that's the name they will use on your French documents.

I have dual nationality and so I use my French birth certificate etc in France - so all my ID is in my birth name. Were I to have had only UK ID, they'd have to use whatever other name I use on it. As I think I have said, we are less picky with foreigners as we know they have funny foreign ways ;-)

just to muddy the waters Veronique, my French driving licence is in my married name, as was my English one that had to be translated. no sign of my maiden name yon any Uk docs We had to supply,I don’t think, or the functionnaire missed it, even my Carte vitale has my married name on it, but back then for the cv, newly arrived here, my family name was Morgan to me, I’d been married twice as long as I was single! perhaps the departments apply the procedures differently?

Brian you could well be right....:-)

I have also heard that there's a Fast Track for obtaining a French driving licence - if you (and your paperwork) pop down to your local Prefecture, accompanied by at least two of your great-grandparents, adorned with a beret and string of onions, standing on one leg and singing Le Marseillaise in your departmental'll be done and dusted in minutes!!

...and there was me thinking it had to be to Adam and Eve!

Frankly, I'm surprised that you're not required to provide a full family tree specifying your relationship to Napoleon in order to sign up for a supermarket loyalty card!

My wife has both married and maiden names on her French driving licence - no big deal - only a piece of admin paper.


The underlying problem to this post appears on SFR and other expat forums daily. It’s the fact that when people come across something that is different to the way that they have experienced in the past they are quick to classify it as wrong, old fashioned, inefficient, stupid or the like. Different needn’t mean any of those things. Perhaps I don’t get as frustrated as many other people about these experiences as I lived out of the U.K. for half a lifetime before moving to France and appreciate that other countries have different traditions, systems and ways of doing things.

The Swiss do include the wayward furriner father. We too have hyphenated our two - sounds painful doesn't it?

We have a livret de famille for OH and the kids but I get just a rather small mention as being the father and that's it, the page "père" isn't filled in as I'm not French (which got my goat a little until they popped in the also ran 'oh and their Dad is..." phrase!

and our kids have both surnames too.

I received my new licence in June and is in my maiden name as is my tax forms and the deeds of my house. I'm quite happy with the system and most French women are quite happy with it as shows women are individuals and not just a wife. It also ensures that a woman inherits her family's property and it doesn't pass to her husband as it will be in her name.

To be clear, two friends called Françoise by chance, have lived in the UK since who knows when and have French documentation have never had problems. Although both had English husbands neither became UK citizens, one took her husband's name whereas the other never used it. Although now retired, neither intends to leave England but both have always come to France to renew various things like driving licences and ID cards. Neither of them has ever mentioned any difficulties. So turning it round, I can't see that having a driving licence that corresponds with a birth certificate but not a married name and perhaps passport should be a problem.

True. But legally in France her 'real' name is Scott. Whether or not she uses it doesn't alter that. They probably don't get so twitchy about it as you are foreign and we know foreigners are funny about names ;-)