When filling out a variety of forms in the US, there is a specific way in which to fill out your name. This will be your first name, followed by your middle initial, and finally your last name. However, there are some forms where you will indicate your last name first.
You will do this when registering for classes, applying for a driver’s license, or submitting a request for a loan, among many others. Every form is different and there is no one set standard. Either you will start with your first name or your last name.
Your first name is what everyone calls you. On a form, you should use your full and legal birth name. Avoid writing in nicknames as this can cause some problems depending on what you’re filling out. For instance, if people call you Jonny but your full, real name is Jonathan, then Jonathan will be what you use to fill out the field indicating your first name.
On 95% of the forms you come across in the United States, you will only indicate a single letter, or initial, for your middle name. Also called a second name, most places do not require your full middle name. However, for legal documents like social security cards, driver’s licenses, and medical forms, you will have to give your full middle name.
Usually, the instructions will indicate which version you should provide. In the event you don’t have a middle name, then leave it blank or write “n/a.” This means “not applicable.”
The field indicating your last name must be your legal birth-given or married name. For women who are in the process of divorce, you must indicate your married name until your name change request completes. You cannot use your maiden name until it’s legally registered to do so.
Examples of Format
The following examples show the different ways people display their names on forms.
Amelia R. Fletcher
First Name M.I. Last Name
Last Name First Name M.I.
Isabelle n/a Fuentes
First Name Middle Name Last Name
Burnside Stanley Bartholomew
Last Name First Name Middle Name
The method in which you fill out a form using your first, middle, and last names isn’t difficult. Just follow the instructions and pay attention to the required layout. Remember, always use your legal name.