If the famous Star Wars robot R2-D2 was to live in California he would have to go by another name. In fact, he would be able to retain only the lettersand remove the numbers, according to the Golden state law. Sure, there's a lot more to it than just choosing an arbitrary combination of letters and numbers, but at its core, it's still a pretty simple process, or at least it’s supposed to be.
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For millions of babies born each year in the US, there’s a faux pas list of names banned by state governments. The reason why states get a say in baby names is that birth certificate deliverance falls under their jurisdiction.
According to US Birth Certificates, here are five US states that have imposed name restrictions for newborns:
It seems that the maxim 'there’s nothing you can’t do while you’re in New York' doesn’t hold true for naming babies. The New York state has a ban on numbers and symbols in names and has established a limit of 30-character for first names and 40-character for surnames.
That means Elon Musk's son's name X Æ A-12 would not have been allowed. Luckily for him, he lives in LA, but he had to change the 12 to the roman numerals XII.
This southern state seems to be more generous with the characters in babies’ names. A total 100-character limit with no numbers and diacritical marks are what makes the newborns’ citizen names in the Lone Star State. That means if you wanted to name your baby Zoë or José, you wouldn't be allowed to.
When you have Georgia on your mind, don’t forget that the state of Georgia only imposes restrictions on symbols and accents in baby names. Like Texas, this means you can't name your baby Chloé or François.
Just like the others, babies from Ohio are not allowed to have numbers in their names but they aren’t prohibited to have hyphens, apostrophes and spaces. That means you can definitely name your baby Mary-Kate.
It seems that the strictest of this list is the state of Virginia. The Old Dominion takes names rather seriously. This state doesn't allow any symbols, numbers or special characters on the names of their newly born citizens.
With this in mind, prohibited baby names include King, Queen, Jesus Christ, III, Santa Claus, Majesty, Adolf Hitler, Messiah, the symbol @ and 1069 – weirdly enough.
US Birth Certificates: US Naming Laws by State