Changing your federal identity documents to reflect your correct gender and name can seem challenging. In the U.S. there is no single application you can submit to change all your documents; you will need to change your documents with each individual agency, and each agency has its own procedures to follow. Minors can get updated documents too, but note that all applications for minors are subject to special parental consent requirements.
State laws are different than Federal laws. Some states require documentation of sex reassignment surgery in order to change your gender marker on your birth certificate.
Federal law allows you to change your name and gender marker on your passport. This allows a transgender individual to get proper Federal i.d. and bypass state laws. Also, for a teen about to take driver’s ed, if you go the passport route, the teen is able to get his/her permit and license with the preferred name and gender.
You can find detailed instructions for changing your federal identity documents on the websites for these organizations:
- National Center for Transgender Equality http://transequality.org/documents
- Transgender Law Center http://transgenderlawcenter.org/issues/id/id-please
These are the federal agencies you need to contact and a brief description of what you need to do:
Social Security Administration
You must appear in person at a Social Security Office.
NAME change: You must submit one of these:
- Name change court order (original or certified copy)
- Marriage, civil union, or domestic partnership certificate (original or certified copy)
- Divorce decree (original or certified copy)
- Certificate of citizenship or naturalization (original only)
GENDER change: You must submit one of these:
- A U.S. passport showing the correct gender,
- A birth certificate showing the correct gender,
- A court order recognizing the correct gender
- A signed letter from a provider confirming you have had appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition (see *note below)
United States Passport
- You must obtain a court ordered name change.
- You are required to have valid ID and proof of U.S. citizenship.
- You must submit a passport application with a letter from a physician stating you have had “appropriate clinical treatment” for gender change. (See *note below)
Immigration Service Documents
- It is best to start the immigration process with the correct or preferred “name.”
- A court order or other legal name change should be obtained.
GENDER change: you will need one of these three:
- An amended birth certificate or passport
- A court ordered gender change
- A letter from physician regarding “appropriate clinical treatment.” (See *note below)
*NOTE: The wording of the physician letter is very important and needs to include the words “appropriate clinical treatment.” You can view a sample and specific instructions here.
The information here is gathered from Transgender Law Center and is only a basic guide. For the most up-to-date information, and for guidance through the process, contact these great organizations:
- Transgender Law Center http://transgenderlawcenter.org/
- Telephone helpline: 415.865.0176
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- National Center for Transgender Equality http://transequality.org/
If you still need assistance after checking out these resources, feel free to contact one of our Ally Moms. We are in about 2 dozen U.S. states, Canada and the United Kingdom.
This information was researched and put together by Janna, one of our Ally Moms in California.
Have you managed to find anything about the gender marker on a certificate of birth abroad. I was an army brat born in Germany and I don’t actually have a state-issued birth certificate
Hi. That’s a great question. I will ask the Ally Moms group and let you know.
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I would appreciate it more than you know. I’ve done some searching, but I can’t find anything. 🙂
Here is what I did for changing my birth certificate. I’m assuming this is the type of birth certificate they have. It was a fairly simple process. And what I think made mine go fast was that after I mailed in what I needed.. 2 weeks later I called and asked about a status. I basically called every week and talked to someone. That was the biggest pain but to be honest, compared to what others have to go through… its simple. The link below has all the info:
Scroll down to where it says, “To Amend a Consular Report of Birth Abroad (FS-240)” (Side note) Mine was NOT called an FS-240 only because I was born after they changed it to the newer name. So theirs might be a different number.. I forget what mine was. But its the same thing. If their CRBA was like mine and is not called “FS-240” you’ll have to write a quick note stating that you do not have it and sign that paper. I didn’t know and had to fax that into them after the fact.
I also made my check out with the extra $14.50 so they would overnight my new CRBA.
I feel like making sure you’re on top of calling to check the status is important. When calling about the status in 2 weeks, ask if you can find out who the specialist is that’s working on your case, and their direct number. Its much easier to call and leave messages.
The process is pretty simple… I think it took a couple of months total from sending to getting my new CRBA. But I didn’t run across any problems and surprisingly everyone I spoke with was very nice, even after I was telling them it was for a name and sex change on my CRBA.
I hope this helps! Let me know if you need more info.
You’re amazing. No wonder I couldn’t find anything…. the document name changed. You just made my whole day
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One of the “moms” is checking with a friend who just went through this. I hope to get you some info.
I am so glad that this is helpful for you. ❤
I just went to court for my name change yesterday. Just waiting for the official documents. Then the real fun begins. 🙂
Don’t forget, in some cases, such as your drivers license, you only have so many days to get it changed. 60 days in the case of Georgia.