Changing your name and gender markers can be long, detailed and sometimes tedious process. It is important to know that there is no national uniform process to address name and gender marker changes – each state or federal agency, organization, and company may have different requirements to change your name and gender marker. While this can be frustrating, here is one approach to help you get the initial documents that should pave the way to make all other name and gender marker changes easier. Also, please note: this is a suggested sequence and there may be different factors to take account of when pursuing a name and gender change, such as country or state of birth, as well as the county you live in.
The National Center for Transgender Equality website has an identification document center that provides information on process of changing your birth certificate in all 50 states. For more information, click here.
Sequence of Changing Identity Documents
1. Obtain a Court Ordered Name Change
2. Obtain a Court Ordered Gender Change
3. Change Name and Gender with Social Security Administration
4. Change of Name and Gender with Oregon DMV
5. If born in Oregon – Change name and gender on birth certificate
6. Change Name and Gender on Passport
What’s Required to Change My Name?
The process to legally change your name can take up to 8 weeks and often requires two trips to the county courthouse – a trip to file your petition for name change, and a trip to attend a hearing to change your name. It is possible to change your name and gender at the same time.
1. Visit your local county courthouse and ask to be directed to the family law clerk, who will help you locate the appropriate paperwork to file your name change. The Oregon Judicial Department’s Family Law Program does provide paperwork online here, but do take note that not all counties will accept and use the same paperwork. If you are using this paperwork, do ask if this can be used in your own county.
2. Each county should have a packet of documents for you to complete, and instructions on how to complete them, including the requirements to change your name. You will need to complete and file your paperwork with the clerk and post notice of the name change (location varies by county).
3. Take note that Oregon’s gender change statute asks the petitioner A.) if they have or not undergone surgical, hormonal or other treatment appropriate for me for the purpose of gender transition, and B.) if they declare that sexual reassignment is complete. You must be able to fill out both of these boxes to satisfy the state’s requirement for gender change. When you file your paperwork with the clerk, you will schedule your hearing date. Depending on your county the date may be as long as 8 weeks away; often times you can get an earlier date.
4. Filing fees vary by county.
A legal name and/or gender change must be ordered by a judge in Oregon.
If you were not born in Oregon, do be mindful of the birth certificate requirements of your state of birth when filing your court order. Currently, Idaho, Tennessee, and Ohio do not provide means for transgender people to alter their birth certificates. Kansas has a process for changing the gender marker on a birth certificate, but their Department of Vital Records has no authority to do so.
What’s Required to Change the Gender Marker on My Driver’s License?
Now people can fill out an easy gender marker change form to change their gender designation on their driver license and IDs. This form asks the applicant to fill out the gender marker they wish to have listed on their license or ID card. (In the past, a service provider or medical provider needed to sign the form. As of July 1st, 2017, individuals are now able to attest to their own gender identity.) Please note that you do not need to provide proof of surgery to have your name changed or a court ordered gender marker change. You are also eligible to receive a new photo when you apply to change your DMV gender marker.
As of July 2017, Oregon will begin issuing non-binary driver’s licenses and IDs. However, it’s unclear if this option will become available on birth certificates in the near future. We have created a detailed FAQ with more information on how to obtain a non-binary ID and what to expect when traveling or filling out paperwork — you can read it here.
Oregon’s Driver’s License Policy & Procedures
To update name and/or gender on an Oregon ID, the applicant must apply in person, turn in their current Oregon license, permit, or ID, and do the following:
1. Submit an Application for a new ID;
2. Pay the required fee;
3. Provide a court order certifying the name change, if relevant, and/or;
4. Submit one of the below documents that accurately reflects gender identity:
• A DMV Change of Gender Designation Form (Form 735-7401),
• A certified court order of gender change,
• A U.S. government-issued birth record amended with the desired gender, a U.S. passport amended with the desired gender.
5. Take a new photograph at the DMV office. The Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles addresses name change here. Applicants must notify the DMV of a legal name change within 30 days of the name change.
What Process Does Oregon Require to Change My Gender on My Birth Certificate?
In 2014, Oregon removed surgery requirements to get a gender marker changed on an Oregon birth certificate. Individuals now can get a new birth certificate by getting a court order for gender change and submitting the order, a vital records order form, a signed statement of name change, and a fee to the Oregon Center for Health and Vital Statistics.
To get a court order for gender change in Oregon, you will need to apply at your local courthouse and bring a letter to the judge stating that you have “undergone surgical, hormonal, or other treatment appropriate for [you] for the purpose of gender transition and that sexual reassignment has been completed.” ORS 33.460. For youth, undergoing appropriate treatment and completing gender transition may simply include a diagnosis of gender dysphoria, counseling support of gender transition, puberty blockers (depending on the individual’s age), and/or living in the gender they identify as. The main elements that need to be in the letter are a diagnosis of gender dysphoria, documentation of appropriate treatment for the individual (which could just be counseling), and acknowledgment that the individual has completed gender transition. The full instructions to file a court order of a change of sex can be found here.
How Do I Change the Gender in My SSA Record?
To change your gender marker record on file with Social Security, you will need to submit one of the following:
1. A U.S. passport showing the correct gender,
2. A court order recognizing the correct gender,
3. A birth certificate showing the correct gender, or
4. A signed letter from a provider confirming you have had appropriate clinical treatment for
If you use a physician letter, there are very specific instructions and requirements to follow and they can be found by visiting National Center for Transgender Equality’s ID document center here.
How Do I Change My Passport to Reflect My New Gender Designation?
In June 2010, the State Department issued a new policy that makes it easier for transgender people to get a passport that affirms their correct gender identity. Under the new policy, a transgender person can get an updated passport by submitting a certification from a physician confirming that they have undergone appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition. A physician certification is a letter from a licensed physician with whom you have a patient relationship, and who is familiar with your transgender health care history. Under the new policy, a physician certification is required if all the documents you submit with your application (driver’s license, birth certificate etc.) do not document your gender. For full instructions see the National Center for Transgender Equality’s identity document center here.
Full text of the new policy: US State Department Foreign Affairs Manual, 7 FAM 300 Appendix M: Gender Change
National Passport Information Center; 1-877-487-2778
Passport adjudicators and consular officers must not ask for additional medical information from the applicant. The best way to submit this information is with an accompanying DS-5504 form, but if you have had a valid passport for longer than one year you may need to file a DS-82 form instead. Both of these forms are available online at http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/passports/forms.html.
Note that since the State Department’s change of regulations for passports, these requirements have changed slightly, and interpretation is new and varying. For an up-to-date guide on the new policy, read the National Center for Transgender Equality’s analysis at http://transequality.org/Issues/federal_documents.html#passport_gender.
Changing Gender or Name on Immigration Documents
The U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services issues a variety of documents that show identity and immigration status in the United States. These include, but are not limited to, Employment Authorization Documents, Refugee Travel Documents, Permanent Resident Cards, and Naturalization Certificates. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) allows individuals to update the name and/or gender marker on immigration documents through the procedures described in detail at the National Center for Transgender Equality at www.transequality.org.