Gender and Name Change & ID Documents

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Everyone should be able to have government issued identification documents that accurately reflect their gender identity.

Unfortunately, transgender and gender non-conforming individuals often find themselves with inconsistent gender markers on various forms of identification because the rules vary widely. Inconsistent gender markers also destroy the right to maintain transgender status privately.

In Ohio, you CAN change

  • Your legal name by filing a petition in court;
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    • To obtain a legal name change in Ohio, you must file an application in the probate court in the county where you reside, and you must have been a resident for at least one full year.
    • At least 30 days before the court hearing, you must publish notice of the hearing in a newspaper; however, you can have the publication requirements waived for personal safety.
    • Note, people with certain criminal convictions are ineligible for a name change.
  • The name and gender marker on your
    • Driver’s License/ Ohio ID 
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      • You can update your name and/or gender on an Ohio ID through the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles. To update your name, you must submit a court order certifying the name change.
      • To update your gender, you must complete a “Declaration of Gender Change” form.
        • This form includes a physician/psychologist statement that the gender change is being conducted in accordance with the World Professional Association for Transgendered Health’s Standard of Care.
        • You may request the form by
          • Calling 614-752-7600 or
          • E-mailing the Registrar on the BMV website. Note, the form is not available on the Ohio BMV website or at the Deputy Registrar Agencies.
        • The completed form may be faxed to 614-752-7306 or mailed to
          • Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles
            Attn: License Control
            PO BOX 16784
            Columbus, Ohio 43216-6784
      • It may take 7-10 days to process, but you will be notified in writing if the gender change is approved.
        • Afterwards, you must present the approval documentation to your local License Bureau, and you will be able to receive a corrected card for a duplicate fee of $24.50.
    • U.S. Passport 
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      • You can change your name and gender on your US Passport. To change your name, you must apply for a new passport.
        • If less than one year has passed since your passport was issued:
          • You can use this online guide to fill out and print Form DS-5504, or print Form DS-5504 and complete it by hand.
          • You must submit the form by mail along with your current passport, an original or certified name change document (no photocopies), and a color passport photo to
            • National Passport Processing Center
              P.O. Box 90107
              Philadelphia, PA 19190-0107
        • If more than one year has passed since your passport was issued:
          • You can use this online guide to fill out and print Form DS-82 or print Form DS-82 and complete it by hand.
          • You must submit the form by mail along with your current passport, an original or certified name change document (no photocopies), a color passport photo , and all applicable fees, to
            • National Passport Processing Center
              P.O. Box 90155
              Philadelphia, PA 19190-0107
        • *Note, some people may not be eligible to complete DS-82 and will need to submit others forms in person.
      • To change your gender on a U.S. Passport, you must apply for a new passport.
        Note, if all supporting documents with your application already reflect your correct gender, you do not need to submit a physician certification. Otherwise, see below.

        • You must complete and submit the following documents in person:
          • Application for a U.S. Passport (Form DS-11);
          • Proof of U.S. Citizenship;
            • Acceptable documents include a previous U.S. passport, certified birth certificate, or, for those born abroad, Certificate of Naturalization, Certificate of Citizenship, or Report of Birth Abroad.
          • Proof of Identity;
            • Acceptable documents must contain your signature and a photograph that is a good likeness of you.
            • These include a previous or current U.S. passport book; previous or current U.S. passport card; driver’s license (not a temporary or learner’s license); Certificate of Naturalization; Certificate of Citizenship; military identification; or federal, state, or municipal government employee identification card.
          • A recent color photograph 2×2 inches in size;
          • Fee; and
          • In addition to normally required U.S. Passport application documents, you must submit:
            • Proof of legal name change (if applicable); and
            • A physician statement that validates that you have either completed or are in process of treatment for gender transition. A description of any specific treatment is not required. The State Department has provided a template Physician’s Statement; however, the certification must be on the physician’s office letterhead.
          • Take these documents to any passport acceptance facility, which include courthouses, post offices, and some public libraries or municipal offices.*See the National Center for Transgender Equality’s ‘Know Your Rights: Passport’ page for more information on exceptions to the above.
    • Social Security Information
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        • Social Security cards only list names and social security numbers. However, the Social Security Administration maintains additional information in online records such as date of birth and gender. To change your gender on your Social Security record:
          1. Gather the following documents proving your:

          • Identity
            Acceptable documents must be current and show your name, identifying information (such as date of birth or age), and a photograph.

            • You may provide a U.S. driver’s license, state issued non-driver identification card, or a U.S. passport.
            • If you do not have these specific documents, you may be able to submit others including an employee identification card, a school identification card, a health insurance card (not a Medicare card), or a U.S. military identification card.
          • Gender
            To prove gender, the Social Security Administration needs to see a document with enough biographical information to clearly identify you. Below are acceptable documents.

            • Valid 10-year U.S. passport showing the new gender;
            • Court order directing legal recognition of change of gender; or
            • Medical certification of appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition in the form of an original letter from a licensed physician. The National Center for Transgender Equality has more information on letters that meet Social Security requirements.
          • U.S. Citizenship
            • U.S. birth certificate; or
            • Prior U.S. passport.

      2. Complete a new application for a Social Security Card; and
      3. Take or mail the completed application and documents to your local Social Security office.

Ohio is one of three states (along with Tennessee and Idaho) that currently does not allow individuals to change their gender marker on their birth certificate.

Join Equitas Health and TransOhio at Free Name and Gender Marker Change Legal Clinics around the state.

TransOhio is now accepting applications for Passport and Name Change financial assistance.

DISCLAIMER – The information on this website is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. Every case depends on the specific facts and circumstances involved. To submit a complaint for review, please go to our Legal Help page.

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