Updating Identity Documents

For assistance completing paperwork, or for questions about the process, please schedule an appointment

 
 
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Guides

Simplified Flow Sheet, prepared by JM Jaffe.

This California-specific guide simplifies the process to update the name and gender marker designation on identity documents to a one-pager. Updated September 1, 2018 in light of SB179.

 

ID Please (Federal Guide), prepared by the Transgender Law Center. 

ID Please (Full Guide to changing California identity documents), prepared by the Transgender Law Center. 

Gives an overview of the process to update your name and gender designation on identity documents.

 
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physician Letter Template

You only need a physicians letter if you are changing your gender marker designation, not if you are changing your name only.

If your provider is a Nurse Practitioner or Physician's Assistant, your letter will need to be co-signed by their attending MD or DO.

You will need the ORIGINAL signed version of the letter. Request multiple originals from your doctor. To be safe, I usually recommend requesting five original letters.

The following letter should be sufficient to change federal documents like Social Security Card and Passport. As of September 1, 2018, you no longer need a physician's letter for a California Court Order; and as of January 1, 2019, you no longer need a physician's letter to change a California Birth Certificate and California Driver's License.

Physician's Letter Template

 
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what are the laws in my state?

If you don't live in California and would like to change your driver's license or were not born in California and would like to change your birth certificate, the requirements for what needs to be written in the physician's letter is likely different. The National Center for Transgender Equality and Lambda Legal have search functions to determine the laws applicable to your state and what needs to be written in your letter.

NCTE's Identity Documents Center 

Lambda Legal's Identity Documents Center

 
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 California Court Order

As of Sept 1, 2018, SB179 goes into effect. This means:

  • Non-binary has been added as a gender option in addition to male and female

  • Physician's letter is no longer required

  • Court hearing is no longer required to approve the court order, just need to file the paperwork.

Name Only

Gender Marker Only

Name & Gender Marker

Currently, the CA court order fee is $435. If you make under 200% FPL, you could be eligible for a fee waiver.  You can apply by completing these forms: FW-001 FW-002 FW-003

File these completed forms with the clerk within the Civil Division at the Superior Court in the county in which you reside or you may complete them online here if you’re only changing your name.  You will be given a court hearing date.  You do not need to attend this court date.  You will then be provided with a Court Order document which links your old name and gender marker to your new one.  Request multiple original certified court order copies. I usually recommend at least two.

 
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Social Security

Name Only

  • SS-5

  • Certified Court Order

  • Proof of Citizenship (Passport or Birth Certificate)

  • Photo Identification (Passport or State-Issued ID)

  • No Fee

  • Can be mailed to or filed in-person at your local social security office

    • If filing by mail, all original documents will be mailed back to you

Gender Marker Only OR Name & Gender Marker

  • SS-5

  • Certified Court Order

  • Proof of Citizenship (Passport or Birth Certificate)

  • Photo Identification (Passport or State-Issued ID)

  • Physician's Letter

  • No Fee

  • Must be filed in-person at your local social security office.

For those on SSDI, ask Social Security to forward your updated information to SSDI so your Medicare/Medicaid information may be changed.

 
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california Driver's License or State ID

If you do NOT reside in California, consult the "What are the Laws in My State" Section above.

Name Only, Gender Marker Only, or Name & Gender Marker

The Fee is $28 paid in-person at the DMV (cash, check, credit, money order)

Must File In-Person at your local DMV

 

**NOTE: As of January 1, 2019, non-binary will be added as a gender category option on a California license in addition to male and female. Also, the physician's certification is no longer required to change the gender marker.

 
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Passport

Name Only

  • If you have a valid passport that was issued over one year ago and less than 15 years ago and was issued when you were at least 16 years old:

    • DS-82

    • Certified Court Order

    • Current Valid Passport

    • New Passport Photo

    • Fee of $110

      • Check payable to U.S. Department of State

    • Can File by Mail

  • If you have a valid passport that was issued less than one year ago:

    • DS-5504

    • Certified Court Order

    • Current Valid Passport

    • New Passport Photo

    • No Fee

    • Can File by Mail

  • If you are ineligible to use the above two options:

Mailing Addresses:

Routine Service (If you live in CA, FL, IL, MN, NY, or TX):

               National Passport Processing Center
                Post Office Box 640155
                Irving, TX 75064-0155

Routine Service (If you live in any other state or Canada):

                National Passport Processing Center
                Post Office Box 90155
                Philadelphia, PA 19190-0155

Expedited Service (additional fee applies):
Write "EXPEDITE" on the outside of the mailing envelope.

                National Passport Processing Center
                Post Office Box 90955
                Philadelphia, PA 19190-0955

Gender Marker Only OR Name & Gender Marker

  • DS-11

  • Certified Court Order

  • Proof of US Citizenship (such as a Birth Certificate)

  • State-Issued Photo ID

  • New Passport Photo

  • Physician's Letter

  • Fee of $110

    • Check payable to U.S. Department of State

  • Must File In-Person at a location that accepts Passport Applications

 
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California Birth Certificate

If you were NOT born in California, consult the "What are the Laws in My State" Section above.

Name Only

  • VS-23

  • Certified Court Order

  • Current Birth Certificate

  • Fee of $23 (requests for additional copies of your new birth certificate are $25 each)

    • Check payable to CDPH Vital Records

  • Mail to CA's Office of Vital Records.

Gender Marker Only

  • VS-24

  • Certified Court Order

  • Current Birth Certificate

  • Fee of $23 (requests for additional copies of your new birth certificate are $25 each)

    • Check payable to CDPH Vital Records

  • Mail to CA's Office of Vital Records.

CA Office of Vital Records Address:
                California Dept of Public Health, Vital Records
                MS 5103
                Post Office Box 997410
                Sacramento, CA 95890-7410

 

**NOTE: As of January 1, 2019, non-binary will be added as a gender category option on a California birth certificate in addition to male and female. Also, the physician's certification letter is no longer required.

 
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Immigration Documents

Name Only

Gender Marker OR Name & Gender Marker

  • I-90

  • Current Photo

  • Copy of Court Order

  • Copy of Physician's Letter

  • Fee of $540 or Fee Waiver Form (I-912)

    • Check payable to U.S. Department of Homeland Security

  • File Online or Mail to USCIS

    • P.O. Box 21262, Phoenix, AZ, 85036.