South Carolina Identity Documents

South Carolina Name Change Laws

To obtain a legal name change in South Carolina, an applicant must submit a petition to the court. The applicant must be fingerprinted and undergo a background check for criminal convictions or financial obligations. The court may require a hearing. No publication is required. (S.C. Code Ann. § 15-49-10 to § 15-49-50).

For instructions on legal name changes for minors under 18 in South Carolina, see NCTE's Name Changes for Minors in South Carolina resource.

South Carolina Drivers License Policy & Procedures

In order to update name and/or gender on a South Carolina ID, the applicant must submit (1) a Notification of Change of Address or Name form and a court order certifying the name change (if applicable) and/or (2) a court order from any state ordering the applicant's gender marker changed, or a replaced or amended birth certificate showing the correct gender. The South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles addresses name change here. Applicants must notify the DMV of a legal name change within 10 days of the name change.

South Carolina Birth Certificate Laws

South Carolina does not have a specific gender correction provision, but the general statute governing corrections to birth certificates is S.C. Code Ann. § 63-3-530(9) and 44-63-150. Amending the name or gender marker on a birth certificate will likely require a court order. The Department of Health has specific instructions on what a court order must reflect, and specifically do not require evidence of sex reassignment surgery. However, keep in mind that the decision to grant a court order is up to the judge's discretion. Many judges have never seen a gender correction request and need to be educated, and they often want evidence of surgery. The updated certificate will be marked as amended but what information was amended will not be indicated.

To apply for an amended birth certificate an applicant is required to submit:

  • An Application for Birth Certificate
  • A copy of the individual’s photo ID (see application for list of acceptable ID)
  • A court order for correcting the birth certificate (see below instructions) establishing the following:
    • Medical certification of a physical change related to sex (evidence of sex reassignment surgery is NOT required)
    • A licensed physician and the court are satisfied that medical treatment has been completed, and the individual is now a different sex from their biological sex at birth and is not merely in the process of transitioning (although additional procedures or treatment may still be continuing and life-long)
    • The change is permanent in nature
    • The change in sex is made with the intent to change permanently and for all purposes.
  • Payment of the applicable fee (non-refundable $12 fee, additional copies $3 each) made payable to SC DHEC

Mail application and payment to:

SC DHEC Vital Records
2600 Bull Street
Columbia, SC 29201

How to Apply for a Court Order For Sex Change:

Applicants can apply for a court order for correcting a birth certificate's sex field at the same time as a name change or separately. The applicant should submit to the Family Court:

  1. A Petition for Change of Sex indicating the desire to amend the sex field on their birth certificate and including:
  • Name
  • Date of Birth
  • Place of Residence and Birth
  • Desired Change
  • Reason for the Change

  2. Testimony or a notarized statement in proper affidavit form from a licensed physician containing the following language:

“This statement is a medical certification of a change of sex of PATIENT. PATIENT has completed medical treatment resulting in physical changes related to sex. PATIENT is a different sex from their biological sex at birth, and is not merely in the process of transitioning, although additional procedures or treatment may still be continuing and life-long. PATIENT’s change is permanent in nature and their change in sex is made with the intent to change permanently and for all purposes. PATIENT's identification documents should be updated accordingly.”

  3. $150 Money Order made out to Family Court.

Submit application to the Family Court in your circuit: Request a hearing for one hour.

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