Alabama | National Center for Transgender Equality

Welcome to our one-stop hub for name and gender change information. Find out how to update your name and gender on state and federal IDs and records. 

COVID-19 disruptions: Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many courts and government offices have made significant changes to their operating procedures. This may cause delays in the processing of your name or gender marker change requests as a result. Contact your local court or other government offices for more details. You should keep dated copies of any materials you submit by mail or electronically. We understand this is a hardship for many, and we encourage you to reach out for support if you are distressed.

Not sure where to start? Here's a quick overview.

Please note that we are no longer accepting applications for the Name Change Program, but you can find information on how to update your legal name in this guide.

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Last updated November 2021

Name Change, Driver's License & Birth Certificate Policies in:

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Alabama Name Change Laws

Name Changes for Adults

Overview:

The process for an adult (in Alabama, a person who is 19 years or older) to change their name (not due to marriage or divorce) begins with the filing of a Verified Petition with the Probate Court in the jurisdiction in which the Petitioner (the person filing the petition) resides. The Petitioner must have lived within Alabama and the County in which they will be filing their application for at least one year.

After filing the Verified Petition and other appropriate forms described below, and paying the required filing fee for such, the Court will schedule a hearing date for the Petitioner.

  • The Court may grant or refuse the requested change of name. The granting of an application for a change of name is discretionary with the Court. For a decree of name change to be granted, the Probate Court must find compliance with the requirements of notice and the requirements for the allegations in the application. The Court must also find good and sufficient reason for the change, find the change consistent with the public interest and if the change of name is for a minor child, find that the change is in the best interests of the minor child.
  • A Petitioner cannot change their name (i) for a fraudulent purpose or (ii) to affect the rights of another person.
  • A Petitioner's name change cannot (i) use or include a curse word, (ii) racial slur, (iii) obscene/offensive word, or (iv) cause deliberate confusion.
  • A Petitioner cannot change their name if they (i) have been convicted of a felony or as a sex offender or (ii) are a defendant of a criminal charge.

 

Step 1: Get a Background Check

First, the Petitioner needs to complete the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency Application to Review Alabama Criminal History Record Information. This Application can either be signed in front of two witnesses, or in front of a Notary Public. The Petitioner must make a copy of a valid identification (such as a driver’s license) and attach it to this Application.

Next, the Petitioner needs to take the completed & signed Alabama Law Enforcement Agency Application to Review Alabama Criminal History Record Information to the local Sheriff’s office or police department, along with two (2) copies of the FBI Applicant Fingerprint Cards. There will be an administrative fee of $25 plus $5 for any additional copies (cash only).

The petitioner will receive the completed background check, or “rap sheet,” at the end of the records search.

 

Step 2: Complete Petition for Name Change

As the Petitioner awaits the completed background check, they need to complete the petition for the name change. The name change petition can be completed one of two ways: (1) Form PS-12: Petition for Adult Name Change, or (2) the Petitioner can use a local petition provided by their local Probate Court.

The Petition for Adult Name Change must be signed in front of a Notary Public. The Petitioner must bring proper identification (e.g. driver’s license) to the Notary Public.

 
Step 3: Gather Documents

Gather together the following documents, which are required to be submitted to the Probate Court in Petitioner's county:

  1. Form PS-12: Petition for Adult Name Change (or local Probate Court petition);
  2. Background Check (“Rap Sheet”);
  3. 2 Proofs of Residence (e.g., lease and utility bill);
  4. Photo Identification (e.g., driver’s license or passport);
  5. Birth Certificate (depending on the Petitioner's County, this may need to be an original or a copy); and
  6. Filing Fee (Check with the local Probate Court as the fee ranges from $25 to $95).
 
Step 4: File at the Probate Court

File the six documents identified above at the Probate Court in the county where the Petitioner is a resident. After the Petitioner submits all of the required documents and pays the filing fee, a hearing will be scheduled. A Petitioner who is unable to afford the filing fee can submit an Affidavit of Substantial Hardship and Order. In the meantime, the court will publish Petitioner's name change to the public through a newspaper that serves Petitioner's area or by posting at the courthouse.

 
Step 5: Attend the Hearing

The Petitioner must attend the court hearing. There may be a fee assessed by the court for the cost of publishing notice of Petitioner's new name in the newspaper. At the hearing, the Court may take evidence from any interested parties and may examine the Petitioner (or any other persons) under oath concerning the Petition.

If the Probate Judge grants the Petitioner's case, the new name will be certified through a Decree Confirming Declaration as to Change of Name. The Petitioner will need to use this Decree as their official form for changing their name with any government office or institution.

In the event that anyone files an objection to the Petitioner's request, the case will be contested, and the Petitioner is strongly urged to hire an attorney. If they do not retain an attorney, they will have to represent themselves in a contested hearing.

Last updated November 2021


Name Changes for Minors (Under 19)

Overview:

In Alabama, a name change for a minor (someone under the age of 19) must be filed by their parents on behalf of the minor. The process and requirements are similar to those described above for an adult name change, with some additional steps.

An attorney must perform the name change request on behalf of the parents if any of the following apply:

  • One of the parents does not consent to the name change;
  • One of the parents cannot be located; or
  • The birth certificate of the minor does not list the father and there is no court order or blood test stating the father’s name.

If none of the above statements apply, then the Petitioner's parents may begin the following process:

 
Step 1: Both Parents Submit a Background Check

First, the Petitioner's parents need to complete the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency Application to Review Alabama Criminal History Record Information (exception is made for a parent who is deceased or whose parental rights have been terminated). This Application can either be signed in front of two witnesses or in front of a Notary Public. The parents must make a copy of valid identification (such as a driver’s license) and attach it to this Application.

Next, the Petitioner's parents need to take the completed & signed Alabama Law Enforcement Agency Application to Review Alabama Criminal History Record Information to the local Sheriff’s office or police department, along with two (2) copies of the FBI Applicant Fingerprint Cards. There will be an administrative fee of $25 plus $5 for any additional copies (cash only).

The Petitioner's parents will receive the completed background check, or “rap sheet,” at the end of the records search.

 
Step 2: Complete Petition for Name Change & Consent Form

The Petitioner's parents must complete the Petition and Declaration for Change of Name of Minor Child. If the Petitioner is over 14 years old, then they must sign a Consent of Minor form. Both forms must be notarized.

 

Step 3: Petitioner’s Birth Certificate

A certified copy of the Petitioner’s birth certificate must be produced. If the Petitioner was born in Alabama, the birth certificate can be obtained by contacting the Center for Health Statistics at (334) 206-2637.

 

Step 4: Gather Documents

Gather together the following documents, which are required to be submitted to the Probate Court in Petitioner's area:

  1. Background Check (“Rap Sheet”) of both parents;
  2. Petitioner's Certified Birth Certificate (If the Petitioner's father’s name is not listed on the birth certificate, then a certified copy of a court order or blood test will be required);
  3. Petition and Declaration for Change of Name of Minor Child
  4. Consent of Minor form (if applicable);
  5. Photo Identification (e.g. driver’s license or passport); and
  6. Filing Fee (Check with the local Probate Court as the fee ranges from $25 to $95).

 

Step 5: File at the Probate Court

File the six documents identified above at the Probate Court in the county where the Petitioner is a resident. After the Petitioner's parents submit all of the required documents and pay the filing fee, a hearing will be scheduled. If only one of the parents is filing the petition, the other parent will be notified. The non-petitioning parent will have thirty (30) days to consent or object to the name change (per § 26-11-3). If the non-petitioning parent cannot be located, the Probate Court will be required to publish notice of the minor’s new name in the newspaper.

 
Step 6: Attend the Hearing

The parents and the Petitioner will be required to attend the hearing at the Probate Court. The Judge may ask the parents as well as the Petitioner specific questions about the petition. If the Probate Judge grants the Petitioner's case, the new name will be certified through a Decree Confirming Declaration as to Change of Name. The Petitioner will need to use this Decree as their official form for changing their name with any government office or institution.

Last updated November 2021

Alabama Drivers License Policy & Procedures

Overview:

In order to update the name on an Alabama ID, the applicant must first change their name with the Social Security Administration. For more information on that process, visit the Social Security Record section of the ID Documents Center. Once the Social Security records have been updated, the applicant must then submit the Decree Confirming Declaration as to Change of Name (or other court-ordered name change) to a Driver License Office. The Alabama Department of Public Safety addresses name changes here.

Note: In January 2021, Alabama's Policy Order 63 (requiring transgender individuals to show evidence of sex reassignment surgery in order to change the sex designation on their driver's license) was found to be unconstitutional, violating the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution. Additional litigation is in progress, and the current process (if any) for updating the sex designation on an Alabama ID is unclear.

 

Step 1: Gather Documents

Driver's License

To change the applicant's name on their Driver's License, they must gather the following documents:

  1. Updated Social Security card
  2. Two forms of identification, at least one of which contains a photograph (one form must be from the “primary” list) OR three forms of non-photo identification (one form must be from the “primary” list). (see here for list of "primary" and "secondary" documents)
  3. Acceptable school enrollment form or proof of graduation (if younger than 19 and applying for the first time)
  4. Applicants 18 or older who wish to complete all testing for a license must have a licensed driver, proof of car insurance and a vehicle that will pass inspection

 

Non-Driver Identification Card

To change the applicant's name on their Non-Driver Identification Card, they must gather the following documents:

  1. Updated Social Security Card
  2. One document from the primary list which verifies name and date of birth (see here for list of "primary" and "secondary" documents)
  3. Third form of identification from the "primary" or "secondary” lists (required only if primary document is a non-photo ID)
 
Step 2: Change Petitioner's Name with Alabama Department of Public Safety

The applicant should take the gathered documents for their name change, as well as those for their gender marker change (if applicable), in person to an Alabama Department of Public Safety Driver License Examining District Office

Last updated November 2021

Alabama Birth Certificate Laws

Amending the Name Only:

The applicant must complete the ADPH-HS-33 Application to Change an Alabama Birth or Death Certificate (as revised 06/09/2010). Alabama Vital Records will issue an "amended" birth certificate noting change of name, but will not issue a new birth certificate replacing the original. The fee to prepare an amended birth certificate is $15.00, which includes one certified copy. Additional copies of the same record ordered at the same time are $4.00 each.

 

Amending the Sex Only:

There is no clear guidance on the process or fees to change the sex field on an Alabama birth certificate. By statute, the applicant must submit a certified copy of an order of a court of competent jurisdiction indicating that their "sex… has been changed by surgical procedure and that the name of the individual has been changed" (Alabama Code § 22-9A-19, 22-9A-21). Alabama Vital Records will issue an amended birth certificate noting change of name and sex, but will not issue a new birth certificate replacing the original.

Last updated November 2021

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