Pennsylvania Name Change Laws
To obtain a legal name change in Pennsylvania, an applicant must submit a petition to the court. The applicant must publish notice of the hearing in two newspapers, but publication requirements can be waived and records can be sealed for the applicant’s safety. Individuals with a felony conviction may change their name if more than two years have passed since the end of the sentence and if not under probation or parole, or if the individual has been pardoned. Individuals who have been convicted of violent crimes are not eligible to change their name. Upon approval of the name change, the court will notify the Attorney General and the State Policy who keep the name change information in a central repository. (54 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. §§ 701-705).
For instructions on legal name changes for minors under 18 in Pennsylvania, see NCTE's Name Changes for Minors in Pennsylvania resource.
Pennsylvania Drivers License Policy & Procedures
In order to update the name and/or gender on a Pennsylvania ID, the applicant must submit the following:
- A form for change, correction, or replacement of an ID,
- If changing the name, a court order certifying the name change,
- If changing the gender marker, a form signed by a licensed provider certifying the applicant's gender identity.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation addresses name change here.
Pennsylvania Birth Certificate Laws
As of August 8, 2016, Pennsylvania Department of Health policy allows individuals to update the gender marker on their birth certificate with a letter from a physician stating that they have had appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition.
To apply for an amended birth certificate, applicants over the age of 18 should submit:
- The birth certificate with the requested changes on the reverse side, or if you don't have the birth certificate complete a Correction Form with the requested changes listed;
- An Application for Certified Copy of Birth Record;
- A copy of your government-issued photo ID that verifies legal name and mailing address (listed gender does not matter), or two other forms of identification;
- A check or money order for $20;
- A physician's statement on office letterhead saying that the applicant has had appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition. You can use our Sample Physician Statement;
Mail completed affidavit form, documents, application, fee and ID to:
Division of Vital Records
101 S. Mercer Street P.O. Box 1528
New Castle, PA 16103
To apply for an amended birth certificate for individuals under the age of 18 a parent must complete the application, and no medical documentation is required. The parent must indicate which sex should appear on the birth certificate, sign in the presence of a notary, and include a photocopy of the parent's ID. See the policy for specific instructions.