Passports | National Center for Transgender Equality

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Passports

Passport gender change

In June 2021, the State Department announced that it would no longer require passport applicants to submit medical certification to change the gender marker on their passports. Under this policy, a transgender person can obtain a passport reflecting their gender by submitting an application with the chosen gender marker selected. This policy replaced the Department’s old policy requiring certification by a physican of appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition, which had been in place since 2010.

As of summer 2021, applicants may self-select an M or F gender marker for their passport. In the same policy announcement, the State Department stated that an X gender marker would also be available for selection in the near future.

Can I Get a Passport With My Current Gender?

Under the current policy, you can obtain a full ten-year passport with an updated gender marker upon request by filling out an application form and indicating whether you would like your gender marker to read "M" or "F." As of October 2021, those are the only gender markers available on a U.S. passport. However, the State Department has indicated that it intends to expand these options to include an "X" marker in 2022.

The State Department website explaining Sex Designation Changes is available here: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports/need-passport/selec...

Do I Need a Physician’s Certification?

No. As of June 2021, State Department policy is that changing the gender marker on a U.S. passport does not require a physician's certification. You may select the gender marker you wish to appear on your passport by choosing one of the available options on an application form. No additional documentation is necessary.

Does the State Department Need Other Medical Information?

You do not need to submit any details or documentation regarding your medical history or treatment in order to update your gender marker. Your doctor does not need to certify that you have undergone any specific treatment or procedure and we recommend, for the sake of your privacy and in order to not confuse the process, that you do not include any additional medical information with your passport application.

Can Transgender Children Get Updated Passports?

The current gender change policy applies to both adults and minors. All passport applications for minors are subject to special parental consent requirements. (These requirements apply to all minors, not just transgender minors.) See the State Department instructions on applying for a passport for children under 16 or for applicants age 16 and 17.

 

How Do I Apply for a Passport?

 

Updating Your Gender Marker on an Existing Passport or Getting a Passport for the First Time

If you are applying to change your gender marker, submitting a passport application for the first time, or applying for a passport when your old passport has expired, you must apply in person.

You will need to complete and submit: 

  1. Application for U.S. Passport (Form DS-11);
  2. Proof of U.S. Citizenship (such as a previous U.S. Passport, certified Birth Certificate, Certificate of Naturalization, or Report of Birth Abroad);
  3. Proof of Identity that contains your signature and photograph that is “a good likeness to you” (such as a previous U.S. Passport, a Driver’s License, a Certificate of Naturalization, Military Identification, or a Government Employee Identification Card). You must present the original AND provide a photocopy of the front and back side with your application;
  4. A recent color photograph 2x2 inches in size;
  5. If you are changing your name on your passport, an Order for Name Change (certified copy showing a seal and officiate/judge signature);
  6. Fee (See Department of State Passport Fees for cost). 
Take these documents and fees in person to any Passport Acceptance Facility. To find the acceptance facility closest to you, visit the State Department’s website, Passport Acceptance Facility Search Page, at http://iafdb.travel.state.gov or call the National Passport Information Center at 1-877-487-2778.

 

Updating Your Legal Name Only (no gender marker update) on an Existing Valid Passport

When you already have a valid Passport, you may submit a Passport Renewal Application to change your legal name on the passport by mail. You will need to complete and submit: 

  1. A Passport Renewal Application (Form DS-82);
  2. Your most recent Passport (book or card);
  3. A recent color photograph 2x2 inches in size;
  4. Order for Name Change (certified copy showing a seal and officiate/judge signature);
  5. Fee (See Department of State Passport Fees for cost). 
 

What is a Passport Card and How Do I Apply For One?

A U.S. passport card is a wallet-sized card that looks like a driver’s license. A passport card is significantly less expensive than a traditional passport book but cannot be used for international travel by air. A passport card may be used as everyday identification within the United States and may be used to enter the United States from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda at land border crossings or sea ports-of-entry. Application forms and documentation requirements for a passport card are the same as for a passport book; simply check “passport card” instead of or in addition to "passport book" on the application form.

 

How Do I Change a Limited Validity to a Full Validity Passport?

As of October 2021, it seems that the State Department no longer distinguishes between a transition that is “in process” and one that is “complete.” This distinction was originally intended for applicants who had recently begun a gender transition and needed documentation to travel abroad, before the requirement for undergoing a surgical procedure was removed. As there is no longer any requirement to provide medical certification to justify a change in gender marker on a U.S. passport, these limited validity passports should no longer be issued in gender marker change cases.

If you have been previously issued a limited validity two-year passport, you should submit a completed Form DS 5504, Application for a U.S. Passport (Name Change, Data Correction and Limited Passport Book Replacement) to extend to a full validity passport. No additional fee is required unless you request expedited service.

You may mail in your application to the National Passport Processing Center or drop off your completed application and required documentation to your local State Department Office.  Note that any documents you mail in will be returned if not damaged. 

By Mail, Routine Service: National Passport Processing Center, P.O. Box 90107, Philadelphia, PA 19190-0107

By Mail, Expedited Service (Additional Fee): National Passport Processing Center, P.O. Box 90907, Philadelphia, PA 19190-0107

In Person: To locate your local Passport Acceptance Facility, please visit http://iafdb.travel.state.gov/.

Can I update a Consular Record of Birth Abroad?

Yes. A Consular Record of Birth Abroad (CRBA) is the equivalent of a birth certificate for American citizens born abroad. The policy for passports also applies for updating a CRBA. No medical documentation is necessary to request a change to CRBA gender marker.

To Amend a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, You Must Submit:

  1. A notarized written (or typed) request detailing the amendment or correction needed;
  2. Certified copies of documents justifying the amendment requested, in this case a court ordered name change, if applicable;
  3. An original or replacement consular report of birth abroad: any birth record issued from the Department of State such as an FS-240 (for birth after January 3, 2011), replacement FS-240,  Certification of Report of Birth DS-1350 (for birth Nov 1, 1990 - Jan 2, 2011) or Certification of Birth Abroad FS-545 (for birth prior to November 1, 1990); or a notarized affidavit stating the whereabouts of the original or any replacement FS-240, DS-1350, FS-545 issued from the Department of State;
  4. A copy of requester’s valid identification;
  5. A $50.00 check or money order made payable to “Department of State”. The Department will assume no responsibility for cash lost in the mail.

Mail to:

Department of State
Passport Vital Records Section
44132 Mercure Cir.
PO Box 1213
Sterling, VA 20166-1213

To check the status of your FS-240 request, call 202-485-8300. You can find information about amendments on the State Department website here: https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/abroad/events-and-records/birth/replace-or-amend-consular-report-of-birth-abroad.html.

What If I Face Problems Updating my Passport?

The current policy specifically instructs passport specialists to treat transgender applicants with respect, including using appropriate pronouns and not asking unrelated questions. If you encounter improper requests for information, unprofessional behavior, or other difficulties obtaining a passport, you can call the National Passport Information Center at 1-855-865-7755 to make a complaint or submit a complaint online through the Department of State's Customer Survey. You can also contact NCTE, your Regional Passport Office, or your U.S. Senator’s Office. NCTE is consistently monitoring implementation of this policy.

If you encounter discrimination, harassment or other serious difficulties relating to being transgender while traveling abroad, contact the closest U.S. Consulate or Embassy immediately.

Additional Resources

Full text of the gender change policy - US State Department Foreign Affairs Manual, 8 FAM 403.3 Gender Change:
https://fam.state.gov/FAM/08FAM/08FAM040303.html

US State Department Gender Designation Information:
https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports/apply-renew-passpor...

US State Department Passport Home:
http://travel.state.gov/passport/passport_1738.html

US State Department, Change Your Name in Your Passport:
https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/passports/services/correct...

US State Department, Frequently Asked Questions on Passports and Citizenship Documents:
https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/passports/FAQs.html

Call the National Passport Information Center for Information or Complaints:
1-877-487-2778

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