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How to get a passport after a gender change

by Tony
(San Francisco, California, United States)

Question: What do I do if I have changed my gender legally but my birth certificate reflects the wrong gender? Incidentally, I am from Ohio so I will be unable to get a birth certificate that reflects my gender change. Thank you for your help.


Answer: In June 2010, the U.S. State Department announced a new passport policy allowing transgender individuals to obtain a passport in their new gender; the policy was last updated in January 2012. Under the new policy, you can obtain a ten-year passport in your new gender if you have completed gender transition, or you can obtain a renewable two-year passport in your new gender if you are in the process of gender transition.

For new passports, you must submit a completed Form DS-11 application. Your supporting documentation should include the following, in addition to the normally required documents:
  • ID that resembles your current appearance
  • Passport photo that resembles your current appearance
  • A physician certificate that validates whether your gender transition is either in process or complete (required if you would like your passport issued in your new gender)
  • Proof of legal name change (if applicable).

If a physician certifies that your transition is complete, you are eligible for a full validity ten-year passport. The signed original statement from the attending medical physician must be on office letterhead and include:
  • Physician’s full name
  • Medical license or certificate number
  • Issuing state or other jurisdiction of medical license/certificate
  • Address and telephone number of the physician
  • Language stating that he or she is your attending physician and that he or she has a doctor/patient relationship with you
  • Language stating you have had appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition to the new gender (male or female)
  • Language stating “I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States that the forgoing is true and correct”

If a physician certifies that your transition is in process, you are eligible for a limited validity two-year passport. The signed original statement from the attending medical physician must be on office letterhead and include:
  • Physician’s full name
  • Medical license or certificate number
  • Issuing state or other jurisdiction of medical license/certificate

A limited passport book can be extended to the full ten-year validity book with no additional fee by submitting Form DS-5504 within two-years of the passport issue date.

An example certification from an attending physician is available for download. You are encouraged to use the verbiage on the sample letter without providing any further medical details, as they are not required and violate your medical privacy.

San Francisco Passport Offices

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