Legal Gender & Name Change

Many of our transgender patients choose to change their legal name and/or gender marker for their identification documents.

Anytime after your surgery, our office can provide a letter for a legal gender change, stating you’ve had a surgical procedure for transition. Since requirements vary by state, ID type, and country, let us know if there is any specific language that needs to be included.

Note that for many US documents (such as your passport), you do not need medical or surgical transition to update your gender marker. A simple letter from your physician stating you’ve had “appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition” which is determined by your physician. This may mean surgery, hormones, or simply therapy.

For more information, we recommend Trans Law Center’s Quick Guide (US only). 

Changing Your Gender Marker & Legal Name In The State Of California

Changing An Adult’s Legal Name AND Gender Marker 

Important: You do not need a court ordered gender change to change your California driver’s license, social security card, or U.S. passport. You also no longer need a court order to have a new birth certificate issued reflecting a change of gender (for California birth records). You may want to get a court ordered gender change to amend your birth certificate if you were born outside of California. Find out more at ID Please – A guide to Changing California and Federal Identity Documents to Match Your Gender Identity or get help from the resources listed under “Related Information” on the Gender Change home page. You DO need a court order for a change of name. If you need to change your name AND gender, you can follow the instructions below, or you can instead change your gender with the State Registrar (without a court order) and separately get a court order for a name change only. To do that, visit our name change section. Generally, to get a court order changing your name AND gender, follow these steps:

  1. Fill out your court forms-Petition for Change of Name and Gender (Form NCC-200) and Attachment to Petition for Change of Name (Form NC-110), Order to Show Cause for Change of Name (Form NC-220), and Civil Case Cover Sheet (Form CM-010).
  2. Some courts also require you to fill out local forms to ask for a name change, like a criminal background information form. Ask your local court clerk if there are local forms you have to fill out. Some courts also have forms on their websites. Find your local court’s website. Make sure to keep copies of any local forms you fill out.
  3. Have your doctor fill out an affidavit telling the court that you have undergone clinically appropriate treatment for change of gender
  4. Your doctor can use the Declaration of Physician — Attachment to Petition (Form NC-210) or write out their own declaration. It is very important it be done by a licensed physician; it cannot be done by a nurse. If your doctor uses their own letter, make sure it contains all the required information.
  5. Have your forms reviewed
  6. If your court’s family law facilitatoror self-help centerhelps people with name and gender change cases, ask them to review your paperwork. They can make sure you filled it out properly before you move ahead with your case.
  7. Make 1 copy of all your forms
  8. File your forms with the court clerk
  9. File all the forms and copies in the superior court in the county where you live. The clerk will stamp your forms “Filed,” keep the original, and return the copies to you. The clerk will give you a date for your court hearing and will write it on the Order to Show Cause, along with information on the time and department number for your hearing.
  10. You will have to pay a filing fee. Find out how much the filing fee is for a first petition(sometimes called a “first appearance” or “first papers”). If you cannot afford the fee, you can ask for a fee waiver.
  11. Go to your court hearing
  12. Go to court on your court date and take a copy of the papers you filed, along with the Decree Changing Name and Gender(Form NC-230) for the judge to sign.
  13. Get your Decree Changing Name and Genderfrom the court
  14. If the judge approves your request for a change of name and gender, the judge will sign the Decree Changing Name and Gender (Form NC-230). Once you get your signed decree, get a certified copy from the court clerk. You will need this to change all your legal documents, including your birth certificate and other government-issued identification like your driver’s license. Click for information on changing your driver’s license.

Legally Changing An Adult’s Gender Marker Only

Important: You do not need a court ordered gender change to change your California driver’s license, social security card, or U.S. passport. You also no longer need a court order to have a new birth certificate issued reflecting a change of gender (for California birth records). You may want to get a court ordered gender change to amend your birth certificate if you were born outside of California. Find out more at ID Please – A guide to Changing California and Federal Identity Documents to Match Your Gender Identity or get help from the resources listed under “Related Information” on the Gender Change home page. Generally, to get a court order changing your gender ONLY (without a name change), follow these steps:

  1. Fill out your court forms-Petition for Change of Gender and Issuance of New Birth Certificate(Form NC-300), Setting of Hearing on the Petition for Change of Gender and Issuance of New Birth Certificate (Form NC-320), and Civil Case Cover Sheet (Form CM-010).
  2. Have your doctor fill out an affidavit telling the court that you have undergone clinically appropriate treatment for change of gender. Your doctor can use the Declaration of Physician — Attachment to Petition (Form NC-310) or write out his or her own declaration. It is very important it be done by a licensed physician; it cannot be done by a nurse. If your doctor uses his or her own letter, make sure it contains all the required information.
  3. Have your forms reviewed. If your court’s family law facilitatoror self-help center helps people with gender change cases, ask them to review your paperwork. They can make sure you filled it out properly before you move ahead with your case.
  4. Make at least 1 copy of all your forms
  5. File your forms with the court clerk. File all the forms and copies in any superior court.  The clerk will stamp your forms “Filed,” keep the original, and return the copies to you.  The clerk will give you a date for your court hearing and will write it on the Setting of Hearing on the Petition for Change of Gender, along with information on the time and department number for your hearing.

You will have to pay a filing fee. Find out how much the filing fee is for a first petition (sometimes called a “first appearance” or “first papers”). If you cannot afford the fee, you can ask for a fee waiver.

  1. Go to your court hearing- Take the Order for Change of Gender and Issuance of New Birth Certificate (Form NC-330) for the judge to sign.
  2. Get your Order for Change of Genderfrom the court- If the judge approves your request for a change of gender, the judge will sign the Order for Change of Gender and Issuance of New Birth Certificate (Form NC-330). Once you get your signed order, get a certified copy from the court clerk. You will need this to change all your legal documents, including your birth certificate and other government-issued identification like your driver’s license. Click for information on changing your driver’s license.

Changing An Adult’s Legal Name Only

The court process of getting a court order after filing a Petition for Change of Name can take up to 3 months. First, you file your petition. Then, you will get a court date between 6 and 12 weeks away. If you follow all the required steps and the court approves your request, you will get a court order called a “decree” changing your name. Some courts are busier than others and it may take longer. Make sure you read the instructions carefully. Some apply a little differently if you are changing your name to conform to your gender identity, or in other special situations. It is all explained in each of the steps below, so make sure you read everything.

Filing a Petition for a Change of Name is the most common process and results in a court order. This section will walk you through the steps.

  1. Click here to fill out your court forms
  2. Have your forms reviewed-If your court’s family law facilitatoror self-help center helps people with name change cases, ask them to review your paperwork. They can make sure you filled it out properly before you move ahead with your case.
  3. Make at least 2 copies of all your forms-The court will keep the original. One copy is for you; the other is for the publication in a newspaper.

Important: You may not need an extra copy for the publication in the newspaper because you may not need to publish your name change request. Read Step 5 below carefully to find out if you need to publish your request in the newspaper.

  1. File your forms with the court clerk

The clerk will stamp your forms with “Filed,” keep the original and return the copies to you. The Order to Show Cause will have information on your court date, time, and department number.

You will have to pay a filing fee. Find out how much the filing fee is for a first petition (sometimes called a “first appearance” or “first papers”). If you cannot afford the fee, you can ask for a fee waiver.

  1. Publish the Order to Show Cause for Change of Name (If Required)

In most cases you must publish the Order to Show Cause for Change of Name (Form NC-120) in a newspaper of general circulation once a week for 4 weeks in a row. Your court most likely has a list of newspapers that are approved for publishing legal notices.

Important: 

  • Gender identity cases: If you are changing your name to conform to your gender identity, you do NOT have to publish the Order to Show Cause (Form NC-120).
  • Address confidentiality cases: If you are changing your name and you are in the State Witness Program, or you are in the address confidentiality program and are changing your name to avoid domestic violence or stalking or are a victim of sexual assault (or asking for a name change on behalf of a victim of sexual assault), you will likely not have to publish the Order to Show Cause  Find out more under Item 7 of page 2 of Form NC-100 or on the Information Sheet for Name Change Proceedings Under Address Confidentiality Program (Safe at Home) (Form NC-400-INFO). If you do not have to publish the Order to Show Cause, just go to your court hearing on the date written on your Form NC-120.

The cost for publication can vary greatly between newspapers and your court fee waiver will not waive your publication fees. So it is very important that you check the price of publishing BEFORE you put the name of the newspaper in the Order to Show Cause for Change of Name. This is because once the judge signs the Order to Show Cause for Change of Name you must publish in the newspaper listed on the form. You cannot change the form after it is signed by the judge.

  1. Go to your court hearing- Take your proof that the Order to Show Causewas published in the newspaper (if you were required to publish your Order to Show Cause). Also take the Decree Changing Name(Form NC-130) for the judge to sign.
  2. Get your Decree Changing Name from the court

If the judge approves your request for a change of name, the judge will sign the Decree Changing Name(Form NC-130). Once you get your signed decree, get a certified copy from the court clerk. You can use this to change all your legal documents, including your birth certificate, social security card, and other government-issued identification like your passport or driver’s license.

Related Information:

Domestic Violence
If you are a victim of domestic violence, click to learn more about keeping your change of name confidential or read Information Sheet for Name Change Proceedings Under Address Confidentiality Program (Safe at Home) (Form NC-400-INFO).
Gender Change
You do not need a court ordered gender change to change your California driver’s license, social security card, or US passport. You also no longer need a court order to have a new birth certificate issued reflecting a change of gender (for California birth records). You may want to seek a court ordered gender change to amend your birth certificate if you were born outside of California. Please see the section on Gender Change if you want to find out more about changing your name and gender, your gender only, or your name only to conform to your gender identity and want to find out all your options. Denial of Name Change
In some limited cases, the judge may not agree to change your name. Click to learn about the main reasons why your petition may be denied.