DC Name and Gender Change Guidance

Below are the typical steps a D.C resident may undergo to change their legal name and update their name and gender marker on all of their documents.  Follow the sections that are relevant to you.  We have listed these in the order that most commonly works for people, but you don't necessarily have to go in this order. Listed below each step of the process are the items you need to complete that step. 

For a more in-depth written guide to the name and gender marker change process in D.C., check out the DC Name and Gender Change Guide, published by Whitman-Walker Health and TransLAW. If you would like help with the name and gender change process, please come to one of our free monthly Name and Gender Change Clinics held at Whitman-Walker Health!

NAME CHANGE:

Submit your Name Change Application:

 Go to 500 Indiana Ave. NW, Room 4220, with the following:

  1. Completed Name Change Application (official instructions are available here);
  2. The original long form or a certified copy of your birth certificate. Foreign birth certificates must be translated;
  3. Valid identification in the form of a current driver’s license, ID card, or passport;
  4. Proof of DC Residency for the past 6 months; and
  5. The $60 filing fee, payable to “Clerk, DC Superior Court” (cash, certified check, or money order), OR a completed Fee Waiver Petition

☐ Mail notices to interested parties:

After submitting your Name Change Application, the signed Order and Notice of Final Hearing should indicate any banks, creditors, departments of correction, or other parties that must be notified of your name change.

  1. You must mail notices within 10 days of filing
  2. Send the notices by Certified Mail (or registered mail) with Return Receipt Requested
  3. Keep all receipts from the U.S. Postal Service

Return to the Court for Final Hearing:

  1. File the completed “Affidavit / Declaration of Service” form showing you sent your notices, and attach any receipts from the Postal Service and/or Return Receipts
  2. The judge may or may not hold a brief hearing
  3. The Court will provide certified copies of the signed Order for Change of Name.  You should ask for at least 6 copies, you may have to pay a fee for additional copies

☐ Receive your signed Order for Change of Name:

Use your name change order to update your name on all documents and records! Use it to update your name with your bank, school, employer, and anywhere else where you old name needs to be replaced with your new name.

SOCIAL SECURITY:

To update your name and/or gender marker with the Social Security Administration (SSA), go to a Social Security Office (find the closest one here) with the following:

  1. Application for Social Security Card (available at the SSA office or online here);
  2. An unexpired identification document, such as driver’s license, state-issued identity card, or U.S. Passport (it is okay if your ID document includes your former name); 
  3. Proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful immigration status, such as a passport, birth certificate or immigration documentation
  4. If you are updating your name, a certified copy of the Court Order for Change of Name; and
  5. If you are updating the gender marker in your Social Security records, you can show a passport, birth certificate, or court order with the correct gender, or a signed letter on letterhead from your licensed physician certifying your gender. See the National Center for Transgender Equality's Social Security Resource for a sample physician's letter.

D.C. DRIVER'S LICENSE / D.C IDENTIFICATION CARD:

To update your name and/or gender marker on your driver's license or non-driver identification card:

☐ If you already have a REAL ID-compliant D.C ID (marked with a star in the top right corner), go to the DC Department of Motor Vehicles (see DC DMV Service Locations here) and bring the following:

  1. If you are updating your gender marker, a completed Gender Designation Form;
  2. If you are updating your name:
    1. Certified copy of your Court Order for a Name Change, and
    2. Your newly issued Social Security card reflecting your new name OR an SSA printout reflecting your name change;
  3. Your current D.C. driver’s license or ID card (which you must surrender); and
  4. Cash, check, money order, or credit card to pay the $20 fee for a new ID.

☐ If you DO NOT have a REAL ID-compliant D.C ID (your D.C. ID does not have a star in the top right corner, you are converting an ID from out-of-state, or you do not currently have an ID) go to the DC Department of Motor Vehicles (see DC DMV Service Locations here) and bring the following documents:

  1. One Proof of Full Legal Name and Date of Birth (Birth Certificate, Unexpired U.S. Passport, etc.) NOTE - Document used for Proof of Identity cannot also be used to satisfy Proof of Ability to Drive or Social Security Number requirements;
  2. Two Proofs of DC Residency (Utility/Telephone bills, etc., less than 60 days old, that display name and DC address);
  3. One Proof of Valid Social Security Number;
  4. If you are updating a driver's license (not a non-driver identification card), one Proof of Ability to Drive (Valid DC license, Out-of-State license not expired more than 90 days, etc;
  5. If you are 16 or 17 years old, Proof of Parental Approval;
  6. If you are updating your gender marker, a completed Gender Designation Form;
  7. If you are updating your name:
    1. Certified copy of your Court Order for a Name Change, and
    2. Your newly issued Social Security card reflecting your new name OR an SSA printout reflecting your name change;
  8. Cash, check, money order, or credit card to pay the $44 fee for a new ID.

D.C. BIRTH CERTIFICATE:

☐ To update the name and/or gender marker on your birth certificate if you were born in the District of Columbia, apply in person or by mail at the Department of Health, Vital Records Division, First Floor, 899 North Capitol Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002 with the following:

  1. Completed Birth Certificate Gender Designation Application Form (available online here), signed by you (address on the application should be the address where you want your certificate mailed);
  2. Completed and signed Statement of Licensed Healthcare Provider Certifying the Applicant’s Gender Designation (available online, same link as above), signed by your healthcare provider;
  3. Photocopy of your non-expired photo ID (driver’s license, passport, or other government issued identification card) that reflects a good likeness and satisfactorily identifies you;
  4. Original or certified copy of your Court Order for a Name Change, if applicable; and
  5. A check or money order payable to DC Treasurer for total cost. Amending birth certificate ($28.00) + certified copy of birth certificate ($23.00) = $51.00

☐ If you were born in a state other than the District of Columbia, please consult the National Center for Transgender Equality's ID Document Center for further information on the birth certificate policy in your state.

U.S. PASSPORT:

☐ To apply to update your legal name and gender marker on an existing passport, or to get a passport for the first time, apply in person at the nearest Passport Acceptance Facility (you can search for the facility nearest you here) with the following: 

  1. Two 2x2 inch photographs of yourself;
  2. Proof of U.S. citizenship, such as a previous passport or a birth certificate;
  3. A valid form of government-issued photo identification such as a previous passport, driver's license or state or tribal identification card;
  4. A completed form DS-11, Application for a U.S. Passport;
  5. If you are updating your gender marker, a physician certification of your gender, following the sample in the National Center for Transgender Equality's Passport Resource;
  6. If you are updating your name, legal documentation of name change; and
  7. Current applicable fees.

☐ To just update your legal name when you already have a valid passport, apply by mail to the address on the form with the following: 

  1. A completed Form DS-82, Passport Renewal Application;
  2. Your most recent Passport (book or card);
  3. A recent color photograph 2x2 inches in size;
  4. Your Order for Name Change (certified copy showing a seal and officiate/judge signature);
  5. Current applicable fees

Disclaimer: This checklist provides information for D.C. residents on the typical steps associated with changing one's name and gender on identity documents. Please note that the checklist does not include information on all laws and restrictions pertaining to these processes, and every individual may have unique name and gender change needs. This checklist is to be used as a resource only and does not constitute legal advice.