Below are the typical steps a Maryland 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 Maryland, check out the Maryland 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!
☐ File the Application for Change of Name with your local Circuit Court (find the Circuit Court in your county here).
Include the following documents:
- A completed Petition for Name Change (Form DR 60) signed by you;
- A Notice for Publication (Form DR 61) with the top filled out;
- A copy of an official document reflecting your current legal name (such as a valid passport, state-ID card, birth certificate, etc.)
- The filing fee (typically $165), OR a completed fee waiver petition. The fee waiver application process is not standardized across the county courts, but typically includes a Request for Waiver of the Filing Fee (Form DR 32), a Financial Statement Form (Form DR 31), and any documents in support of the information provided.
**Any time your forms request a reason for name change you can write "This is my preferred name and I wish to obtain proper identification."**
☐ Publish notice of the name change county or city newspaper
Publication requirements differ from county to county. In some counties, the arrangements to have your name change published are your responsibility, but in other counties the Clerk of Court will arrange to have the Notice published. Ask the Clerk if publication is your responsibility. The newspaper that publicizes your name change will send you an invoice to have the Notice published. You will have to pay the newspaper invoice for publication, and the cost will vary from county to county. After the notice is published, you should receive a confirmation letter from the newspaper. Check to make sure the Clerk also received the confirmation so they can move forward with your approved name change order.
☐ Receive your Signed Order for Name Change:
Once the Clerk has received confirmation that your name change was published in a newspaper, you can return to the court to receive your signed Order for Name Change or the court may mail it to you:
- Call the Clerk first to make sure they have received confirmation of publication and find out when you should come in to get the approved name change order or if they will mail you the final signed order;
- The judge may or may not hold a brief hearing;
- The Court will provide certified copies of the signed Order for Change of Name. You should ask for at least 4 copies (you may have to pay a fee for additional copies).
Note on minors: please note that minors should complete different forms when asking for a name change. Please check the complete Maryland Name and Gender Change guidance for more information.
☐ 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:
- Application for Social Security Card (available at the SSA office or online here);
- 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);
- Proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful immigration status, such as a passport, birth certificate or immigration documentation;
- If you are updating your name, a certified copy of the Court Order for Change of Name; and
- 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.
MD DRIVER'S LICENSE / MD IDENTIFICATION CARD:
The new REAL ID Act requires a one-time review of your original documents in order to renew, duplicate, or obtain a new Driver’s License or Non-Driver ID card. Meaning even if you have an active MD Driver’s License or ID card, you will need to show your original documents, as well the documents proving your name and/or gender change, to change your name or gender marker on your license or ID. You only need to do this one time. For example, if you choose to change your name first, and you obtain a Real ID license or ID card with your chosen name, you will NOT need to bring the extra documents to change your gender marker later. If you have already obtained a Real ID license or ID card (noted by a star marker) you do not need to bring the extra documents.
☐ To apply for a MD driver's license or state ID for the first time or renew a non-REAL ID Act compliant card, you need the following documents (see MD MVA Document Checklist for more detailed information):
- One Proof of Age and Identity (Birth Certificate, Unexpired U.S. Passport, Permanent Resident Card, etc.);
- One Proof of Valid Social Security Number (SS Card, W-2 form, pay stub, etc.);
- Two Proofs of MD Residency (Utility/Telephone bill, Bank statement with address, rental lease, etc.);
- If you are updating your gender marker from previous forms of ID, the gender change approval letter (detailed instructions on the letter are below);
- If you are updating your name from previous forms of ID:
- Certified copy of your Court Order for a Name Change, and
- Your newly issued Social Security card reflecting your new name;
- Cash, check, money order, or credit card to pay the fee for a new ID;
Gender change approval letter
☐ To receive an approval letter for a gender marker change on your MD ID, submit the following via fax or mail to MD MVA Attn: Lisa Logan / Renee Isaac Driver Wellness and Safety Division or Mail to: MD MVA, 6601 Ritchie Highway NE, Glen Burnie, MD 21062
- If you have had gender reassignment surgery, a letter from your surgeon stating that surgery was completed and the date; OR
- If you have not had gender reassignment surgery, a letter from yourself requesting the gender marker change (listing the reasons for the change, and explaining how you would benefit from it, a letter from a physician administering your hormone therapy and/or assisting you with plans for surgery, and a letter from a psychotherapist; OR
- If you have received a court order for gender change, you can use the court order to change your MD ID.
You should receive an approval letter in the mail to bring with you to the MVA. If you do not receive it in a few weeks call the Driver Wellness and Safety Division at (410) 787-7986.
MD BIRTH CERTIFICATE:
If you were born in Maryland, you can change both the name and the gender marker on your birth certificate, and your old name and/or gender will not be shown on your new birth certificate.
To change your name on your birth certificate, you will need to submit a court order changing your name.
To change your gender marker on your birth certificate, you will need to submit an application signed by you and a statement signed by a physician, psychologist, nurse, or social worker certify that you have undergone surgical, hormonal, or other treatment for gender transition. You will also need a copy of your ID and the a check or money order for the fee. You can find the instructions, the application form and the statement to be signed by a licensed healthcare provider on the Division of Health and Mental Hygiene website.
No proof of surgery and no court order is needed to change the gender marker on your Maryland birth certificate.
**If you were born in a state other than Maryland, please consult the National Center for Transgender Equality's ID Document Center for further information on the birth certificate policy in your state.**
☐ 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:
- Two 2x2 inch photographs of yourself;
- Proof of U.S. citizenship, such as a previous passport or a birth certificate;
- A valid form of government-issued photo identification such as a previous passport, driver's license or state or tribal identification card;
- A completed form DS-11, Application for a U.S. Passport;
- 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;
- If you are updating your name, legal documentation of name change; and
- 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:
- A completed Form DS-82, Passport Renewal Application;
- Your most recent Passport (book or card);
- A recent color photograph 2x2 inches in size;
- Your Order for Name Change (certified copy showing a seal and officiate/judge signature);
- Current applicable fees.
Disclaimer: This checklist provides information for Maryland 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.