All American citizens who make a gender transition MUST get a passport that shows their new name and gender as soon as they can. The rules may change. This may be harder to do later.
For more on why you need a passport and how to get help, see: Transgender passport resources
What you need
You must apply in person. You will need to bring some things that can take many weeks to get:
- A. Passport photos
- B. Proof of U.S. citizenship
- C. Valid government-issued ID
- D. Completed application
- E. Fees
- F. Medical certification (if B or C do not reflect gender transition)
- G. Court order for name change (good to have, not needed for this)
When you apply, they offer three speeds:
|Expedited $$||2-3 weeks|
|Expedited at Agency $$ †||8 business days|
- $$ These cost more money.
- † Based on need, restrictions apply (Source)
The rules are different for three age groups. They are also different if you never had a passport before.
How to apply for the first time (adults 18+)
You MUST apply in person if you are applying for your first U.S. passport.
You will need to bring these things with you:
A. Two printed photos of yourself that are 2 x 2 inches
- The photos have a lot of rules on what they look like and how they must be printed. You can use a free app:
- Passport Booth app (passportbooth.com)
- If you use this app, you must get printed copies made at a store.
- You can get these taken and printed at many major stores for about $10 to $20, including:
- Duane Reade
- FedEx Office
- Rite Aid
- Sam’s Club
- UPS Store
- Call to make sure they do it. Ask about the cost. Passport photos are also made at some US Post Office locations, via AAA, and from local photographers.
B. Proof of U.S. citizenship
- Birth certificate
C. Valid government-issued photo identification
- Valid driver’s license (not expired)
- Valid State ID or tribal identification card (not expired)
D. A completed form DS-11, Application for a U.S. Passport
E. Current applicable fees
- See fee calculator under Government resources below.
- Fees are non-refundable.
- They do not take cash. Payment options include:
- Major credit card (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover)
- Check drawn on a US bank (personal, certified, or traveler’s) with the applicant’s full name and date of birth printed on the front
- Bank draft or cashier’s check
- Money order (U.S. Postal, international, currency exchange)
- All fees should be payable to the “U.S. Department of State”
F. Medical certification
- If any of your documents do not reflect your current name or gender, you need a signed statement from any licensed physician who knows about your treatment and is willing to write one for you. It must be the original and not a copy.
- You do not need surgery. You just need “appropriate clinical treatment for transition.”
- Apply for the 10 year passport. For that, your medical certification needs to say that you have “had appropriate clinical treatment for transition” to your current gender.
- The statement must be on office letterhead and follow this exact template:
Licensed Physician’s Letterhead
(Physician’s Address and Telephone Number)
I, (physician’s full name), (physician’s medical license or certificate number), (issuing U.S. State/Foreign Country of medical license/certificate), am the physician of (name of patient), whom I have treated (or whose medical history I have reviewed and evaluated).
(Name of patient) has had appropriate clinical treatment for transition to (specify new sex male or female).
I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States that the foregoing is true and correct.
Signature of Physician
Typed Name of Physician
- You can give this Word document to your physician when you ask:
- Physician Letter Template (Word)
- The medical certification does not need to say what treatments you had.
G. Court order for name change
- If you already have this, you should bring it. It is not needed, but it is more good proof. See the part on name change for details.
Transgender passport for US citizens under age 16
Transgender passport for US citizens age 16-17
Check current published policy. Policy may change at any time.
- In June 2010, the U.S. Department of State updated the Foreign Affairs Manual (aka FAM). The relevant section was:
- 7 FAM 300 Appendix M: Gender Change
- On July 16, 2018, 7 FAM 1300 Appendix M was moved under Change Transmittal number CON-819. The relevant section is now:
U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs (travel.state.gov)
- Online Passport Appointment System
- National Passport Information Center
- Fee calculator
- Passport Acceptance Facility search page
- Change of Sex Marker information
- Form Finder
- Physician Letter Template (Word)
- Version as of September 2018:
Transgender Law Center (transgenderlawcenter.org)
- Identity Documents Resources
National Center for Transgender Equality (transequality.org)
- Know Your Rights: Passports
Disclaimer: This is legal talk, not legal advice. Laws vary by jurisdiction and change often. Some of this may not apply to you. It is presented without warranty. It may contain errors or omissions. You must do your own research.