Transitioning Guidelines


Table of Contents 

Appropriate Clinical Treatment

Name Change

Driver’s License, Permit or ID Card Name and Gender Marker Change

Birth Certificate

Social Security

Internal Revenue Service


Citizenship and Immigration

Voter Registration Changes

2014 King County Trans* Resource and Referral Guide (off site link)

Appropriate Clinical Treatment

There is no need to document the steps you have taken in your transition. Your health care provider is only required to confirm that you have undergone “the appropriate gender transition clinical treatment.” For documents in the State of Washington, your health care provider may be “a licensed medical physician, internist, endocrinologist, gynecologist, urologist, osteopathic physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or a Washington State licensed naturopathic physician, advanced registered nurse practitioner, physician assistant, or certified osteopathic physician assistant familiar with your treatment.” ( The details of whether you are taking hormones or have had surgery are not, required, and in many cases, questions regarding the nature of any treatment are illegal to ask.

Note: This range of health care providers only applies to the Department of Licensing in Washington State and that other entities may limit their definition of health care providers to licensed doctors of medicine and osteopathy.

Name Change

Name changes may be done before surgery or before hormone treatment begins

In Washington State a legal name change can be done by any person over eighteen years of age as long as the purpose of the change in the name is not to defraud another. Name changes for those under 18 may be done by a parent or guardian.

A court-ordered name change is required to change the legal name on your driver’s license, passport, state ID, and other forms of identification.

The method of obtaining a court-ordered name change varies by state, by jurisdiction, and even by which court within a district the petition is filed in. The following information is specifically for residents of western Washington State. For out-of-state births, contact the Department of Health/Vital Records office of state of your birth to determine that state's procedures or google “[your state] name change.” You may also contact your local transgender organization for advice.

District Court Name Change Order

The process for filing a name change petition with a King County District Court is not different for transgender individuals. An overview of the process can be found here: The Petition for Name Change form requires providing a reason for the name change but it does not need to reveal your transitioning status. It can be as simple as “common usage” or “to better fit my identity,” or even “I do not like my present name.”

Depending on the court, when you file, you may need to appear before a judge for a hearing that day or a subsequent one, or you may have the entire process handled at the court clerk’s window.

You must file this document in person and pay the fees in cash (US currency only). The current fee is $170 which includes one certified copy.

You will need:

  • Petition for Name Change
  • A photo ID
  • A copy of your birth certificate may be required.

If you are low-income, you may advise the clerk, and with additional documentation, be allowed a reduced fee. Court fees may be waived at the discretion of the court based on income and whether a person is receiving government living expenses. Take documentation of these situations and provide them to the court clerk.

If you are not a citizen of the United States, the judge may request additional information at your hearing, including your green card, naturalization documents, or passport. 

The completed form will be forwarded to the county recorder. While it may take the county clerk’s office several weeks to record your court order, you may pick up certified copies at the time your name change is granted for a small fee ($5 in King County, for example) for each copy.

You will want at least two additional copies to use in changing other documents. Always request that the Name Change Order copy be returned to you, but realize that some entities (Passport Agency, Social Security Service, and the Internal Revenue Service) require you to submit a certified copy that may not be returned to you.

NoteIt is not necessary to file for a Gender Change Order, because designating the appropriate gender marker can be handled elsewhere. However, if you do, that will need to be filed in the same court. Attach a copy of your supporting evidence (the affidavit from your physician which can be the form required by the Department of Licensing) to the petition along with a copy of all documents that could possibly be relevant:

  • Drivers License
  • Social Security Card
  • Birth Certificate
  • Proof of fingerprinting at the Police Department


The following links are for residents of Washington State currently living in one of the specified counties:

Clallam County (

Grays Harbor County (

Jefferson County (

King County (

Kitsap County ( )

Lewis County (

Mason County (

Pierce County (

Thurston County (

Snohomish County (

Whatcom County (


Name Aid ( may be able to help with name change costs if you reside in certain counties.  

The Gender Alliance of the South Sound (GASS) has created a fund to reimburse court and clerk charges to those trans persons changing their names who qualify for a reduced fee through WA State GR34 rules. (

You may submit a receipt for a reduced payment for name change from a District Court in the following counties only:


Grays Harbor





Driver’s License, Permit or ID Card Name and Gender Marker Change

To change your name and gender designation on Washington state driver licenses, driver permits and ID cards, you will need: (

  • Name Change Order
  • DR-500-043 WADOL Change of Gender Designation Request ( to be filled out by you and your licensed health care provider: There was a previous preferred wording for the creation of an affidavit by your health care provider, but the DOL now prefers this exact form filled out by a medical professional.
  • Copy of current permit/license

Mail these documents to the Department of Licensing address indicated on the form.

When you receive a letter back with instructions to go to your local DOL office for a new photo, you will need:

  • The letter
  • Your current driver license, permit or ID card
  • $10 fee

You will get temporary black and white card and new card will sent to you by mail.

Birth Certificate

For persons born in Washington State, birth certificates can be amended to reflect name and gender changes.You can find detailed information on this process here:



Social Security

Take these documents to your local Social Security Administration office ( or they can be mailed to the office. All documents you submit must be either originals or certified copies.

Gather documents proving your:

  • Gender (You need one of the following documents; a full-validity,10-year U.S. passport showing the new sex; a state-issued amended birth certificate showing the new sex; a court order directing legal recognition of change of sex; or a medical certification of appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition in the form of an original letter from a licensed physician). The document must have enough biographical data (e.g., name and date of birth) to clearly identify you; 
  • U.S. citizenship (if you have not established your citizenship with Social Security)

For more information, see Changing Gender on Social Security's records.


Internal Revenue Service

The IRS should receive the updated information on your name change from the Social Security Administration within 10 days, but it doesn’t always occur promptly. 

However, you can be sure of this notification by submitting the IRS Form 8822 Change of Address (  using your new name and listing your previous name under “Prior Names.”

The IRS does not maintain information on gender status.


Passport applications for transgender minors are subject to the same special parental consent requirements required for all minors.

New rules for handling gender change request went into effect in June 2013. Information can be found in document 7 FAM 1300 Appendix M Gender Change ( ).

To apply for a new Passport, individuals must submit the documentation in person and by appointment only. This can be done at any passport acceptance facility or at a regional agency. King County passport facilities are located in BellevueBurienIssaquah, RedmondSeattle and Shoreline ( The Seattle Passport Agency at 300 5th Avenue, Suite 600, Seattle, WA 98104, is one of 13 in regional locations the country that provides regular and  expedited service.

If the documents for your proof of citizenship (birth certificate, for example) and identity (drivers license, for example) reflect your current name and appropriate gender, you do not need to submit any additional documentation other than is required in DS-11 Application for a U.S. Passport (

However, if all of the documents you submit with your application (including previous passport in the case of renewal) do not reflect the appropriate gender, you must provide an affidavit in the form of a letter from a licensed physician on letterhead, stating that you have had appropriate clinical treatment to facilitate gender transition.  Licensed physicians are limited to Medical Doctors (M.D.) and Doctors of Osteopathy (D.O.). 

The cost can be determined here. (

Citizenship and Immigration Service

In 2012,the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a Policy Memorandum revising the treatment of gender designations for transgender people on their immigration documents. (

Voter Registration Changes

In Washington State, any changes to your information can be changed on a voter registration form.

Put the current appropriate name and gender information on the top and the former information at the bottom of the form. Sign your new information and also the former information so that your former record can be cancelled.

Voter Registration Form (

Print and complete, and mail to your county’s Registrar of Voters.

The information on this website is for general reference purposes only, and is not legal advice, nor intended to be. While Ingersoll Gender Center strives to offer useful information, individuals are fully responsible for reviewing, researching and verifying that any information, procedures, and related links are accurate and current. Ingersoll Gender Center encourages individuals to seek an attorney or other advocate regarding specific questions or guidance. Ingersoll Gender Center assumes no responsibility or liability for any course or action an individual chooses to pursue.


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