According to the National Center for Transgender Equality guide, if you are requesting gender change, you must use form DS-11 and apply in person, even if you would otherwise be eligible to renew by mail. This is a new requirement. If you are only applying for a change of name, or do not need to change any information, you may be eligible to renew by mail using form DS-82. In order to request a new passport by mail, all the following must be true about your current passport:
- Is undamaged and can be submitted with your application
- Was issued when you were age 16 or older
- Was issued within the last 15 years (up to 5 years after expiration)
- Was issued in your current name or you can legally document your name change
Apply In Person
If the above statements do not apply, or you do not yet have a Passport, you will need to apply in person.
You will also need to submit the following with your application:
- Evidence of citizenship and proof of identity (for example, a driver’s license or birth certificate).
- A photo that is a good likeness of current appearance. (2×2 inches in size with white or off-white background — these photos can be taken for $15.00 at acceptance facilities, such as designated Post Offices)
- A fee of $75 to have a new passport issued. (An additional $25.00 is required for processing in-person applications. No credit cards accepted by mail or in person (Cash, check, or money order).
- The State Department regulations require you to annotate the application with the words “gender transition.” The regulations do not state where this annotation must be and are brand new so we cannot track the experiences of others yet, so just make sure those words are somewhere on the application.
- Attending physician’s letter stating that you have “had appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition” or are “in the process of gender transition.” This policy recognizes that people’s medical needs vary and that appropriate clinical treatment may be different for one person than for another.
- See Appendix for Sample Letter
- This letter must contain: [see 7 Fam. 1320 Appendix M(b) ]
- Identification of the physician as an internist, endocrinologist, gynecologist, urologist or psychiatrist
- Physician’s full name
- Medical license or certificate number
- Issuing state or other jurisdiction of medical license/certificate
- Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) registration number (if physician does not have DEA number, for example if he or she practices in a foreign country, then further clarification or verification of the physicians bona fides must also be submitted)
- Address and telephone number of physician
- Statement that he/she has a doctor/patient relationship with you
- Language stating that the applicant “has had appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition to male/female (new gender)” or “is in the process of gender transition to male/female.” Note: If you are in the process of gender transition, the passport agency will issue a two year limited validity passport.
- Statement: “I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States that the foregoing is true and correct.”
MTPC recommends that you give the physician a copy of the sample letter that appears in Appendix M. Ask the physician to model his or her letter closely after the sample and to include the information listed above.
The National Center for Transgender Equality has issued the following statement about these physician letters:
“No specific treatment is required, and details of your treatment need not be provided. In fact, NCTE encourages you and your doctor to only state in the letter that you have had the clinical treatment determined by your health care providers to be appropriate. Details about surgery, hormone treatment, or other treatments are unnecessary and not helpful.”
The regulations issued by the State Department specifically state that surgery is not a prerequisite for your new passport and that passport adjudicators and consular offices may not ask for additional medical information. In conversations with you, workers at the passport office are required to refer to you using the pronouns appropriate to your “new gender” and to ask only appropriate questions.
Though there is no passport fee waiver available for the general public (no-fee passports are available to family members of U.S. government officials), you may apply for a Passport Card ($20.00) instead of a Passport Book ($75.00). A Passport Card however, is only valid for ground and sea travel in North America (a passport card cannot be used at any U.S. airport). A $25.00 processing fee still applies for all in person passport applications, including the passport card.