Important New Information About Obtaining A Passport

On January 28, 2011, in response to feedback from TLDEF and other organizations and individuals, the U.S. Department of State amended its policy for changing the sex designation on passports. Transgender people can get a new or corrected passport by presenting a letter from a doctor stating that they have had “appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition.” Sex reassignment surgery is not required to change the sex on a U.S. passport. What constitutes “appropriate clinical treatment” is left to individuals and their doctors — it is not dictated by the State Department.

Not only is this welcome news for those traveling internationally, but it also offers an alternative for showing an official ID domestically. Most notably, when starting a new job, a passport alone is sufficient to establish your identity and eligibility to work. In many states, sex reassignment surgery is required before the sex designation can be corrected on a birth certificate or driver’s license (two pieces of documentation commonly used to prove identity when starting a job). However, these federal guidelines mean that sex reassignment surgery is no longer a prerequisite to obtaining up-to-date and accurate photo identification.