Birth Certificate

Changing your Birth Certificate

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Changing your name on your Maryland birth certificate

The Maryland Division of Vital Statistics is in charge of changing birth certificates. Please note that Maryland Division of Vital Statistics will only change your name on your birth certificate if you have gotten a legal name change (an order from a court that says your gender has been changed.) Changing your name on your birth certificate can be done in person or by mail.

You will need the following documents:

  1. letter requesting your birth certificate to be updated
  2. something that identifies you (like a driver’s license or ID, or a copy of your old birth certificate)
  3. certified copy of your name change decree from the court (Don’t have name change decree? Click here)

The fee for a new birth certificate is $24.

Have more questions about changing your birth certificate? Visit the DHMH website.

Changing your gender marker on your Maryland birth certificate

Please note that Maryland Division of Vital Statistics will only change your gender marker on your birth certificate if you have gotten a legal gender change (an order from a court that says your gender has been changed.) Changing your gender on your birth certificate can be done in person or by mail.

You will need the following documents:

  1. letter requesting your birth certificate to be updated
  2. something that identifies you (like a driver’s license or ID, or a copy of your old birth certificate)
  3. certified copy of your gender change decree from the court (Don’t have a gender change decree? Click here)

The fee for a new birth certificate is $24.

Currently, the law only requires the Division of Vital Statistics to issue an “amended” birth certificate for gender marker changes. This means that they may attach a sheet to your current birth certificate that shows your new gender identity.

Have more questions about changing your birth certificate? Visit the DHMH website.

Changing Your Legal Gender with a Maryland Court

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is “legal” gender?
Who can get a legal gender change in Maryland?
Can I get a legal gender change if I am under 18?
Can I still change my gender marker on my driver’s license or my passport even if I do not get a legal gender change?
How do you get a “legal” gender change?
Do I need a lawyer to change my gender?
How much does a legal gender change cost?
I cannot afford the fees. What should I do?
Do I really have to go to court?
Where do I file my legal gender change request?
What can I expect at the clerk’s office?
Will the court contact me during the review process?
How long will it take for the court to grant the legal gender change?

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

What is “legal” gender?

When you were born, the gender assigned to you on your birth certificate is considered your “legal” gender for some purposes. It is likely that this gender marker continues to be used on official documents, such as Social Security, court records, and your state-issued ID, learner’s permit, or driver’s license.

Who can get a legal gender change in Maryland?

Maryland residents or people with Maryland birth certificates can request a legal gender change. You do not need to be currently living in Maryland.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Maryland currently has a “surgical requirement.” This means that the legal gender change requests are only available to people who have had surgery related to their transition.

Can I get a legal gender change if I am under 18?

The law does not include any rules for minors (people under 18). It is likely that the process would be the same. However, because minors cannot submit court documents on their own, your parent would have to file the request for you. If you have another parent or legal guardian, he or she would have to give written consent.

Also, keep in mind that Maryland requires a person to have surgery before requesting a legal gender change.

Can I still change my gender marker on my driver’s license or my passport even if I do not get a legal gender change?

Yes! Some official documents, such as your State-issued driver’s license, state-issued ID, Social Security card, and passport can be changed without getting a court order. Click here to go to the section on how you can change your gender marker on these documents without surgery or a court order.

How do you get a “legal” gender change?

Maryland Circuit Courts will issue a “gender change decree,” or an official document stating that your legal gender has been changed. You can ask the court to change your gender by completing a petition (a written request) asking the court to change your gender. You will also need to submit a copy of your birth certificate and a letter from your physician stating that you have had surgery. If you are a minor (under 18) your parents will have to write the petition for you.

You then submit these documents to the Circuit Court in your county, along with a fee (or a fee waiver.)

The judge assigned to your petition will then mail you a notice of a hearing. You may be asked to come to the court and answer a few questions about your petition. After the hearing, the judge will decide whether or not to grant your legal gender change.
Unfortunately, the law in Maryland is not very clear. There are no instructions or forms available from the courts on the “right” way to request a legal change of gender.

Do I need a lawyer to change my gender?

No. You can file the petition yourself. However, because the process can be confusing, you may feel more comfortable having a lawyer help you and go with you to court. For more information about getting a lawyer, contact FreeState Legal Project for additional assistance.

How much does a legal gender change cost?

It costs $155 to submit your petition to the court.

I cannot afford the fees. What should I do?

People who cannot afford the fees can ask the court for a “waiver,” which means you do not have to pay them. If you would like information about this, contact FreeState Legal Project.

Do I really have to go to court?

Sometimes a judge will agree to skip the hearing. Contact FreeState Legal Project for more information.

Where do I file my legal gender change request?

Legal gender change petitions should be filed (turned in) at the clerk’s office at the Circuit Court in the county where you live. A list of Circuit Courts can be found here.

You can file the petition by taking it to the court yourself, or you can mail it. If you are paying the court fees, you should pay them at the same time you turn in or mail your petition. Some courts have rules about what types of payment they will accept. We recommend you contact the Circuit Court in your county about how to make your payment

.

What can I expect at the clerk’s office?

You will file the gender change petition at the clerk’s office in the Circuit Court. If you are asking for directions within the courthouse, keep in mind that many people are not familiar with “legal gender change.” It might be easier to ask where to go to file a “legal name change.” Both of these types of petitions will be filed with the same person.

Bring two copies of all of your documents. You will give your payment and one copy of the petition to the clerk. Ask them to stamp the second copy and give it back to you for your records.

Some clerks may not have heard of “legal gender change.” However, clerks should treat all visitors with respect, regardless of what type of matter they are filing. If you feel that you were not treated with respect by a clerk when trying to file a name change, contact FreeState Legal Project.

If you are mailing the petition to the court, send your payment and two copies as well as a self-addressed stamped envelope. Include a note requesting that the clerk mail you a stamped copy. Make sure to tell them where to mail the copy .

Will the court contact me during the review process?

The court may send your additional documents BEFORE granting the gender change. For instance, if you request the court to waive court costs, the court will mail you a notice of its decision about that request.
Additionally, the judge may request that you come to court for a hearing. The court will send you a notice of the date and time of this hearing by mail. If you do not appear for the hearing, your petition will be dismissed (not granted.)

If you receive a document from the court that you do not understand, contact FreeState Legal Project.

How long will it take for the court to grant the legal gender change?

It will likely take several months from beginning to end. It depends on the caseload in your jurisdiction.

What will I need to do once my legal gender change is granted?

When the court approves your gender change request, you will receive several certified copies of your gender change decree. You can use this to change your birth certificate.

If you have not already changed your gender marker on your Social Security card, MVA driver’s license, license or ID card, or passport. (Note that you do not need to wait for you legal gender change decree to be granted in order to change these documents.)