Steps to Changing Your ID Documents

Change Your Name

Name changing in Alaska is done through the courts. The Court system has special forms available at http://courts.alaska.gov/forms.htm#change.  A name change generally requires filing a petition for change of name with the court, as well as publishing the information about the name change. Sometimes, the court will ask a person to publish the name change proposal in the legal notices section of a newspaper; sometimes, the court will ask that it be posted on public bulletin boards.

If you have concerns about your safety, you can ask the court to let you change your name without publicly posting the name change. Transgender people who fear being targeted for hate crimes can make that request. People who are changing their names to escape from a stalker or abuser may also ask the court to waive the publication requirement for safety reasons. At the end of this process, you will appear in court, and the court will determine whether to grant the name change.

Although the process is not spelled out in the court rules, you may wish to ask the court to issue an order legally changing your name and your gender at the same time. Some individuals have reported success using that avenue. Such a court order should be recognized by both the Alaska DMV for your driver’s license and by the Alaska Division of Vital Records for your birth certificate. If the court decides to change your name only, don’t feel frustrated; see the sections below for help with gender marker changes.

Change Your Social Security Card

We recommend that after you obtain your court order, you next go to the Social Security Administration (SSA) to change your records and get a new Social Security card. Having your Social Security information changed will
make changing your Alaska driver’s license or state ID easier. Additionally, changing your name and gender with the Social Security Administration may alleviate some workplace issues.

The following steps are required to amend your information with Social Security.

  • Complete an Application For A Social Security Card (Form SS-5)13
  • When completing the form SS-5, list your new court-ordered name.
  • SSA generally charges a small fee to request a new Social Security card.
  • Show proof of your: 1)U.S. citizenship; 2) legal name change; and 3) identity.
  • Take your completed application and documents to your local SSA
    office (222 W 8th Ave A11, Anchorage, AK 99513).
  • All documents you submit must be either originals or copies certified
    by the issuing agency. The SSA won’t accept photocopies or notarized
    copies of documents.
  • Possible additional documentation requirements to verify identity.

Change Your Driver’s License Gender Marker

Alaskans no longer need to get any kind of surgery to change their driver’s license gender markers.

You can use a passport showing your true gender to support a change of gender marker on a driver’s license. The U.S. State Department has adopted rules allowing transgender people to change their gender identifier based on a physician’s certification. You may wish to change your passport and then use your corrected passport to change your driver’s license. You could also use a birth certificate showing one’s correct gender marker or a court order, though these are often more difficult to obtain. Learn more.

 If you do not have a passport, cannot afford to get one, or your passport does not bear the correct identifier, you can still change the gender marker on your driver’s license. The DMV has a form allowing health care providers to certify the gender of a patient they have treated or evaluated. The provider need only state that the change of gender is expected to be permanent and that you have had “appropriate clinical treatment,” without restriction to the nature of the treatment. Get DMV forms.

Change Your U.S. Passport

As of January 28, 2011, surgery is no longer required to change the gender marker on a U.S. passport. Instead, you need to provide a letter from your physician on office letterhead that confirms whether your gender transition is in process or complete.

If you are renewing your passport and requesting a gender change, you must use form DS-11, Application for a U.S. Passport, and apply in person, even if you would otherwise be eligible to renew by mail.

To apply for a new passport, individuals must submit in person a form DS-11, along with passport photos, proof of U.S. citizenship (generally a birth certificate), a valid form of photo identification, and fees. If the gender marker on any of the documents conflicts with the desired gender marker on the passport, then the above-mentioned physician’s letter is also required. Review Passport forms.

Change Your Birth Certificate Gender Marker

If you were born in Alaska, you can amend your birth certificate to reflect a new gender through the Division of Vital Statistics. A birth certificate will be amended to reflect a new gender upon presentation of a signed original statement, on office letterhead, from a licensed:

(1) Physician in medicine or osteopathy;
(2) Social worker;
(3) Psychologist;
(4) Professional counselor;
(5) Physician assistant; or
(6) Advanced nurse practitioner.

The certification provided must be made under penalty of unsworn falsification. The letter must include the licensed provider’s full name, address, telephone number, professional license number, license-issuing jurisdiction, original signature, and a statement certifying that

(1) The licensed provider has treated the applicant or reviewed and evaluated the medical history of the applicant with regard to the condition necessitating the requested change;
(2) The applicant has had appropriate clinical treatment for the condition necessitating the change; and
(3) The change is expected to be permanent.