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California

Welcome to our one-stop hub for name and gender change information. Find out how to get a legal name change where you live and update your name/gender on state and federal IDs and records.

 

​Last updated June 5, 2017

Name Change, Driver's License & Birth Certificate Policies in:

Federal IDs and Records:

California Name Change Laws

To obtain a legal name change in California, the applicant must submit a petition to the court for a name change order. If the name change is related to gender, the applicant should not have to attend an in-person hearing and does not need to publish notice of their name change in the newspaper.
 
As of September 2017, state inmates can apply for legal name changes without prior approval by correction officials (See SB310).  The courts will deny registered sex offender petitions unless they determine it will not adversely affect public safety. (Statute: Cal. Civ. Proc. Code §§1275-1279.6). 

California Drivers License Policy & Procedures

In order to update the name on a California driver's license or state ID, the applicant must first obtain a court order for name change, then change their name with the Social Security Administration, and then submit evidence of the name change to the Department of Motor Vehicles. The DMV addresses name changes here.

In order to update the gender on a California driver's license or state ID, the applicant must submit to the DMV a Medical Certification and Authorization (Gender Change) form completed by a licensed physician or psychologist. 

Starting January 1, 2019, applicants may choose their gender category of female, male, or nonbinary, and no additional documentation is required. See SB 179.

California Birth Certificate Laws

Starting January 2018, the California Department of Public Health will issue a new birth certificate reflecting a gender of female, male, or nonbinary upon receipt of an application to change the gender along with an affidavit attesting that the change of gender is to conform with the person's gender identity. No provider attestation is required. The agency creates a new birth certificate and seals the old record. If requesting an amended name on the birth certificate as well, applicant must also submit the legal name change order. See SB 179

The current birth certificate amendment process (through January 2018) is outlined here.

Court Orders for Gender Change: Starting September 1, 2018, to obtain a judgment reflecting a change of gender from a California court a person may file a petition in any county seeking recognition of female, male, or nonbinary gender, along with an affidavit attesting to their own gender. No provider attestation is required. See SB 179

For the current instructions on judgements for change of gender, see the gender change instructions on the Calfornia Courts website.

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