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Immigration Documents

Immigration documents such as Employment Authorization Cards, Permanent Resident Cards, and Naturalization Certificates are essential for starting employment, enrolling in school, obtaining other identification documents, and more. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) allows individuals to update the name and/or gender marker on immigration documents through the procedures described below. NCTE always recommends you consult with an immigration attorney to receive advice specific to your immigration situation. 

 

How Do I Update My Immigration Documents?

Generally speaking, to update the name and/or gender marker on any immigration document you will need the following: 

  • If changing name, a court order for name change or other proof of legal name change. 
  • If changing gender, a birth certificate, passport, or court order recognizing the new gender, OR a letter from a licensed physician certifying the change in gender, as shown in the sample letter. 

See below for specific list of what you need to submit for each type of immigration document. 

What Should My Physician’s Certification Letter Include?

USCIS will only accept gender designation letters from a licensed physician (a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) or Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O.). All certifications must be on the physician’s office letterhead and include all of the information in the below letter, including both the physician’s license or certificate number and DEA registration number. You should ask your physician to use the language shown here and not give additional personal health information that is not included here. 

I, (physician’s full name), (physician’s medical license or certificate number), (issuing U.S. State/Foreign Country of medical license/certificate), (DEA Registration number or comparable foreign designation), am the physician of (name of patient), (date of birth of patient), with whom I have a doctor/patient relationship and whom I have treated (or with whom I have a doctor/patient relationship and whose medical history I have reviewed and evaluated). 
 
(Name of patient) has had appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition to the new gender (specify new gender male or female). 
 
I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States that the foregoing is true and correct. 
 
Physician's Signature 
Typed Name 
Address 
Phone Number 
Date 

You can download a sample physician letter here.

What is "appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition"?

People’s gender transition needs vary, and treatment options are decided between individuals and health care professionals on a case-by-case basis. The phrase “appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition” is meant to capture a range of treatments that may be appropriate, in each individual case, to facilitate gender transition. Clinical treatment methods are outlined in the World Professional Association for Transgender Health Standards of Care, and treatment can include psychotherapy, changes in gender expression and role, hormone therapy, or surgery, or any combination thereof. No specific treatment is required, and details of your treatment need not be provided. In fact, NCTE encourages you and your provider to only state in the letter that you have had appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition. Details about surgery, hormone treatment, or other treatments are unnecessary and not helpful.

 

 

What Do I Need to Update my Employment Authorization Card?

To change the name and/or gender marker on an Employment Authorization Card, you must submit: 

  • Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization (http://www.uscis.gov/i-765)  
  • Filing fee of $465 (subject to change) or a Fee Waiver 
  • Two passport-style photographs  
  • Supporting documentation 
    • If changing name, a court order for name change or other proof of legal name change. 
    • If changing gender, a birth certificate, passport, or court order recognizing the new gender, OR a letter from a licensed physician certifying the change in gender, as shown in the sample letter. 

 

What Do I Need to Update My Permanent Resident Card?

To change the name and/or gender marker on a Permanent Resident Card, you must submit: 

  • Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card (http://www.uscis.gov/i-90
  • Filing fee of $450 (subject to change) or a Fee Waiver 
  • Supporting documentation 
    • If changing name, a court order for name change or other proof of legal name change. 
    • If changing gender, a birth certificate, passport, or court order recognizing the new gender, OR a letter from a licensed physician 

What Do I Need to Update my Naturalization Certificate?

To change the name and/or gender marker on a naturalization certificate, you must submit: 

  • Form N-565, Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document (http://www.uscis.gov/n-565
  • Filing fee of $345 (subject to change) or a Fee Waiver 
  • Two passport-style photographs  
  • Supporting documentation 
    • If changing name, a court order for name change or other proof of legal name change. 
    • If changing gender, a birth certificate, passport, or court order recognizing the new gender, OR a letter from a licensed physician certifying the change in gender, as shown in the sample letter. 

 

Additional Resources

USCIS Policy Memorandum on Adjudication of Immigration Benefits for Transgender Individuals, April 10, 2012.
http://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/USCIS/Outreach/Feedback%20Opportunities/Interim%20Guidance%20for%20Comment/Transgender_FINAL.pdf

Immigration Equality Legal Help
http://www.immigrationequality.org/get-legal-help/ 

 

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