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How to Change Your ID Documents for Trans, Gender Non-Conforming, and Intersex (TGNCI) Individuals During COVID-19 pandemic

**UPDATED FOR COVID-19 PANDEMIC**

Welcome to the Sylvia Rivera Law Project’s ID Change Resource, our step-by-step guide to updating your identification documents in New York.

**This guide contains the most recent information as of May 1, 2020, however given the speed at which things are changing, it might be inaccurate by the time you are using it. Please contact a lawyer ASAP for the most up-to-date information or email hannah@srlp.org or dst@srlp.org.**

The current health crisis has greatly impacted how government agencies function and what services are provided for individuals. Our ID Update Guide has been updated to include information on the pandemic’s effect on updating the most common types of IDs. This guide will help you correct the gender marker and name on various IDs without the help of an attorney.

If this resource is useful to you, consider donating $5 today to support SRLP’s work.

So you’ve had a legal name change – congrats! What are your next steps? Well, you have to update and change your name and gender with all government agencies, banks, landlords, and any computer systems that you are listed in. This guide will help you understand the process for changing all of your identity documents.

Table of Contents:
What Do You Need?
Social Security Card
New York City Municipal ID (“IDNYC”)
New York State ID
New York State Benefits Card
New York City Birth Certificate
New York State Birth Certificate
Other Birth Certificates
U.S. Passport
Immigration IDs
Other Documents

 

What Do You Need?

To change your name: Your name change order with the receipt, staples and all.

To change your gender: A well written doctor’s letter. One of the most important things that you will need to change your gender marker is a doctor’s letter affirming or attesting to your “gender transition”. We encourage you to get three original letters in case any agencies take them or refuse to make a copy. Most agencies accept letters with the language “appropriate clinical treatment.” However, some agencies require more strict and binary language determining that you have “completed the process of gender transition to the new gender” or that “one gender predominates over the other.”

Social Security Card
All Social Security Administration (SSA) offices are closed to the public at this time, so unfortunately you will be unable to correct the name and gender in SSA’s system. To stay up-to-date with SSA changes, you may select the “subscribe” link on this webpage under the section “Stay Informed” to receive alerts from SSA when information is added or changed. You also may follow SSA on Facebook and Twitter and subscribe to SSA’s blog.

New York City Municipal ID (“IDNYC”)
IDNYC is a great ID to have and it is relatively easy to correct the name and gender on this card. However, like SSA, all IDNYC Enrollment Centers are temporarily closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. To stay up-to-date, please check this page or contact an attorney.

New York State ID
All DMV offices are closed to the public and the expiration date on many cards has been extended until further notice. The DMV is accepting applications to renew an expired card online, though you would need to submit a renewal application with your old name and would not be able to change that information until DMV offices reopen.

New York State Benefits Card and Medicaid
Your New York State Common Benefits Identification Card (CBIC) may be one of the most important IDs you use. The CBIC is the plastic card titled “New York State Benefit Identification Card” through which eligible individuals can access services like Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Medicaid, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the NYC Human Resources Administration is still processing benefits cards. Please check the HRA website’s FAQ page for general information. You can check the main HRA page for COVID closures and updates.

CBIC processing sites are still open although with shortened hours:

If you receive food stamps or Medicaid in New York City, the city’s Human Resources Administration (HRA) has a policy that allows you to change your name, gender, signature, and photo with HRA when you get a legal name change or receive updated identity documents, such as a birth certificate. All you need to do is bring the legal name change order or updated documents below to your PA office, Job Center, or HASA case worker.

The application to change your name and gender is located here.

For a gender correction with HRA, you can submit an accurate or amended birth certificate, a NYS Driver’s License, a NYS Non-Driver ID, a letter from Social Security, a medical note, or a gender-affirming passport. You should also request a G-1 billing exception code if you identify as female or a G-2 code if you identify as male so that you will not be denied services that have typically been restricted based on sex designations.

For a name change with HRA, you can submit a court order, an accurate or amended birth certificate, a NYS Driver’s License, a NYS Non-Driver ID, a letter from Social Security, or a gender-affirming passport. You can also submit a marriage license.

If you have any problems at your job center or PA site, you can reference the LGBTQIA policy.

For individuals who have benefits or state aid, such as those who enrolled through the marketplace and not via HRA, NY State has a similar policy. If you receive benefits, such as Medicaid, from New York State of Health, you will need to update with them by calling 1-855-355-5777 or by logging into your web login and uploading the appropriate documents, such as your name change order and doctor letter. You should also request a G-1 billing exception code if you identify as female or a G-2 code if you identify as male so that you will not be denied services that have typically been restricted based on sex designations. You can also fax your documents with your account number and/or social security number to 1-855-387-1363. It is a good idea to submit your doctor letter when requesting the G-1 or G-2 codes.

New York State’s Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance and the New York State Department of Health recently amended their policy to remove the sex designation on CBICs. Under the new policy, all newly issued benefit cards come without a gender marker. You can therefore ask for a new card but will not be able to have your gender switched on the card. The service provider should be able to provide you with a new benefits card the same day. Because this is a new policy, there may be HRA providers who are unfamiliar with the updated policy. As is true with any change in law, regulation, or policy, we do not expect this transition to be without complications. If you have any issues getting a new, genderless CBIC, please call SRLP for help.

This policy does not apply to cards issued by insurance providers of Medicaid benefits, such as Amida Care or HealthFirst.

 

New York City Birth Certificate

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) has suspended all in-person ordering of NYC birth certificates. However, you can still submit a mail in correction application to correct your name and gender marker! The steps for correcting via mail are as follows:

  • To update your birth certificate, you must complete DOHMH “Correcting a Birth Certificate” form (VR-172) and provide a photocopy of current, signed photo identification. If you are updating your name, you must submit a certified copy of your legal name change order.
  • To change your gender marker, New York City’s policy as of January 1, 2019 requires only self-attestation of your gender! Proof of surgery or a doctor’s letter is no longer required if you are over 18 years old. The affirmation or affidavit must include your name, date of birth, birth certificate number, and address and must be notarized. You may also use the Self-Attestation form provided by the city.

Finally, you must submit a check or money order for $55. This includes the $40 fee for updating the name and/or gender on your birth certificate plus $15 for the new certified copy. The materials can be submitted in person or sent by mail to the address below:

New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

Office of Vital Records, Corrections Unit

ATTN: David Mitchem

125 Worth Street, Room 144, CN-4

New York, NY 10013

212-788-5261

Please note that application times may be much longer than usual given the COVID-19 pandemic. If you need further information or assistance in completing your mail-in correction application, please contact SRLP at dst@srlp.org or hannah@srlp.org.

New York State Birth Certificate (Any County Outside of New York City)
All walk in services at NYS Department of Health offices have been suspended until further notice. However, like NYC birth certificates, you can still submit a mail-in application to correct the name and gender marker!

Even better, on March 10, 2020, the Department of Health announced a change to its policy to allow minors to correct their gender marker and to allow self-attestation for gender marker corrections. This means you no longer need a doctor letter to correct the gender marker on your birth certificate! The steps for correcting via mail are as follows:

  • To update birth certificates issued in New York State outside of the five boroughs of New York City, you will first need a certified copy of your current birth certificate or a notarized affidavit confirming that you are 18 years of age or older. You will also need a completed Application for Correction of Birth (Form DOH 5305). To change your name on the birth certificate, you must include a certified copy of the legal name change order.
  • To correct the gender marker on your birth certificate, you will need to complete a Notarized Affidavit of Gender Error for a Person 17 Years of Age or Older (Form DOH 5303), if you are 17 years or older. If you are younger than 17, your parent or legal guardian must submit the correction request on your behalf. They will need to complete and sign a Notarized Affidavit Form Affirming the Gender Identity of their Child (Form DOH‑5304).

Send all the above materials, along with a $30 check, to:

New York State Department of Health
Director of Vital Records
ATTN: Guy Warner
800 North Pearl Street, 2nd Floor
Albany, NY 12204

Please note that application times may be much longer than usual given the COVID-19 pandemic. If you need further information or assistance in completing your mail-in correction application, please contact SRLP at dst@srlp.org or hannah@srlp.org.

Other Birth Certificates
During the COVID crisis, other states may have different processes for updating birth certificates or may have put all application requests on hold. You should contact an attorney or SRLP for the most up-to-date information on non-NYS birth certificates. For any additional questions, please contact SRLP at dst@srlp.org or hannah@srlp.org.

U.S. Passport

The U.S. State Department is only processing applicants with a life-or-death emergency and who need the passport for immediate travel within 72 hours. Unfortunately, you should wait until after normal operations are resumed to correct the name and gender on your passport. Stay up-to-date with State Department changes here.

Immigration IDs

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has suspended all routine in-person services until further notice. Offices are expected to reopen on or after June 4, 2020, but this date may change.

All Other Documents

For all other documents, please contact a lawyer or SRLP for more information and guidance.