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Name and Gender Marker Change Guide

Posted by Hans Heller | Sep 14, 2020 | 0 Comments

LAW FOR ALL NAME AND GENDER MARKER CHANGE GUIDE

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Name and Pronoun Badge CC-BY-SA Ted Eytan

This checklist will walk you through all the steps needed to make a legal name change and gender identity mark change in Washington state. 

Changing one's name and/or gender marker can be an incredibly validating experience for so many people. There's a great many reasons why anyone would want to, would go through this process including, dislike their names given, safety from a stalker or domestic violence perpetrator, or gender identity for Trans and Queer folks. Names have real power, they represent who you are and can mark major transitions. Getting the state, your friends, your coworkers and family to respect who you are can often be easier after a legal name change.

Legal Name Change:

The process for your legal name change in Washington state will vary slightly amongst counties, below are the steps and procedures for King County:

    • Your filled out Petition of Order
    • Your WA or Out of State Driver's License/ID
    • As of July 28, 2019, King County District Court fees for name changes are a filing cost total of $201.50, and this includes one certified copy of the court Order of Name Change. Obtain at least 5 official copies, which are $5 each. Bring this payment to your local district court.
  • File your petition and pay the fee.
  • Cash is fastest. Cash will schedule a hearing on any day within a 90 day period. Other forms of payment will be scheduled at least 30 days out
  • Once you are at your hearing, a judge will ask you a few questions to confirm that you are not doing this to commit fraud. After completed, the clerk will hand you your copies of the court order. You may be asked what your reason for your name change is, you can say something as simple as “This more accurately represents my identity.”
  • Bring a copy of the Court Order of Name Change to your local DOL to get a new driver's license/ID.

* Below is a cost breakdown of all the fees you will need for your court visit:

Recording Cost Per Individual

$103.50

Filing Fee

$83

Administrative Cost

$10

Certified Copy of Court Order (5 copies)

$25

Total

$221.50

Here is a table filing costs and petitions in counties other than King County in Washington State:

Snohomish County (petition)

$157

Thurston County (petition)

$182.50

Pierce County (online petition)

$208.50

*If you are low income and/or need financial assistance with paying your fees, you can apply for a Motion and Order to Waive Filing Fees through the court. However, they may deny your application, or often fee assistance is granted only in part by the court. Ingersoll Gender Center is a great resource who can help with paying your fees in full, and is often a more likely way of gaining financial support in full. You can contact them at 206-849-7859. 

Gender Marker Change:

For your gender marker change, you have the option of either completing everything at your local DOL office, or you can complete by mail/online. 

In person:

  • Bring the following to your local DOL:
  • A current Driver's License/ID
  • The court Order of Name Change
  • Change of Gender Designation, filled out by you

Via Mail: 

  • Once this information is received and processed, the DOL will send you a letter to get a new card online

* There are two different fees for updating your card whether you complete in person or by mail/online. The in person fee is $10, and the mail/online fee is $20.

Birth Certificate:

To amend name and gender marker on your Washington State issued birth certificate, you will need these documents:

  • Your Washington State Driver's License/ID, with your new name and gender marker.
  • Proof of current King Country Address
  • A certified copy of your Court Order of Name Change. This will not be returned to you.

Legal Name Change DOH - Center for Health Statistic PO Box 9709 Olympia, WA 98507-9709

  • Complete a Request to Change Sex. This will need to be signed in front of a notary. These services are typically free at most banks where you have an account. 

Center for Health Statistics Department of Health PO Box 47814 Olympia, WA 98504

  • To get a certified copy of your new Birth Certificate, you will need a check or money order of $20 payable to DOH. Complete a Mail Order Form.

Social Security:

To amend your name/gender marker with the Social Security Administration, you will need these following documents with you to your local Social Security Office:

  • Your Washington State Driver's License/ID
  • Your US Birth Certificate or US Passport to prove citizenship
  • A certified copy or your Court Order of Name Change
  • There is no fee!

U.S. Passport:

To amend your U.S. Passport, you will need to bring these documents to your local passport agency:

  • Birth Certificate or U.S. Passport to prove citizenship
  • A certified copy of your Court Order of Name Change
  • A physician's letter if you wish to change your gender marker
  • Passport photos, these are $15 if taken at your local post office
  • Your application fee 

Transcripts and Diplomas:

High School: 

To amend your name and gender marker on your high school transcripts and diploma, you will need your court ordered name change

  • Contact the school you graduated/attended.
  • Ask if there is a fee and what steps you will need to take to change your name.

GED: Contact the official testing site center where you completed your testing. You will likely need to provide one or more of these documents:

  • Court Order for Name Change
  • Valid State Driver's License/ID with your new legal name
  • Social Security Card with your new legal name

Junior College/University: The procedures and steps for changing your name and gender marker on official documents, transcripts, awards, and diplomas will vary amongst institutions, but typically these are the steps to follow:

  • Visit or contact or visit your college/university's Registrar or Alumni's Office.
  • It will be required to provide your certified copy of your Court Order of Name Change. Some colleges/universities will also require one or more of these documents:
  • Former Driver's License/ID
  • Valid Driver's License/ID with new legal name
  • Valid Passport with new legal name
  • Birth Certificate with new legal name
  • Social Security card with new legal name
  • Make sure that your name change request reflects in all databases. 
  • If you have graduated or left school, request that the Registrar or Alumni administration wipe your dead name from all school records.

Banks and Credit Cards 

The process to change your name on your bank accounts and credit cards will vary amongst different companies, but the steps will typically look something like this:

Banks:

  • Bring your new Driver's License/ID, new Social Security Card, and your Court Order of Name Change to your local branch. Some banks will allow you to do this over the pand via fax.
  • Order new checks, if you are being paid by your employer via direct deposit, ask them to update their payroll using a voided check with your new name.

Credit Cards:

  • Find out the specific steps of each issuer, and most companies will have this information and/or complete your request on their website.
  • Have on hand, your new Driver's License/ID, new Social Security Card, and your Court Order of Name Change, and be prepared to fax, email or mail these documents to these companies.

*If you're looking for some more useful resources, Lavender Rights Project holds a Monthly Identity Document Clinic every second Saturday of the month from 12pm-2pm. They provide access to up-to-date documentation, notaries, medical providers and staff attorneys.

This article is written by Hans Heller with legal oversight by Sarterus Rowe  WSBA #47010

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