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Guide to Changing Your Legal Name and/or Gender in North Carolina

This guide provides an overview of steps and resources to assist individuals who wish to change their legal name and/or gender in North Carolina.

Changing Your Legal Gender in North Carolina

In North Carolina, a court order for a gender change is NOT required to change driver's license or birth certificate information. It is also not required by the Social Security Administration. Both will accept a gender designation form signed by a licensed health care professional; more information can be found below.

However, in order to change the gender on your birth certificate, you must have successfully completed what North Carolina law refers to as "sex reassignment surgery." See N.C. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 130A-118.

Drivers Licenses

In order to update the gender marker on a North Carolina ID, the applicant may submit any ONE of the following:

  • Gender Designation Form, signed by the applicant and by one of the following licensed professionals: physician, psychiatrist, physician's assistant, licensed therapist, counselor, psychologist, case worker, or social worker
  • A passport or birth certificate with the proper gender marker
  • A court order recognizing the gender

Applicants should submit the form to a driver's license office and will have to surrender the old ID, have a new photo taken at DMV, and pay the fees for a driver’s license. Applicants can update their name and gender at the same time or separately. For more information on the North Carolina DMV gender change policy, see these Frequently Asked Questions.

Birth Certificates

North Carolina state registrar will issue a new birth certificate upon receipt of a written request by an individual "to change the sex on that individual's birth record because of sex reassignment surgery, if the request is accompanied by a notarized statement from the physician who performed the sex reassignment surgery or from a physician licensed to practice medicine who has examined the individual and can certify that the person has undergone sex reassignment surgery." N.C. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 130A-118.

Mail application to:

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services
​Division of Public Health - Vital Records
1903 Mail Service Center
​Raleigh, NC 27699-1900

Please note: North Carolina will accept court orders from other states to update the name and/or gender on a North Carolina birth certificate.

Social Security cards

Social Security will accept any of the following forms of evidence for a gender marker change:

  • A full-validity 10-year U.S. passport showing the correct gender,
  • A state-issued birth certificate showing the correct gender,
  • A court order recognizing the correct gender, or
  • A signed letter from a provider confirming you have had appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition

If the applicant uses a physician letter, it must come from a licensed physician with whom they have a patient relationship and who is familiar with their transition-related treatment. (This may be any physician who is familiar with their treatment, including a primary care physician or a specialist.) All certifications must be on the physician’s office letterhead and must include the physician’s license or certificate number.

Applicants must take this information along with an application for a Social Security Card to their local SSA office or center.

More information about this process can be found on the NCTE's website or the SSA's website.

UNC Materials

Students with legal (government issued) documentation showing a change in gender can contact the Office of the University Registrar (registrar@unc.edu) to update their legal gender in the student information system.  Legal gender is not widely used across campus, but is required for some services and reported externally.  Students in transition without legal documentation can work with the LGBTQ Center to make accommodations where needed.

The LGBTQ Center UNC-Chapel Hill offers information and assistance for transgender and nonbinary students navigating campus life. Their guide to Transitioning at Carolina covers name and gender changes as well as other considerations like housing and campus health.

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