U.S. Department of State Foreign Affairs Manual Revisions: Gender Change in Passport Application and Review (2010)

Court and Agency Decisions and Orders (including case law)

On June 9, 2010, the United States State Department announced that the application process for passports for transgender people was amended to require only medical certification from an attending physician regarding treatment for gender transition and an accurate photo identification reflecting the applicant's current appearance. Sexual reassignment surgery is no longer a prerequisite to secure a passport reflecting the applicant's desired gender marker. Requirements for all other elements of the application aside from gender still apply. These standards were based on recommendations of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, recognized by the American Medical Association.

This is a significant development for transgender U.S. citizens. Transgender travelers have long faced unnecessary hurdles and harassment when traveling because their appearance has been at odds with their photo or gender marker in their passport. The State Department's new passport regulations now more appropriately consider the realities, needs, and rights of transgender U.S. citizens.

A revised version of the most recent U.S. Passport Services Manual guidelines is intended to guide passport specialists and consular officers in the passport application and review process when an applicant requests a gender marker on a passport application that appears differently from the gender marker reflected in some or all of his/her required identification documentation, including a prior passport.