Name Change and Preferred Name

We recognize that for many LGBTQ+ individuals, the ability to use a preferred name and/or gender marker is an important step on the journey toward self-discovery. Whether you want to use your preferred name on your BuckID, change your name legally with the State of Ohio and/or with The Ohio State University or change the gender marker on your driver's license, the information available here can help you navigate the process.

Preferred Name on Your BuckID

The Ohio State University allows students to use their preferred name on their BuckID and will replace a BuckID listing a legal name at no cost. In order to list your preferred name on your BuckID, you must sign in and update your name in Buckeye Link first.

For more information about this process, please see the Frequently Asked Questions for use of a preferred name on BuckID.

Name Change in the State of Ohio

In order to change your name legally in the State of Ohio the following steps must be completed in order.

1. Probate Court

Complete and submit an application to your county probate court for changing your name. You must be a permanent resident of that county for at least a year prior to submitting the application.

Please note that if you are an Ohio State student and resident of Franklin County, you will need to submit your application to the Franklin County Probate Court. However, if you are only a temporary resident of Franklin County but have your permanent address in, for example, Cincinnati (Hamilton County), you will need to go to the Hamilton County Probate Court.

2. Newspaper Advertisement

The State of Ohio requires you to advertise your application in a local newspaper at least 30 days before the hearing on your application. The court will provide additional details once you submit your application.

3. Hearing in Court

You will be provided notice of a date for your hearing at which, after some questions to ensure that you have complied with the process, the judge will officially order your original name changed to your new name. The court order obtained after this decision can be used to change a number of records (financial, etc.).

For additional information, please refer to the Ohio Revised Code 2717.01, which addresses acquiring a legal name change. TransOhio also offers some useful commentary on this process.

Name Change at Ohio State

After completing the legal name change process, you can change your name with The Ohio State University Registrar by submitting a "Request for Change of Record." This form can be obtained at the Student Academic Services building or accessed online.

If accessing the form online, select "Primary Name" from the "Change Request" dropdown menu and upload a copy of either the court order documenting your legal name change or a valid passport using your current legal name.

Name and Gender Marker Change at the Ohio BMV

The Ohio Department of Public Safety Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) allows individuals to change their name using a written court order. The BMV will also allow individuals to change the gender marker on their driver’s license with the written authorization of a qualified professional. In order to complete this process, follow these steps:

1. Form

Download the Declaration of Gender Change form and review annotations and requirements as outlined. Fill out the section labeled "to be completed by applicant."

2. Signature

Have your physician, psychologist or therapist complete and sign the section on your Declaration of Gender Change Form labeled "physician/psychologist's statement."

Only licensed physicians, psychologists and therapists are allowed to sign this form. To be qualified, the medical professional must attest that the transition is being conducted in accordance with the guidelines set forth in the World Professional Association for Transgender Health’s (WPATH) Standards of Care, formally known as the Henry Benjamin Standards of Care.

3. Submission

Mail or fax your completed Declaration of Gender Change form to the BMV.

Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles Attn: License Control
PO Box 16784
Columbus, OH 43216-6784
Phone: 1-614-752-7500/Fax: 1-614-752-7987 P

Do not forget to make a copy of the paperwork for your records. Turn-around and processing time is 7-10 business days.

4. Processing

You will be notified in writing by the Ohio BMV when your information has been changed. Bring the original written notification (not a copy) to your local BMV office to get a new license issued. Your old license must be surrendered.

Please note that BMV fees do apply to the issuance of your new identification card. Additional information on the Ohio driver’s license gender marker process, history and frequently asked questions from TransOhio is available online.

Gender Marker Change on Birth Certificate

Ohio does not currently allow individuals born in the state of Ohio to change the gender marker on their Ohio birth certificate. If you were born in another state (except Tennessee and Idaho), you may be eligible to change the gender marker on your birth certificate. The process for this is different in each state.

Pronouns

The university provides the option to include preferred pronouns in your university email signature and business cards. A template is available to build your personal signature using the offical university format. 

Additional Information

Student Legal Services (SLS) provides legal services to eligible Ohio State students. These services include assistance with the legal name change process. For more information and to schedule an appointment to speak to an SLS attorney, visit studentlegal.osu.edu.

For more comprehensive information on the processes outlined above, please take advantages of these resources: