Changing Legal Name and Legal Sex
We recognize that for many transgender individuals, changing their name and/or legal sex/gender marker is an important step on the journey toward authenticity. The information available here can help you navigate the process.
Ohio State Resources
Student Legal Services (SLS) provides legal services to eligible Ohio State students. These services include assistance with changing names and sex/gender markers legally. For more information and to schedule an appointment to speak to an SLS attorney, visit studentlegal.osu.edu.
There are also resources for navigating name and legal sex/gender marker changes on your own:
Gender and Name Change & ID Documents - Instructions for changing names and gender markers on your state ID, passport, and with the Social Security Administration
Equitas Health, TransOhio, and Cooper Elliott:
Name and Gender Change Guide for Ohio Residents - Instructions for changing names and gender markers for your state ID, passport, birth certificate, Social Security Administration, Selective Service, and more.
The National Center for Transgender Equality:
Regarding funding, TransOhio offers a Micro-Grant for Name Change/Gender Marker Change. Learn more and apply at transohio.org/legalinfo.
Steps to update various identity documents
Name Change in the State of Ohio
Changing your name legally in the State of Ohio requires a court order, newspaper advertisement, and court hearing.
1. Probate Court Order
You must file your name change application in the Probate Court for the county you live in. You must have been a resident of that county for at least sixty days before you can file. For instructions on filing for a name change in Franklin County, the county probate court offers a guide on Adult Name Change in Franklin County. If you are only a temporary resident of Franklin County but have your permanent address in a different county, you will need to go to probate court in the county of your permanent address. Equitas Health provides a directory of requirements per county in Ohio.
For those in Franklin County, you will need to:
Complete an Application for Change of Name
Get your completed application notarized
File your notarized application along with (1) a photocopy of birth certificate or birth record and (2) a photocopy of government issued identification
- Pay filing fee ($128)
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.
Changing Name and Legal Gender with 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.
To update your name on your Ohio driver’s license or Ohio ID card, take both of the following to any local BMV license agency:
Your current driver’s license or ID card; and
A certified copy of the court order approving your name change.
The BMV should issue you a new license or ID card with your updated name. At this time, you may also update your name on your voter registration.
Gender Marker Change
To update your gender marker on your Ohio driver’s license or ID card, complete these steps:
Complete the Declaration of Gender Change Form
Download the Declaration of Gender Change. Fill out the sections labeled “To Be Completed by Applicant” and “Release of Information.”
The form will also need signed by a physician, psychologist, therapist, nurse practitioner, or social worker who is licensed to practice in the United States that certifies the gender identity of the applicant.
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
In 7-10 days, you will be notified by letter if the gender change is approved, and you will receive a document that may be presented to any local BMV license agency.
Once you receive the letter, take the following documents to any local BMV license agency:
Your current driver’s license or ID card; and
Declaration of Gender Change approval letter.
The BMV should issue you a new license or ID card with your updated gender marker. (Be prepared to take a new photo!) Also, note that your old driver’s license/ID must be surrendered.
Name and Sex Marker Changes on Birth Certificate
Present a certified copy of the court order recognizing your name change to the Ohio Department of Health’s Office of Vital Statistics, and request a new birth certificate.
Sex Marker Change
The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) has established new procedures that allow transgender people to correct the legal sex marker on Ohio birth certificates. This process is called a court-ordered correction of a birth record.
What is the process for correcting the sex marker on an Ohio birth certificate?
Complete and file an Application for Correction of Birth Record
File your completed application along with (1) a certified copy of your birth certificate and (2) a photocopy of government issued identification
- Pay filing fee
Obtain an order from a probate court for a correction of their birth certificate.
The required court order can be issued by a probate court in Ohio, or a court in the state where the person resides.
A person may also request a court order approving a name change at the same time and in the same court where they seek correction of their legal sex marker. Additional requirements for a name change are set forth in Ohio’s laws.
- Once the birth certificate sex marker correction is approved by a probate court, the probate court will automatically send its order to ODH, and ODH will automatically perform the correction.
- ODH will seal the old birth certificate when it receives the probate court’s order, and the prior (i.e. uncorrected) birth certificate will not be accessible to anyone except the applicant. ODH will issue a new, corrected birth certificate, and it will not be evident that there has been any change.
Updating Legal Name and Legal Sex at Ohio State
After completing the legal name change process and/or legal sex marker change process, check out our page on updating your legal name and legal sex with Ohio State.
What is Legal Sex?
For reporting required by federal and state governmental agencies, legal sex is defined as the sex indicated on government documents (e.g., state photo identification). Legal sex may differ from sex assigned at birth, gender identity and/or gender expression.
How Data is Used
The university is required to collect Legal Sex Designation data in certain systems and business processes, including student and employee official records that are reported to federal and state governmental agencies (e.g., the federal Departments of Education and Labor). The university makes every effort to limit reporting of either legal sex designation to instances where such data is required by law, and primarily uses this information in aggregate to make informed, data-driven decisions related to strategic resources and student and employee support. In addition, regulations require the university to ask employees to self-disclose this information on legal sex at the time of application and the time of hire, and if not disclosed voluntarily during onboarding the university is required by law to make this designation.