Arizona name change for transgender people

Disclaimer: This is legal talk, not legal advice. Laws vary by state, and some of the information discussed on this page may not be applicable in your case. I cannot guarantee the accuracy of this information and provide it without warranty. Laws change and this information may contain errors and omissions. It is up to you to confirm any information herein by doing your own research.

Other resources

A reader sent this in May 2009:

Arizona allows the gender marker to be changed without SRS as long as you have a letter from a doctor (a therapist may work too) stating that you are “irrevocably committed” to a sex/gender change. The actual policy stating that procedure is hard to find, so I’ve attached a copy for your use. (The relevant section is section 3.b on p. 3.)

Arizona Department of Transportation
Customer Service Program
DATE: 1995 08-14
POLICY TITLE: Review of Other Application Information and Forms
SUPERCEDES: 06-02-92
Pages: 1 of 5

3. An explanation of name or sex change information is recorded.
a. Two ID's are required for a name change or one certified documents.
b. A doctor's letter is required to change sex and must state that the applicant is irrevocably committed to the sex change procedure.

A reader sent this in December 2008:

The forms for the name change can be found on the Maricopa County. Gov site click on the Self Service Center and will take you to the Judicial Branch of Arizona or this web address

If you go to the web site click on Court Forms, once the forms window pops up scroll down until you find Civil Cases and click, once the window changes go to Name Change.

Or you can go to the Superior Court (East Court Building) located at 101 W. Jefferson, Phoenix, Az and go to the Law Library and go to the self help.

The cost to file for an name change stands as of 11-12-08 $286.00 and may go up over #300.00 in 2009 according to rumors. There is also a program which could help you if you can not afford the full fee. It's called the Deferral Program when you fill out the paperwork go to the filling windows located in between the Central Court Building and West Court Building and file the all the paperwork approval for the deferral program is done right there. Also I have heard rumors that they may do away with this program. After you file you will have to wait 3 to 4 working days than you can call the number they give and you will be given your hearing date.

You will need to bring with you 3 copies of your Notice of Hearing Regarding Application for Name Change, 3 copies of Application for Change of Name for an Adult, 3 copies Order Changing Name of an Adult. Plus a letter from your Therapist stating that you are actively involved in psychotherapy to show the court.

You will need to get at least one Certified Copy of the Order Changing the Name of an Adult, the cost is now $26.00 on the cover sheet of instructions for filling out the Name Change for an Adult states $18.00 and the Judge told me $20.00, but when I went to the family court window it was $26.00 and may go up in 2009.

My name change in court took about less than an hour and was granted. For those that were seeking a name change were casually dress, it was suggested that since I was changing my name from a male name to a female name that I dress in a semi-professional outfit and since I am a employee, I was dressed with respect of my employer and respect to the court. For others I would dress in a conservative outfit appropriate to a courtroom setting and your desired gender.

I than went to the Social Security Department which was just down the street. The process took less than 15 minutes. You can download the form from their website. They will also tell you it will take 7 to 10 working before you get your new SSN Card, I got mine in 3 days. The cost is zero. They advised me it would take 48 hours for SSA and DMV to interface their computers and data base.

I went to Arizona Department of Motor Vehicles with my Certified Copy of the Name change. I filled out the new form and waited for my number to be called. My number was called and I proceed to the window. I gave the lady the form plus my Certified Copy of my name change. The cost was $4.00. Than the lady said do you want to change your gender, I said I thought I couldn't if I didn't have the operation, she stated are you on hormones I said yes, and she gave me the following:

It was a regulation and it basically states you can change your gender as long as you get a letter from your physician who is treating you for transgenderization.

The letter must be on the physicians stationary or letter head, must contain address, phone number and state license # . The body must state the following:

December 1, 2008

Ref: [person's name]

To Whom It May Concern:

The above captioned individual previously known as [person's name] has been on female hormones for purposes of transgenderization and is irrevocably committed to a gender change from male to female.

You must submitted this letter to DMV with 3 months of the date of the letter.

So today I went back to DMV and showed the letter and had my gender changed on my license from male to female. I did all this in a period of one month and I am making monthly payments to the Clerk of the Court for my name change.

A reader sent this in November 2007:

Changing your name is Tucson, Arizona is very easy.

The Pima County Clerk of the Superior Court in Tucson handles all name changes. The court is downtown at 110 W. Congress Street, Tucson, which is a couple of blocks north of the Convention Center and a few blocks east of I-10. If you arrive early (before 10:30 AM) you can have your name change done the same day (possibly before lunch). Municipal parking is on the north side of Congress a block east of I-10.

You will need an Order, Petition, Cover Sheet and a $170.00 money order payable to the Clerk of the Superior Court. If you are indigent, you can request a waiver of the court costs. It will take about a week for you to be advised of the court’s decision regarding the fee waiver.

Any additional documents (doctors’ letters, official ID in your proposed name) may help, but are not necessary for only a “name change,” and should be presented with the aforementioned papers. You can add items to the order (e.g., requesting a gender change or birth certificate gender change) but the judge may strike that part from the Order.

The forms are available here:

The intake area is on the first floor. The cashier/intake clerk will take your papers and money order and he will calendar your case.

You will wait on the first floor about an hour until you are called. You will then take the elevator (with a lot of other people and a court officer) to the upstairs courtroom. Your case will be heard with other civil matters (e.g., divorces).

When your old name is called, you will approach the bench and you will be sworn in by the court clerk, asked to place your belonging on a table and approach the bench. The judge will ask you your name, if you lived in Arizona more than ninety days, if you are a convicted felon and a few basic questions.

Halfway during the proceedings, if your case has been heard, you will be escorted by a court employee back to the first floor. You can obtain certified copies of your change of name Order for $18.50, each.

You do not have to publish your change of name in a newspaper (as many jurisdictions require) but your change of name will appear on the Pima County Clerk’s internet site.
Although a lot of people in the courtroom were dressed “Casually;” I suggest that you wear a conservative outfit appropriate to a courtroom setting and your desired gender.

A reader sent this in June 2009:

How to legally change your name in Maricopa county when you are living out of state (ex. attending college), but still a resident of Arizona:

0. Note that at any time if you have questions, you can call the clerk of the court. Technically they’re not allowed to tell you a lot of things, but don’t let them hang up on you and ask your questions anyway. They might be able to answer anyways.

1. Go to the Superior Court website, find the self-service center, and select the link “Court Forms.” Legal name changes are civil cases, and so select that category. Select the appropriate link; for example, I needed to use “Name Change for an Adult who has no Minor Children.”

2. Open the appropriate packet as a PDF, and print it out SINGLE-SIDED. The court does NOT accept double-sided papers (something to do with their scanning system). That part is a legal law, but they do not tell you directly on the website. Because it is the Superior Court, they either assume you know what you are doing or that you have hired a lawyer. After printing, carefully read the directions. I had to read them a few times, and check back and forth between the forms to understand what they were getting at.

3. Note that you can ignore Step 5, “Notify Any Interested Party,” if you are not married. This also means you don’t need a few of the pages included in the packet.

4. Fill out “Application for Change of Name for Adult” and “Civil Cover Sheet” papers. You do not yet have a case number; don’t worry about it. In case others are confused as I was, you are the Plaintiff. You probably don’t have any Defendants. Don’t forget about the question of “Interpreter” on the top right of the civil cover sheet, and sign that box.

5. Locate which Superior Court to send your documents to; they do it by zipcode. (In Maricopa County there are 4 of them.) You can call the clerk of any of the courts and ask; tell them the zipcode of your permanent residence in Arizona, and they’ll tell you which court to send the stuff to.

6. Get the “Application for Change of Name of Adult” paper notarized (your local bank can probably do that) and copied the appropriate number of times. If they notarize things with a press-seal rather than a colored seal, have them photocopy the pages and then notarize all the copies individually. Photocopy the Civil Cover Sheet the appropriate number of times as well. (And don’t forget, you might want an extra copy of each to keep at home with you.)

7. Check the fees, and either fill out a check or money order for the filing of a legal name change. I wouldn’t recommend cash, because that’s a lot of money you can lose if you just stick it in the mail. Gather that, the appropriate number of copies of forms (you just need the Civil Cover Sheet and Application for name change at the moment), and a 9” x 12” envelope addressed FROM the appropriate Superior Court with TO address of where you want stuff sent back to. ALL ADDRESSES ON THE FORMS SHOULD BE OF YOUR PERMANENT ADDRESS IN ARIZONA. Take these all to your local post office, and have them stamp that 9” x 12” envelope based on having about 10 to 15 pages inside. (That’s more postage than will probably be needed, but being on the safe side is good.) FINALLY, put everything in an envelope large enough to contain the 9” x 12” envelope. You can expedite this if you want, or not. I recommend at least getting a tracking code on your stuff.
Mail it to the appropriate court.
So, in the bigger envelope: fees, forms, and 9x12 envelope.

8. Now you wait. It’s annoying. If you filled everything out right and payed the fees correctly, they give you a case number and a phone number to call. By the time you get your envelope back, the waiting period will probably be over, but don’t freak out if your case isn’t in the system yet the first couple of days.

9. Schedule a telephonic hearing. They DEFINITELY prefer you to be in person, so if you can schedule it over a break from school, that’s awesome. Otherwise, keep pestering them and explain why you need it done telephonically and can’t wait. At this point, I was actually in Arizona and scheduled my hearing while there, but if not, you may need to send in another few forms and return envelope(s). I am uncertain on this point. Call a Clerk of the Court, or ask the secretary of your judge/commisioner.

10. Congratulations, it’s your hearing day! Just be truthful, because they swear you in. Once your hearing is over, ask if they’d be willing to fax an unofficial copy (if you have access to a fax. Sometimes people in college offices can be friendly and lend you theirs). The unofficial copy doesn’t do anything, unless (like mine) your school is willing to take that as “good enough” and change their systems. The only difference between and unofficial and an official copy is a notarization, and the fact that the legal change has been processed through all the court systems.

11. Find a form requesting a copy of the court order of your legal name change. (You may have to wait two or three weeks to do this, while stuff in their systems gets processed.) I didn’t actually have to do this and so don’t know where to find the form online. If you can’t find it, I suggest calling the Clerk of the Court, or possibly one of the libraries. If you call enough lawyers, one MIGHT be willing to help you out for free. Mail in that form, the appropriate fees, a return envelope, etc.

12. Congratulations, you now have an OFFICIAL court order stating your legal name! :)
Unfortunately there’s a bit more.

13. Go to the nearest Social Security office and file for a new social security card. Once you get that (it took me a week), go to the post office and file for a renewed passport due to a legal name change. Note that this passport form is DIFFERENT than the one to simply renew a passport. I think mine was purple in color; I apologize for not having more details on that issue.

14. If you can, as soon as possible after getting your new social security card, get your driver’s license or state ID changed. I’m pretty sure you have to be in person to do that, however.

15. Tell everyone else who needs to be told that your name has been legally changed (i.e. doctors, credit card companies, the bank, AAA, your parents perhaps, etc.) This may take a while, and can actually be done on an as-needed basis.

16. Congratulations! You’re done! Have a party. Invite friends. Enjoy your new legal name.

A reader sent this in October 2003:

Hello Andrea:

As per your TS Road Map Site request for the Legal Name Change Project needed info, below is my experience with my name change as well as gender change on ID's in the state of Arizona:

I am not an attorney. This while a discussion of legal issuues it is not to be construed as legal advice. I can only relate my experience as to what I went thru and had to do to get my name changed, as well as what I did to get my gender changed on my documents. This information is factual as of March, 2002, the date I went thru the process. Others I have talked with since relate that the procedure is still the same.

In Arizona, legal name changes are handled by the Superior Court of Arizona in the County in which you reside. You do not need an attorney.

To change your name in Arizona, you will need the following 6 ( or 7) items:

1) Two (2) Copies of An Application For Change of Name for an Adult.
2) Two (2) Copies of: An Order Changing Name For An Adult.

Both forms can be obtained from

Note that they are in PDF format. You will need to download Acrobat reader if you don't have it on your system already. You can fill out the forms on line, then print them from your computer. Print Two copies of each.

The forms are pretty self explanitory. In the Application, under Item 1, ... desires a change of name for the following reasons:

I put "To have a name congruent with my new gender."

Under Item 2, specify weather you have or have not been convicted of a felony. A felony conviction will not necessarily prevent one from obtaining a name change in Arizona, but it can complicate matters if you are on probation, parole, etc. On the day of my name change I observed an FTM felon attempting to change his name. He needed to provide additional information regarding his probation before the name change would be granted.

The second form, the Order Changing Name for Adult, is again, very self explanitory, MAKE SURE though that you check the box ordering that a birth certificate shall be issued showing the applicant's new name. This is a court order that you may well need in the fture, depending on your state of birth. Check it, be safe than sorry.

3) Cash ( or check, the Court Clerk does not take Mastercharge or Visa) The filing fee is $196.00 plus an additional $18.50 per certified copy of the name change ( fees as of March 2002 ). File with the Court Clerk in your county. She/he will date and stamp your two forms above, enter them into the system and give them back to you. You MUST bring these back with you on your court date.

4) Current ID - you're current drivers license, State ID card, or your passport.

After you have filed and paid your fee, the clerk will give you a court date, generally 2 - 3 weeks from now. Show up in court dressed in business professional, Judges/Commissioners don't like casual. Be the part, don't show up in drab and expect the Judge to believe you're a girl ( or guy as the case may be).

5) On the day of court, have, in addition to the above: proof of residence, such as a utility bill in your old name and current address on it, etc.

6) Be able to document you're gender change process (being pre or post isn't the issue here, That you are serious about your gender change is.) Have a letter on their letter head from your shrink or your Dr. stating that you have been "Diagnosed" a transsexual and are currently undergoing medical processes to affect such change of gender. This backs up the phrase "Good cause exists to grant this applicaiton"

I had the following letter from my Dr:

(on his stationary)
Re: Jay, Jill
aka: Jay, D____ ______
SS#: ___-__-____
DOB --/--/----

To whom it May Concern:

Jill Jay is actively undergoing hormonal therapy for gender reassignment. She is a transsexual who is living and working as a female. It is both my opinion and the opinion of her counselor, _____ _____ , Ph.D., that at this time, her changes are now irreversible and as such, she will be living her life as female permenantly. It is therefore appropriate at this time, because of these irreversible changes, that she should be medically considered a female.

Thank you very much,

____ _ ______ M.D.

7) If you have any minor children not living with you, then you must also provide proof of a certified letter sent to their guardian. This letter must inform the guardian of your intent to change your name and, what exactly you will be changing your name to. This is done to prevent someone form skipping on child support obligatioins by hiding under a new name.

When your turn on the docket comes up, you are called by your old (still legal) name to the front. The Judge or Commissioner then examines your materials. Under oath, you are asked a series of questions, including, making sure that you are not doing this to avoid debts, commit fraud, etc. If everything is to the Judge's satisfaction, She or he then signs the order and hands it to her clerk who then call you by your new, (and now legal) name, and hands you the paper work. From there I was instructed to see the clerk court and pay my $18.50 for a certified copy of the name change. The "Original" remains the property of the court. This certfied copy is stamped with the seal of the court, notorized, etc. This is the document you will present to your bank, the moter vehicle dept., social security, etc.

After your court date, but BEFORE you get your driver's license changed, you must visit the local social security office, and get a new card under your new name. Arizona (and I believe now all states) require that drivers license information match Social Security information before they will issue a new driver's license. Unfortunately in my case, the ONLY person who gave me any grief anywhere during this process was the guy at Social Security. He was a bigot from the word go. Virtually everyone else, including and especially the Commisioner was very gracious and wonderful to work with.

You will be required to turn in your old card, so take it with you. After you have applied for a new Social Security Card you will be given a from signed by SSA stating that you have applied for a new card. (You will get your new card with your new name, but the same old number in the mail in about 4 weeks time. (No, you can NOT get a new number)). Wait 72 hours for the name change information to enter Social Security's "Big Brother System." Now when you go to the MVD, your new records will match between what you give to the Motor Vehicle Dept (MVD) and Social Security.

At the MVD, take your old driver's license, your Order of name Change, the note from the social security office,and, "the letter" from your Dr. (As I described above)

You will then be issued a new Driver's License with you're new name on it.

Gender change with the MVD.
This is an additional topic, but one just as important in my opnion. Despite the name change, a full time T does NOT need to be inadvertantly outed every time she has to show an ID.

Many states provide specific procedures for changing gender on one's ID. Some require proof of full SRS before the change. Others only require a letter from your shrink or Dr. Still other states, such as Arizona have MVD clerks who are very unfamilier with their own policies. Many aplicants in Arizona are erroniuisly told they have to wait till SRS before a gender designation can be changed on their drivers license.

In Arizona the regulation is contained in the Arizona Department of Transportation, Motor Vehicle Division, Policy number DL 400.15. The specific language controlling the change of sex designation on the driver's license is contained at subsection (IV)(A)(3)(b).
The language states:
b. A doctor's letter is required to change sex and must state that the applicant is irrevocably committed to the sex change procedure.
As you can see from the plain language, there is NO requirement that any sort of surgery be performed in order to change the sex designation on the driver's license.
If a clerk is telling you (or anyone) that you have to have surgery to get
the sex designation on your driver's license changed, ask to speak to their supervisor, and/or politely inform them that the MVD policy DL 400.15 only requires a letter from a doctor stating that the applicant is irrevocably committed to the change. Be firm, stand your ground, but remain polite.
I had no difficulty getting my F. I know many T's in Arizona who have gotten the F with no problem at all as well. (I walked out of the MVD office that day with my new license, with MY name on it, fingering the letters, staring at my new F under designation sex. I threw my fist in the air and shouted YES!!!!, much to the bemused and startled looks by a few passers-by.)

Other Documents to Consider Changing:
Once I completed the above process, I was able to easily change my name on my college degree by simply providing them with copies of my name change, my new social security card, driver's license, and again, that same letter from my Dr. For $25.00 they even sent me a new copy of my degree in my new but now my real name. I still wonder if anyone in the Alumi club noticed my old name dropping from the list, and them wondering "who is this Jill? I don't remember her."

I didn't mess with my High School records.

Do you have an old union membership? Change the records with such organizations as well.

From a reader in August 2004:

In Arizona there is another way to change your name that is not listed on your site. Arizona is a state that has a common law name change. Basically you just have to start changing your documents in Arizona and it all goes through. There is some weirdness however. The DMV won't change stuff until you have changed it with Social Security, and even then it takes 48 hours for Social Security stuff to be updated with the DMV's database (this and the following is true in most states including North Carolina). Social Security requires two forms of ID, one with your old name and one with your new or one with your old and a court order.

Passport will change it with a court order or if you can prove you have gone by that name for five years. You can get a form online or from your local passport place (usually a post office) then mail that along with your court order or proof of having gone by that name for five years and your passport to the charleston passport office. It is free. Most birth certificates can only be changed with a court order. So you might end up having some documents that say one thing and others that say another and no one could give me a good answer as to what to do about that. That being said, once you change over most of your stuff you can have more of a leg to stand on for why you want to change your name. It also doesn't cost the two hundred dollars or so that court fees are in Arizona.

Editor's note: though it is possible in many states to change your name on some forms without a court order, it is going to be much easier to change everything once you have taken that step. I strongly advise getting a court order for name change.

From a reader in May 2005:

I just spent two hours with MVD in Arizona changing my name and gender on my driver's license. They had no problem on the name change but did have a problem the gender change. I brought the letters from my doctors as recommended but they would not accept them. I remained persistent with the supervisor and told them that they needed to revist to Policy (MVD- DL 400.15) a second time and bring a copy of it back to me. The supevisor claimed that because I still had "all of my parts" I wouldn't qualify.
When the supervisor returned she admitted that they were in error but that my doctors letter was in error since it did not contain his license number.....such bureaucrats.
So here are the requirements right out of the policy...
A signed statement from a licensed physician is required. The signed statement must:

  • State that the customer is irrevocably  committed to the gender-change process
  • Include the physician's license  number
  • Cannot be dated more than three (3) months  prior to the date of it's submission
  • Note: It is not necessary for the customer to have completed the surgical gender-change procedure.

Arizona State law

Arizona Name Change Law

2-60112-601. Application; venue; judgment

A. When a person desires to change his name and to adopt another name, he may file an application in the superior court in the county of his residence, setting forth reasons for the change of name and the name he wishes to adopt. The court may enter judgment that the adopted name of the party be substituted for the original name.

B. The parent, guardian ad litem or next friend of a minor may file an application for change of the name of the minor in the county of the minor's residence. The court shall consider the best interests of the child in determining whether to enter judgment that the name of the minor be changed. 12-601

12-60212-602. Notice of application; effect of change on rights and obligations

A. If upon the filing of the application for change of name the court deems it proper that notice be given, it may order that notice of the application be given by publication or by service upon any party interested.

B. The change of name shall not operate to release the person from any obligations which he has incurred or is under by the original name, or defeat or destroy any rights of property or action which he had in his original name. 12-602


Precedent for transsexuals

[no specific case noted]