North Carolina 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.

From a reader in September 2011:

Adult name change in North Carolina (all prices and location specifics apply to Wake County as of September 2011, but I imagine it is similar in other areas).

As of September 2011, I seem to be unable to find the full and correct forms online. The forms I found in July/August of 2011 were not up to date. The forms can be obtained in person from the Special Proceedings Division (in Wake County, this is on the 12th floor of the Wake Country Courthouse in downtown Raleigh). The forms cost $3.50 (cash or money order only, no personal checks or debit/credit cards).

The packet contains..

  • Instructions and forms for obtaining a SBI and FBI background check.
  • Petition for Legal Name Change
  • Notice of Change
  • 2 Copies of the Affidavit of Character
  • Outstanding Tax and Child Support Affidavit

Before the notice can be posted, or any of the name change papers can be filed, one needs to obtain a criminal background check from both the SBI and FBI.

To do this, you need to go to the CCBI (City/County Bureau of Identification... in Wake County is it in downtown Raleigh, on the second floor of the Public Safety Center across from the court house) and get finger printed twice, filling out two separate finger print cards. It is $15 for the first set of prints, and $5 for each additional (again, cash only).

Mail the finger print cards to the SBI and the FBI with the filing fees ($14 and $18 respectively, Certified Check or Money Order), and wait for the results to be mailed back before proceeding.

In the packet there is a "NOTICE" which must be date-stamped in the Special Proceedings office and then posted on the Court House bulletin board for ten calendar days prior to filing.

The Petition for Legal Name Change, Two Affidavits of Character (filled out by friends/coworkers), and the Affidavit Regarding Outstanding Tax or Child Support Obligations should all be filled out, signed, and notarized before returning to file the papers after posting the notice.

Once your notice has been posted for ten full calendar days, you will then need to present these, along with your criminal background checks, your original birth certificate and photo ID to file for the name change.

The filling fee is $120 (cash or certified funds, no personal checks or debit/credit cards).

From a reader in May 2010:

I started my HRT's and came out to friends and family April of 2009. In October (last part of the month) I went to the Superior Court Building in Winston-Salem, Forsyth County,  and got a name change packet, cost $4.50, in the packet were three papers that had to be notarized, one was the petition, and the other two were people that had known me. After this was done I had to take the papers back to the clerk of court, she put a date/time stamp on the petition and told me to post it of their bulletin board outside the office. And to come back in 11 days. When I went back I paid the clerk of court $88.00, in under two weeks I received 5 copy's of my court order of name change. Hope this is helpful, oh I think every county in NC has a name change packet, just call the clerk of Superior Court for that county for information.

In December 2004, I received the following clarification and updated information:

There's a new thing about getting the driver's license updated here in NC. I went to get the new one, and they told me they are now hooked into the social security administration computers, so that I first have to change my name with the SSA, and then wait 24 hours for the computers to register that change, before I can get the new license. I went to SSA, and except for the long wait, and the misspelling of my name, there were no hassles. I haven't had time to try again at the driver's license office....

I would also like to clarify a small point that is confusing on your NC name change pages as submitted by Jami. The description there indicates that one should show up at the court house with the petition, which is dated and posted for 10 days.

This is incorrect. The petition is not needed until the 10 days is complete and the name change is ready to be executed. The document that is posted for 10 days is the Notice, a separate form for which you provide a link to a template thanks to one of your other readers. So, to clarify:

1. Go to courthouse with Notice filled out.

2. Notice must be posted for 10 full days (not including the day that you post it).

3. Obtain at least two good character references (a template is provided on your page)

4. After 10 days, go to the clerk with

- petition for name change
- birth certificate
- name change "order" form (they gave this carbon copy form to me when I filed the notice)
- good character references

I know of two other pre-ops who sought name changes and listed "has undergone gender change" as the reason and who did not have problems with that. I will be filing my petition tomorrow, and will send an update if I have any troubles.

After the name change was official, there were a few more things I thought you might like to know/add for the site.
I had no problem with listing "gender change" even though I'm pre-op. No questions asked, and no letters needed (I just came back a few weeks ago from Dr. O, and I've worked pretty hard on the voice, so maybe that helps, ).

In June 2003 a reader sent the following:

Legal Name Changes in North Carolina

It is very easy to legally change your name in North Carolina. You do not require the services of a lawyer to complete the name change, nor are you required to go before a judge. You simply petition the court via the clerk of court in your county of residence. The clerk of court for Wake County, North Carolina makes name changes very convenient by providing a name change kit. This kit contains instructions, character reference forms, and a fill in the blanks petition. Check with your local clerk of court’s special proceedings division to see if they provide a similar form.

Your court petition must include the following items (NCGA Statute § 101-3):

Your legal name
County of birth
Date of birth
Full names of parents as shown on your the birth certificate
Your desired name
Reason for name change
Any previous name changes and those circumstances

After completing your petition, you will have the clerk of court place a date on your document. You must then post the petition on the courthouse door for ten days (NCGA Statute § 101-2). Make sure that you have an extra copy in the event your document is accidentally removed. While you are waiting for the time to expire, you must secure two notarized character references from adults in your county of residence (NCGA Statute § 101-4). After the ten days have expired, take your petition, an official copy of your birth certificate, the notarized character references, and your identification to the special proceedings division of your local clerk of court. You will also have to pay a fairly nominal filing fee. As I recall, my fee was less than $50 in 2001. Provided that your documents are in order, you will leave with a court order certifying your new name. Take that order down to your local DMV so that your driver’s license can be changed.

Guidelines for name changes are outlined in North Carolina Statutes § 101-2, § 101-3, § 101-4, § 101-5, and § 101-6. The text of these statutes is included as an addendum to this article.

Jami Kathleen Taylor
PhD Candidate
Dept. of Political Science
and Public Administration
North Carolina State University

In August 2004 a reader sent the following forms:

Here are my applications for North Carolina. Everything where you enter your information I have put in parenthesis and put instructions for what to do. Once done, it should all still line up like it does in these. Margins have to be .75" on top and bottom and 1" on the sides. You don't actually need the verifiction one. It is for if a lawyer prepares it for you to say that you know what they wrote about you. I didn't know that and did it anyway and it didn't count against me. In theory they will want a letter from your SRS surgeon if you mention it's for trans stuff, so I said some other reasons. In North Carolina the clerk of court has a lot more power than other places. This is the application I used and it went through without any problem. Ipresented it and then filled out another form with the clerk of court and paid forty dollars and ta-da. You will want to get a couple of certified copies from them at the time you do it as you will need to present these to various places to change your name on other documents.

Good character form (.doc file: requires word processing program)

Notice form (.doc file: requires word processing program)

Petition form (.doc file: requires word processing program)

Verification form (.doc file: requires word processing program)

Other resources


North Carolina law

§ 101-2. Procedure for changing name; petition; notice.
A person who wishes, for good cause shown, to change his
or her name must file an application before the clerk of the
superior court of the county in which the person lives, after
giving 10 days' notice of the application by publication at the
courthouse door.
An application to change the name of a minor child may be
filed by the child's parent or parents, guardian, or guardian ad
litem, and this application may be joined in the application for
a change of name filed by the parent or parents. Nothing in this
section shall be construed to permit one parent to make an
application on behalf of a minor child without the consent of
the other parent if both parents are living; except that a minor
who has reached the age of 16 years, upon proper application to
the clerk, may change his or her name with the consent of the
parent who has custody of the minor and has supported the minor,
without the necessity of obtaining the consent of the other
parent, when the clerk of court is satisfied that the other
parent has abandoned the minor. A change of parentage or the
addition of information relating to parentage on the birth
certificate of any person is governed by G.S. 130A-118.
The consent of a parent who has abandoned a minor child is
not required if a copy of an order of a court of competent
jurisdiction adjudicating that parent's abandonment of the minor
if filed with the clerk. If a court of competent jurisdiction
has not declared the minor to be an abandoned child, the clerk,
on 10 days' written notice by registered or certified mail,
directed to the last known address of the parent alleged to have
abandoned the child, may determine whether the parent has
abandoned the child. If the parent denies that the parent
abandoned the child, this issue of fact shall be transferred and
determined as provided in G.S. 1-301.2. If abandonment is
determined, the consent of the parent is not required. Upon
final determination of this issue of fact the proceeding shall
be transferred back to the special proceedings docket for
further action by the clerk. (1891, c. 145; Rev., s. 2147; C.S.,
s. 2971; 1947, c. 115; 1953, c. 678; 1955, c. 951, s. 3; 1957,
c. 1442; 1959, c. 1161, s. 7; 1971, c. 444, s. 1; 1995, c. 509,
s. 135.2(f); 1999-216, s. 13.)

§ 101-3. Contents of petition.
The applicant shall state in the application his true
name, county of birth, date of birth, the full name of parents
as shown on birth certificate, the name he desires to adopt, his
reasons for desiring such change, and whether his name has ever
before been changed by law, and, if so, the facts with respect
thereto. (1891, c. 145; Rev., s. 2147; C.S., s. 2972; 1945, c.
37, s. 1; 1957, c. 1233, s. 1.)

§ 101-4. Proof of good character to accompany petition.
The applicant shall also file with said petition proof of
his good character, which proof must be made by at least two
citizens of the county who know his standing: Provided, however,
proof of good character shall not be required when the
application is for the change of name of a child under 16 years
of age. (1891, c. 145; Rev., s. 2148; C.S., s. 2973; 1963, c.

§ 101-5. Clerk to order change; certificate and record.
If the clerk thinks that good and sufficient reason
exists for the change of name, it shall be his duty to issue an
order changing the name of the applicant from his true name to
the name sought to be adopted. Such order shall contain the true
name, the county of birth, the date of birth, the full name of
parents as shown on birth certificate, and the name sought to be
adopted. He shall issue to the applicant a certificate under his
hand and seal of office, stating the change made in the
applicant's name, and shall also record said application and
order on the docket of special proceedings in his court. He
shall forward the order to the State Registrar of Vital
Statistics on a form provided by him. If the applicant was born
in North Carolina, the State Registrar shall note the change of
name of the individual or individuals specified in the order on
the birth certificate of that individual or those individuals
and shall notify the register of deeds in the county of birth.
If the applicant was born in another state of the United States,
the State Registrar shall forward the notice of change of name
to the registration office of the state of birth. (1891, c. 145;
Rev., ss. 2149, 2150; C.S., s. 2974; 1955, c. 951, s. 4; 1957,
c. 1233, s. 2; 1971, c. 444, s. 2.)

§ 101-6. Effect of change; only one change, except as
(a)When the order is made and the applicant's name
changed, he is entitled to all the privileges and protection
under his new name as he would have been under the old name. No
person shall be allowed to change his name under this Chapter
but once, except that he shall be permitted to resume his former
name upon compliance with the requirements and procedure set
forth in this Chapter for change of name, and except as provided
in subsection (b) of this section.
(b) For good cause shown, and upon compliance with the
requirements and procedure set forth in this Chapter for change
of name, the name of a minor child may be changed not more than
two times under this Chapter. (1891, c. 145; Rev., ss. 2147,
2149; C.S., s. 2975; 1945, c. 37, s. 2; 1991, c. 333.)

§ 101-7. Recording name change.
When the name of any individual, corporation,
partnership, or association has been changed in a manner
provided by law, any attorney licensed to practice law in this
State may file an affidavit with the clerk of superior court
stating facts concerning the change of name. The clerk shall
cause the affidavit to be filed and indexed among the records of
his office, pursuant to G.S. 7A-180(3) and G.S. 7A-343(3). The
clerk shall also forward a copy of the affidavit under the seal
of his office to the clerk of superior court of any other county
named in the affidavit where it shall also be filed and indexed
in accordance with this section. Affidavits filed and indexed
under this section are for informational purposes only and
neither the affidavit nor the manner of its filing and indexing
shall in any manner affect the rights or liabilities of any
person. (1971, c. 592, s. 1.)

Precedent for transsexuals

[no specific case noted]