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Legal Name and Gender Marker Change: San Diego and North County

Important! You do not need a court ordered gender change to change your California driver’s license, social security card, or U.S. passport. You also no longer need a court order to have a new birth certificate issued reflecting a change of gender (for California birth records). You may want to get a court ordered gender change to amend your birth certificate if you were born outside of California. You DO need a court order for a change of name or if you are changing both your name and gender marker.  Below are instructions to obtain a court order:

The process typically takes 4-6 weeks from filing the documents to the court date. Filing the packet costs $435 in San Diego, but the fee can be waived based on low income. (Form FW-001 & FW-003)

In order to legally change your name and gender marker, you must complete all necessary forms in a specific way, so I recommend contacting an advocate at your local LGBTQ+ Center to help you with the process.

North County LGBTQ Resource Center
3220 Mission Ave Suite #2 Oceanside, CA 92058

The San Diego LGBTQ Center
3909 Centre St., San Diego, CA 92103
Transgender Service Coordinator
**The San Diego LGBTQ Center has a Name and Gender-Marker Clinic to assist you with all the forms and legal questions.

Make 3 copies of signed/completed paperwork. Keep one for yourself and bring the original packet and a copy of the packet to:

San Diego
Hall of Justice
330 W. Broadway (Downtown San Diego).
Civil Clerks Office is on the 2nd floor
Once you pass the security check, take the escalator up to the second floor. The Civil Clerks Office will be on your left. Wait in line to file your forms with the clerk. They will review your forms, stamp them and give you a case number and court hearing date and time. Please note that you may request that your court order be mailed to you rather than attending a court hearing.

North County
Vista Courthouse
325 South Melrose Ave, Vista, CA 92081
**Please note, for those visiting the North County Hall of Justice, you must bring a stamped envelope for your forms to be mailed to you.

After filing the forms at your county courthouse and paying the fee, you will receive your court hearing date.

Court date:

Dress in physical appearance and gender presentation that feels most comfortable to you. Arrive early to give you plenty of time to find parking and make your way to the courtroom. Bring stamped copy of all the documents to the court house. Find the court room assigned to you and wait outside. There will be a list (called the court docket) outside the court room on the wall that lists everyone’s name and assigned number on it. Search for your name and number. They will call out your last name only and number when it is your turn. After they call your name, you will be seated in the court room and the judge will review your documents. If everything is accurate, the judge will declare your new legal name!

After your court date:

Once you have the court order for a new legal name and/or gender marker, it is time to change additional documents. You may use the documents given to you by the court to go directly to the social security office after your court date if you want to get it done on the same day.  You can also plan ahead and schedule an appointment later that day for the DMV to get your drivers licensed changed on that same day!

Social Security:

1333 Front St., San Diego, CA 92101
2160 El Camino Real, Oceanside, CA 92054

You will need to bring with you the court order and personal identification such as driver’s license or passport. Once at the social security office, take a number, fill out the form for a new social security card and sit down. Please note that on the form, you will mark the name and gender that you legally changed listed on your court order. Your social security card will not list your gender on the card, but it is listed in their system so it is important that you point out your legal gender on the form when you turn it in so that the person will change it in their system.  When your number is called, turn in your documents, show them your legal gender on the form and check that they have changed it prior to leaving.  They will mail your new card to you.


Make an appointment at the DMV closest to your home. Bring your court order, personal identification such as driver’s license, ID or passport. Once you are called up to the window, they will give you form DL44 to complete to change your name. They will review all your documents and send you over to get a new photo taken. They will send you an ID in a few weeks or a new drivers license in approximately 4-6 weeks, depending on which you are requesting to change.


Before you go to your bank, you must have your new ID or drivers license for identification. Bring your court order in case they request it.

Birth Certificate

California law allows a person born in the state to receive a new birth certificate recognizing their gender identity. Note that if you are only changing your name on your birth certificate, you will use form (VS-23) and if you are changing your gender marker or your name and gender marker you will use form (VS-24). You cannot use a photocopy or download the form online. Forms VS 23 and VS 24 must be originals, on the Department’s special bond paper. You can get one directly from your local Office of Vital Records or order online or by phone. Currently the filing fee is $35 and it is recommended that you get 2-4 copies which are $25 each.
a. Order via the internet at: Ca Department of Public Record
b. Call Department of Health Services Forms Customer Service at (916) 445-2684
c. Pick up at a local office:

San Diego County Department of Health
And Local Registry of Births and Deaths
3851 Rosecrans St. Ste. 802
San Diego, CA 92110

San Diego County Recorder
1600 Pacific Hwy, Room 260
San Diego, CA
Birth Certificates Office #619-237-0502


To apply to obtain or renew a passport, you will need:
1. Two 2×2 inch photograph of yourself
2. Proof of U.S. citizenship, such as a previous passport or a birth certificate. It must be an original. Photocopies are not accepted. They will mail it back to you.
3. A valid form of government-issued photo identification such as a previous passport, driver’s license or state or tribal identification card
4. A completed form DS-11, Application for a U.S. Passport.
5. Legal documentation of name and gender change, if needed.
6. Current applicable fees, available at
7. If you are only changing your name on your current passport, you do not need to complete the DS11, only complete DS-5504. There are no associated fees to change your name only, but you need court order of name change.
8. If you are changing both your name and gender on your passport, then you must bring a certified copy of your court ordered decree and a completed form DS-11.
9. If you are changing only your gender on your current passport, you may use a certified copy of your court ordered decree OR a letter from a surgeon attesting to irreversible gender affirming surgery.

Take these documents and fees in person to any passport acceptance facility. These include courthouses, post offices, some public libraries and certain county and municipal offices. To find the acceptance facility closest to you, visit the State Department’s website, Passport Acceptance Facility Search Page, at or call the National Passport Information Center at (877)487-2778.  It is important to make an appointment to reduce your wait time!