The State Department announced
Wednesday it has loosened its requirements for altering gender on a
passport for transgender people.
The United States will no longer
require that a reassignment surgery precede a passport gender change.
“Sexual reassignment surgery is no
longer a prerequisite for passport issuance,” the State Department
said in a release.
The policy, which goes into effect
Thursday, will allow transgender people to more easily alter their
passport to reflect the gender they identify with. The only
requirement for altering gender on a passport is a certificate from
an attending medical physician that the applicant has undergone a
gender transition. No additional medical records are required.
“Transgender Americans face extreme
danger when traveling abroad in the many countries that are hostile
to them,” Michael D. Silverman, executive director of the
Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF), a group that
advocates for the rights of transgender people, said.
“Adoption of this safety-focused
policy is a giant step forward in protecting transgender Americans
abroad, and in fulfilling the State Department's commitment to
protect all Americans when they travel, work or live overseas,” he
The new policy also allows transgender
people to obtain a temporary passport in the new gender if a
physician's statement shows that the applicant is in the process of
Officials said the new policy is based
on recommendations by the World Professional Association for
Transgender Health (WPATH).