top of page

Legal Transition Masterdoc

Important notes

The language in this document assumes you’re a resident of Davidson County, but if you live in another part of the state the same steps will apply. Feel free to reach out to us if you have trouble finding any of these offices.


​All documents must be submitted in person.


You can no longer change your gender marker on TN State Driver’s license. This guide has been updated to solely focus on your name change and federal documents.


If I was born in KY(etc) but have since moved to TN, in which state should I file my application for change of name?

In order to file for a name change, you must meet the residency requirements of the state in which you wish to file. In other words, in order to petition a state for name change, you must be a resident of the state. All states require an applicant to be a resident of the state — often for at least six months and sometimes for as long as one year — before filing for a name change there.

You can see Tennessee’s resident requirements here.


Why get a passport book/card if I’m not leaving the country?

With the creep of fascism and anti-trans legislation and violence sweeping the country and no end in sight, we recommend you prioritize getting your passport updated as soon as you are able. Also under the Biden administration, you can change the gender marker on your passport without having to provide any documents, and this may not always be the case.


Passport Card vs Book?

The book allows for international air travel, and the card only allows for sea or land travel to/from Canada, Mexico, and US territories. The card still has the other perks of a book so choose whichever is right for your needs.

Legal Name Change

Timeline: 2-4 Weeks

Fees: $159.50 (Petition)


Important note:

If you were born in another state, you can file for an application of name change in TN, but you must meet the residency requirements. You can find those requirements here.

This document is REQUIRED if you want to change your name on ANY government document and should be the first step you take on this journey. Instructions are as follows:

  1. Request a name change petition from your county clerk’s office. Davidson county’s petition is located here otherwise you should be able to easily google it or go in person.


File the petition with county clerk’s office along with:

  1. $159.50 Cash or cashiers check

  2. Current Birth Certificate

  3. Photo Id (Current Driver’s license)

  4. Current Social Security Card

  5. Proof of Residency (Current lease, payroll stub, utility bill, etc.)

  6. Prior felony convictions must provide additional documentation


After you’re scheduled a court date (usually 2-4 weeks after applying), attend court hearings and attain an Official Court Order for your name change from a judge.

Court will most likely have copies of previously submitted documents, but it would be a safe bet to bring them anyway.

After receiving your court order remember to purchase an extra certified copy to use when applying for other documents ($15 fee).


Must notify TN DOS - driver’s license division within 10 days.

Social Security Card

Timeline: Same Day (appointment only)

Fee: $0



As soon as you get your driver’s license updated, apply for an amended Social Security Card as soon as possible. You must notify the SSA of any legal name changes within 10 days of getting your court order.

The document supporting name change must be recent and identify you by both your old and new names. If the name change event occurred over two years ago or if the document doesn’t have enough information to prove your identity, you must also provide additional documents to prove your identity in your prior and new name.


To correct the name on your Social Security Card (SSC) you need to schedule an appointment online, complete Form SS-5 and provide the following:


Evidence of Age:

  • Birth Certificate

  • US Passport (current)


Legal Name Change:

  • Court order for a name change (Original certified copy)

  • May be asked to see identity documents showing your old name and documents showing your new name, so keep both on hand


Your Identity (one of the following):

  • US Passport (current)

  • US Driver’s License (Updated name)

  • US Military ID

  • Your Citizenship (one of the following)

  • US Birth Certificate

  • US Passport (current)

  • Certificate of Citizenship


Nashville has an SSA office but if you live in another county you can search for your nearest office here.

Driver’s License

Timeline: Same Day

Fees: $16

Important Notes:

  • 1st or 2nd degree murder, and sex offenders are not eligible to change their name (Tenn. Code Ann § 29-8-101 to § 29-8-105)

  • License CANNOT be replaced if the license is under suspension, cancellation, or revoked status.

If you weren’t born in TN, you can file for an application of name change in TN, but you must meet the residency requirements for the state. You can find those requirements here.

An official court order of name change must be provided at the DMV in order to update your name on a driver’s license. See below for instructions:


After acquiring above documents, visit DMV, inquire about name change and provide:

  1. $16 card duplication fee

  2. Current driver’s license

  3. Proof of address

  4. Social Security Card (Updated)

  5. Official court order for name change

  6. All documents must be original or certified. No faxes or photocopies.


Timeline: 8-11 weeks

Fees: ($0-145 for passport / Optional TSA-pre ($80) / Optional Global Entry ($100)


As of June 2021, you do not need to provide proof of transition to change the gender marker on your passport.


For all Passport forms, please provide:

  • Proof of US Citizenship (previous US Passport, Birth Certificate, etc.)

  • A New 2x2” photograph taken in the last 6 months (see current photograph requirements on the form you’re completing)


If you’ve never had a passport and are applying for the first time, complete form DS-11:

  • $145 (application fee and acceptance fee)

  • If you are in this category, you may need to change the name on your birth certificate before applying for a passport with your new name.

  • Additionally, you must provide proof of identity, (Driver’s license)


If you have a passport and meet below requirements, complete form DS-82:

  1. You were at least 16 when your passport was issued

  2. Your passport was issued less than 15 years ago

  3. Your Passport hasn’t been damaged, lost, or stolen

  4. Your name has changed by court order and can submit proper documents to reflect said name change

  • $110 (Application fee)


If you have a passport and meet below requirements, complete form DS-5504:

  • Changed your name by court order less than one year after most recent passport was issued, and if passport is less than one year old

  • No Fee


Standard processing typically takes 8-11 weeks. Can be expedited to 5-7 weeks with a $60 fee.


If you can afford it, investing in TSA-pre is a great idea. As we all know, trans people are very commonly harassed and groped in airport security. TSA-pre may help cut back on issues or at least speed the process up.

Both TSA PreCheck and Global Entry expire after 5 years and must be renewed.

All legal documents must match your CURRENT legal name. You may want to wait to do this until after your driver’s license/passport is updated.


For TSA PreCheck:

  1. Apply online and schedule an appointment (In Nashville it’s at BNA)

  2. Attend appointment in person and provide:

  • Passport

  • $85 application fee




  1. Valid Photo ID (Driver’s license)

  2. Citizenship Document (Birth Certificate (official copy) or passport)

  3. $85 application fee

  4. If the names on your documents don’t match, you’ll need to supply your Court Ordered Name Change document.



Global Entry is highly recommended if you plan on traveling internationally (Not Canada/Mexico). This will not help you overseas but US border control is notoriously a pain, and anything that will make your trip easier/safer is a good investment.

You can apply here.

Birth Certificate (TN)

Timeline: 10-12 weeks

Fees: $30


As of 2021, TN remains the only state that does not allow a gender marker change on a birth certificate under ANY circumstances. This is being challenged in court currently but is unclear if/when this will be resolved (Gore v Lee)

When your birth certificate is amended, it will not erase your birth name from the document. Instead, a line will be drawn through your birth name and your new name will be printed above it.


Visit TN Dept of Vital Records website and request a name correction to your birth certificate because of a legal name change.


Arrive at your scheduled appointment time and provide:

  1. Valid Photo ID (Driver’s License / Passport)

  2. Official court order approving legal name change

  3. A check or money order for amendment fees ($15) and copies of the court order for their records ($15)

Request may take up to 10-12 weeks to process

Selective Services

Must call/email Selective Services contact number to update name information

Fill out a name change form and submit with a court order of name change.

All individuals assigned-male-at-birth  are still required to register for SS and are LEGALLY required to report any name changes to SS.

All individuals assigned-female-at-birth may need to obtain a status information letter to exempt them from SS.

You can find further information on this here.

More things to update

USPS (postal service

Bank accounts, credit cards, financial records

Health insurance, pharmacies, etc

Vehicle title and registration, car insurance, et

Workplace, school

Voter registration

Airline, travel information

Doctors, therapists, medical providers ,etc

Investment accounts

Utilities, lease or mortgage agreements

Cell phone, internet, online subscriptions, etc

bottom of page