Amending your birth certificate

The processes for changing your name or your gender marker on your birth certificate are different, and they have different requirements. You can learn more about both processes below.

If you live in New England, you may be able to get free legal representation through the GLAD Pop-Up ID Project. From GLAD: "Transgender people living in New England (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island or Vermont) seeking to update their legal name and gender on federal and state documents can receive free legal representation through this rapid-response program."

 

Do I have to amend my birth certificate to do things like change my name or gender marker on my ID's or passport?

No. You do not have to amend your birth certificate to do these things. Amending your birth certificate may be a good step to take if you feel it is important for you - but it is not required. You will still be able to change your name and/or gender marker on your Maine driver's license or ID, on your passport, and with government agencies, even if you don't ever amend your birth certificate.

 

Hide What will my new birth certificate look like? Will my previous name or gender marker be there?

This depends on whether you change your name only, or also your gender marker on your birth certificate. You can learn more about how to make these changes below.

If you only change your name on your birth certificate

Unfortunately, your previous legal name will still appear on your amended birth certificate. All certified copies of your amended birth certificate will have your previous name, struck out or crossed out, with your new legal name printed next to, or above your previous legal name.

At this time, there is no way to have only your legal name appear on your amended birth certificate, other than by also changing your gender marker on your birth certificate.

If you change your name and your gender marker on your birth certificate

If you are able to change both your name and your gender marker on your birth certificate, only your legal name and gender marker will appear on your birth certificate.

This is because when you change your gender marker on your birth certificate, the state actually creates a new record, instead of just amending your original birth certificate. What this means is that only your current legal name and gender marker will appear on your birth certificate. Nothing will be crossed out, none of your previous information will be there, and your birth certificate will not show that it has been amended.

 

 

Changing your name

Changing your name on your birth certificate often goes hand-in-hand with legally changing your name. Many Probate Courts are used to processing these changes together, and will have the forms for this process ready to go with the forms for your legal name change. If you are doing this at the same time, just let them know that you would like to amend your birth certificate when you change your name.

Note: It isn't required that you change the name on your birth certificate when you legally change your name – there is an extra fee to do this, and you don't have to do it if you don't want to, or can't afford it.

 

Hide Amending your birth certificate at the same time you legally change your name

When you go to your local Probate Court  for your name change, let the clerk know you would also like to amend your birth certificate. You will need to pay an extra fee of $60. You can only pay this fee by check, payable to "Treasurer, State of Maine." You will give your birth certificate and the check to the Probate Court, and when your name is changed, they will automatically send your check as a form documenting you legal name change to the Vital Records Office.

After this, the Office of Vital Records will send you an amended birth certificate, along with the original form (called a VS-14) from the court noting your legal name change.

 

 

Hide Amending your birth certificate some time after you have legally changed your name

You can still amend your birth certificate after you have changed your legal name. You don’t have to do these processes at the same time. There are two ways you can do this.

  • If you have the original VS-14 form from the court (it looks like this)  - which they may give to you when you change your name, you can send this form to the Office of Vital Records, along with a $60 check, payable to “Treasurer, State of Maine.” You need to send the original of this form – they won’t accept a copy.  They will send you back the original, along with an amended birth certificate. Send your form and check to:

Vital Records
11 State House Station
220 Capitol Street
Augusta, ME 04333-0011

  • If you don’t have your original VS-14 form, you can return to the Probate Court where you changed your name, and ask them about amending your birth certificate. The court will be able to get a VS-14 form for you (there may be a small fee), accept your $60 check, payable to “Treasurer, State of Maine,” and may also send the form to the Office of Vital Records. This process may vary from court to court, don’t be afraid to ask! 

 

 

Changing your gender marker

To change your gender marker on your birth certificate, you will need to send a few documents to the Vital Records Office.

The requirements for changing your gender marker on your birth certificate are much stricter than the requirements for changing your name. Before you can change your gender marker, you must:

  1. Change your legal name
  2. Have had a “surgical procedure” to change your sex

To prove that you have done both of these things, you will need to send these documents to the Vital Records office at the Maine Center for Disease Control:

  1. A “notarized affidavit” (a statement from your doctor or surgeon, that they affirm is true, and sign in front of a notary public) from the doctor/surgeon who did your surgery.
  2. A completed and notarized (signed in front of a notary public) VS-7 form. You can fill out and print this form here. Here are instructions from the State of Maine about how to fill out a VS-7 form. These instructions aren’t specific to trans people, but they might still be helpful.
  3. Proof of your legal name change, like a VS-14 form from the Probate Court, or the certificate of change of name you got from the court after you changed your name.
  4. A $60 check, made payable to “Treasurer, State of Maine.”

You should mail all of these things to:

Vital Records
11 State House Station
220 Capitol Street
Augusta, ME 04333-0011

 

 

Hide What kinds of surgery count? What does my doctor need to say?

The Maine law about the requirement of surgery for a gender marker change on a birth certificate is not very detailed. Surgery is required, but there is not a list of particular surgeries that you would need to have done in order to meet this requirement.

A “surgical procedure to change sex” means many different things to different people. It does not necessarily mean a particular kind of genital reconstructive surgery, or what are commonly called “top” or “bottom” surgeries. The state is not looking for a laundry list of particular surgical procedures. If you feel that you have had a surgical procedure that has “changed your sex” - whatever that may mean to you, talk with the doctor or surgeon who did the surgery. If they agree, and will send a notarized affidavit stating that you have had such a surgery, you should be considered as having met this requirement.

The letter from your doctor or surgeon does not need to be overly complicated or detailed about the specifics of your surgery. It could be as simple as this:


1. I, Dr. ________ am licensed to practice medicine in _________ and hold license number _______________.

2. I am the physician of ________, with whom I have a doctor/patient relationship and whom I have treated.

3. On Month,  Day,  Year, I performed and completed a surgical procedure to change the sex of __________.

4. That procedure was performed in cooperation with Ms./Mr. ________’s medical team for the purpose of transition to the female/male gender.


Your surgeon or doctor may already have a format they like to use for this purpose, but it they don’t, you can send them this language as an example. Be sure to let your doctor know that you need a notarized affidavit.

Vital records cannot contact your doctor or surgeon to ask about what surgeries you have had. If they do this, call the GLAD Legal Helpline.