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Gender changes on Minnesota driver's licenses

Update: 9/20/2013

Driver Services has updated the gender policy as follows:

A customer can provide one of the following documents to change their gender and the DL/ IP/ID application transaction can be completed without requiring a variance request.

1.      Court order that changes their gender
2.      Court order that changes their gender and name
3.      Medical certification of appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition in the form of an original letter from a licensed physician (the document must have enough biographical data (e.g., name and date of birth) to clearly identify the person.

More information can be found here.


People interested in changing the gender on their driver's license but who cannot satisfy any of the criteria above must request a "variance." To request a variance, a person must complete a form and send it along with any supporting documents and a check for $10 to the state for processing.  The variance form may be accessed by clicking the 'more information' link above. Note: this process does not begin at your local driver's license office!  Forms are sent to the central office in St. Paul for processing (see form for mailing address).

Often, people complete Part B of the request form by indicating the desired change, and Part C by simply referring to the enclosed court order or health-care provider's statement.

There has been considerable concern among many in the transgender community regarding the impact of the REAL ID Act on the question of amending gender information on driver's licenses and ID cards. In the final regulations issued by the US Department of Homeland Security (see Federal Register: January 29, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 19), Pages 5271-5340), the issue has been specifically addressed. In particular, the summary of comments and responses states (p. 5301):

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security will leave the determination of gender up to the states since different states have different requirements concerning when, and under what circumstances, a transgender person should be identified as another gender.

This reflects a clear federal intent to honor state processes, including Minnesota's, where people seeking to amend the gender on these documents can submit verification (mainly medical statements) attesting to the appropriateness of the change.

This information is intended to be general and educational, and not intended to be legal advice.

For more information, please contact the OutFront Minnesota Legal Program at legal@outfront.org or at (612) 822-0127, ext. 7662.

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