One of the most important documents many people want to have list their correct sex is their birth record.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is responsible for making the corrections to birth records. MDH has an administrative process available for amending birth records, including items such as name and sex. Individuals seeking to change information listed on their record should download and complete the amendment-application form, enclose needed supporting documentation, and mail with the administrative fee to MDH (address on form). Download an MDH fact sheet here.

Changing Sex on a Birth Record

To change the sex on one’s birth record, MDH requests that you enclose an ACT Letter (discussed below) from a doctor with your application. With respect to changing the name on one’s birth record, under Minnesota law, a person who has changed their name by court order is entitled to an amended Minnesota birth record, showing their new name, by enclosing a certified copy of the order. Requests to change information on minors’ birth records may be made by a parent or guardian. These options are available to anyone with a Minnesota birth record, regardless of where they currently live.

Minnesota residents born elsewhere should consult the requirements of their state of birth. For a summary of information about other states' requirements for amending birth records, click here. If a person’s state of birth requires a court order, the person may petition the court in their county of residence in Minnesota for an order directing the amendment of out-of-state records.

State district court judges in Minnesota have authority under Minnesota Statute 144.218 to order amendments to birth records if the judge finds that the information on the old record is "incomplete, inaccurate, or false." Though the statute is not specific on this point, many judges have used it as the basis for orders directed at authorities in other states. Be aware that not all judges interpret the statute the same way. If you are going before before a judge, you should bring this document about Judicial Training on Birth Certificate Changes.

Some Minnesotans have had success in securing court orders directing that the Minnesota Department of Health remove the sex information from their birth certificates entirely; MDH has also processed at least one request to do so via its administrative process (see above).  

People considering petitioning a state district court judge for an order amending a birth record may wish to consult an attorney in the drafting of sufficient petitions and proposed orders. 

The ACT Letter

Currently, transgender Minnesotans seeking to correct the sex information listed on driver’s licenses/State ID cards, birth records, passports, immigration papers, or with Social Security may do so by submitting a letter from a doctor attesting to “appropriate clinical treatment” (“ACT”) for gender dysphoria. This approach is based on standards and recommendations of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH), which is recognized as the authority in this field by the American Medical Association.

For these purposes, MDs or DOs (from any number of specialties as well as from general practitioners) qualify as licensed physicians. Statements from persons who are not licensed physicians, such as psychologists, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, social workers, health practitioners, or chiropractors, are generally not accepted.

The medical certification should include the following information:

  • Physician’s full name;
  • Medical license or certificate number;
  • Issuing state, country, or other jurisdiction of medical license/certificate;
  • Drug Enforcement Administration registration number assigned to the doctor or comparable foreign registration number, if applicable (this item may no longer be needed to change a passport);
  • Address and telephone number of the physician;
  • Language stating that that the individual has had appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition to the new gender (male or female);
  • Language stating that he/she has either treated the applicant in relation to the applicant’s change in gender OR has reviewed and evaluated the medical history of the applicant in relation to the applicant’s change in gender, AND that he/she has a doctor/patient relationship with the applicant
  • Physician’s signature and date of signature

These guidelines adapted from memo issued by the US Customs and Immigration Service, provided by Immigration Equality.