Update: As of July 1, 2020, people born in Virginia looking to change their gender marker no longer need a court order. To find out about the new modernized process for updating a birth certificate, click here.  As a result of the new process, the Petition for Change of Sex form described below is not  available.

In 2017, Virginia courts issued an official form for updating the gender marker on a birth certificate: Petition for Change of Sex.  Below is important information for anyone looking to get a court order for change of sex from the VA courts:

What is the new form? This new form is an easy-to-understand one page petition requesting an order for change of sex and identifying the required supporting documentation. The form gives applicants structure on how to apply for a court order for change of sex and gives judges guidelines on what evidence is required to approve these requests.

Who can use this form? This form can be used by anyone who has a VA birth certificate and wants to petition the VA courts for a change of sex in order to update their birth certificate, or anyone who is a resident of VA and wants a court order for change of sex to update their birth certificate or for any other purpose.

Why do we need this form? In order to update a birth certificate from VA, the state statute requires that applicants receive a court order declaring their change of sex. However courts across VA have been unclear in how to request a petition for change of sex and inconsistent in what they require as additional documentation. This form helps make the process more consistent and predictable across the state.

How to Apply for a Court Order for Gender Change in VA:

1.Download the Petition for Change of Sex and fill it out with the proper information, including the desired sex marker. Make sure to sign the completed Petition in front of a notary public.

2. In addition, you should also fill out an Order for Change of Sex. Please note, the judge will complete the lower portion of the Order.

3. To your Petition, attach a letter from a licensed provider indicating that the sex has been changed by medical procedure. VA law does not specify what medical procedure means, but the letter should be acceptable evidence as long as the provider certifies that the ‘sex has been changed by medical procedure,’ whatever that may mean for the individual and the provider. View the Model Provider Letter provided by the National Center for Transgender Equality (please note: this model letter is not approved by the courts and some judges may ask for additional information).

4. If you are a resident of Virginia, it is recommended to file the Petition at the Richmond Circuit Court if possible, regardless of if you are a Richmond resident or not. If you are not a resident of Virginia but have a Virginia birth certificate, you may file for a court order for gender change in your current state of residence, or you may file for a court order in Virginia, in which case you would file the Petition and the attached letter at the Richmond Circuit Court. You may send in your application via mail.

5. Pay the designated filing fee of $98 ($86 + $12 to have the court order served to Vital Records), payable to the Circuit Court where you are filing. Please note that if you are filing this petition at the same time as a name change petition, you will have to file two separate petitions with separate filing fees.  Depending on your income, you may qualify for a waiver of the filing fee. You can use the Petition for Proceeding in Civil Case without Payment of Fees or Costs to request a waiver, and attach any financial statements or other information supporting your need for the fee waiver