With the recent victory for LGBTQ+ workers handed down by the Supreme Court, it is only fitting to discuss another already-existing but little-known federal protection offered to the LGBTQ+ community. In particular, we are referring to gender change recognition by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), an agency of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that reviews and processes immigration cases.
What immigration documents should reflect a person’s new gender?
USCIS issues a variety of official documents that show a person’s immigration status. These include Employment Authorization Documents (EAD card), Refugee Travel Documents, Lawful Permanent Resident Cards, and Naturalization Certificates. All of these documents can – and should – reflect a person’s new gender.
When does USCIS recognize gender change?
Volume 11, Chapter 2 of the USCIS Policy Manual, titled “USCIS-Issued Secure Identity Documents,” recognizes an immigrant’s gender change “when a court or government with jurisdiction recognizes the change, or when a licensed health care professional certifies that the requested gender designation is consistent with that person’s gender identity.”
What proof of gender change is required?
While USCIS provides little guidance on the requisite proof for recognition of an immigrant’s new gender (it only asks for “sufficient evidence” without giving specific examples), the USCIS Policy Manual makes it clear that “USCIS does not require proof of sex reassignment surgery, and officers should not request any records relating to such surgery.”
If I change my gender after becoming a U.S. citizen, do I need to change my citizenship or naturalization certificate?
Your citizenship or naturalization certificate should reflect your new gender to ensure that you properly receive any and all benefits and duties of U.S. citizenship, such as voting rights, jury service, driving privileges and more. Change in gender designation on your naturalization or citizenship certificate is effectuated by completing form N-565, Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document.
If I change my gender while my immigration application is pending, do I need to notify USCIS?
You should immediately notify USCIS of any change in circumstance or status. This includes marriage, divorce, address changes, name changes and gender changes. Do not wait until your immigration interview to notify an immigration official, as you may be accused of concealing information. USCIS should immediately be notified by official letter and accompanying supporting documents. The letter should be sent certified mail, return receipt requested.
The increased recognition of the transgender community in the United States has prompted changes in the way our federal government administers immigration applications and documents. Don’t be afraid to ensure you are properly recognized and identified. If you require the assistance of an attorney, we are here to help. Casanova Law is an LGBTQ+-friendly immigration law firm in Wellington, Florida.
Call us today.