Changes to the Sex Field on a Rhode Island Birth Certificate

As of October 1, 2019, the State of Rhode Island has amended the sex field on birth certificates, which allows people to make a change to reflect their sex or gender identity on their birth certificate with proper documentation. With proper documentation, people can change their sex from 'M' to 'F' or 'F' to 'M' using the affidavit below. A new, non-binary designation will be noted as an 'X' for people born in Rhode Island who identify as non-binary, or neither male nor female. People of any age can make this change; however, minors will need parental or guardian consent to do so.

No appointments are needed to request a change; however, scheduling an appointment at the Health Department's Office of Vital Records will reduce your wait time significantly. To make an appointment, call 401-222-5339.

Required documents

Below is a list of documents you will need to change the sex field on a Rhode Island birth certificate:

  • You will need to provide the Health Department an affidavit sample written by any of the following, who are licensed to practice either in Rhode Island or in another state with similar licensing requirements:    
    • physician licensed to practice medicine (M.D. or D.O.)
    • licensed certified nurse practitioner (N.P.)
    • licensed physician's assistant (P.A.)

    This healthcare provider must have treated or evaluated the person wishing to change their sex or gender identity and must state in the affidavit that, in the professional opinion of such provider:

    • the person has had surgery and/or hormonal treatment based on current clinical standards
    • the person has undergone other treatment based on current clinical standards
    • the person has an intersex condition and the person’s gender designation should be changed

    The affidavit must also include:

    • the applicant's full name
    • the applicant's date of birth
    • the applicant's gender (what the applicant wants to change it to)
  • Based on this affidavit, the Health Department will create an affidavit that must be signed by the person whose birth certificate will change (if they are age 18 or older), or the applicant's parent(s), legal guardian(s) or legal representative. This affidavit is a written statement about your wishes to change your birth certificate. It will also be signed and notarized by a Health Department staff member.

  • You will need to bring a government-issued photo ID. Acceptable documents include:
    • Driver's license
    • Passport
    • Military ID
    • Certificate of Naturalization
    • Alien Registration Card

    You will need to complete an Application for a Certified Copy of a Birth Record

    Cost

    It costs $10.00 for the Health Department to make a change to your birth certificate.  If you would like a copy of the new certificate, it will cost an additional $22.00 for walk-in customers or $25.00 if you order the certificate through the mail.

    What you should know about changing the sex field on your birth certificate

    If you choose to change the designation in the sex field of your birth certificate to 'X' the Rhode Island Department of Health cannot determine whether the 'X' designation will be accepted by any other city/town, state, quasi-public, or federal authority. Therefore, you should be aware that choosing the 'X' designation to reflect your identity may result in conflicts in how you are registered with different governmental agencies. These conflicts could have ramifications for you in the future that are unknown and impossible to predict, and will vary depending on your personal situation.

    The Department of Health cannot provide advice to you regarding whether to change your gender designation. You may wish to consult with legal counsel to assure that any significant governmental interactions will not be affected before making this change. For example:

    • The Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles is currently working on accommodating non-binary gender on drivers licenses. However, it does not have the technology to issue drivers' licenses reflecting the choice of the 'X' designation at this time.
    • Many federal agencies do not recognize the 'X' designation.
      • The U.S. Bureau of Consular Affairs states on its website that the U.S. Passport Agency will not issue a passport unless the traveler chooses a Male or Female marker. more
      • The Social Security Administration only accepts applications to change gender identification for social security records to Male or Female markers. more