News (USA)

US immigration adds third gender option to paperwork

Seal of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
Photo: AP

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced an important move to make it easier for gender-nonconforming immigrants to apply for naturalization status.

The new intake form will include an X gender option to signify “another gender identity.” The move mirrors other options available to transgender people, including using the X marker on U.S. passports.

Other countries, like Pakistan and Mexico, also offer third-gender options on their passports. The updated form will modernize the agency to make matching documents from applicants from countries that already include the marker easier.

“Historically, USCIS forms and associated documents have only offered two gender options: ‘Male (M)’ and ‘Female (F).’ This has created significant barriers for requestors who do not identify with either of those options,” the agency said in an announcement of the updated form.

“Limiting benefit requestors to two gender options also creates administrative challenges for USCIS when we receive birth certificates or other official government-issued documents with a gender other than M or F. Adding a third gender option helps ensure that secure identity documents and biographical data are accurate and helps both external stakeholders and individuals requesting immigration benefits.”

USCIS noted that the change only applies to Form N-400, the application for naturalization, until it has time to work through the myriad forms and applications required by the agency. It will be the first form to include the X gender marker, but revisions to other forms are already underway.

People who have already applied for naturalization can update their petitions. However, those who have already received their naturalization certification will need to wait for a separate form to be updated.

The agency added in the announcement, “This revision is consistent with efforts to break down barriers in the immigration system and reduce undue burdens on accessing immigration benefits while still maintaining identity verification and fraud prevention procedures.”

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