A New York court granted a name change of a transgender applicant who could not provide proof of citizenship.
The petitioner satisfied the requirements for a name change under section 61 of the Civil Rights Law by specifying the grounds for the application and disclosing pertinent background information. A lower court rejected the application because the Costa Rican born petitioner was unable to provide the court with proof of citizenship or lawful immigration status. Civil Rights Law § 61 requires verification of a name-change applicant’s “residence,” not legal residence, and the appellate court found that “considerations of citizenship and immigration status should not be lightly imported by implication into the statutory scheme where to do so would ignore the plain meaning of the statute as written.”
We agree with the appellate court’s decision. U.S. citizenship has no bearing on whether one should be granted a name change.