The US State Department has relaxed its rules to allow citizens to change their gender on their passports without having to complete gender reassignment surgery.

Under the new rules, an applicant can change his or her gender on a passport by presenting certification from a physician that he or she has undergone appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition.

They can also obtain a limited-validity passport if the physician indicates that he or she is in the process of gender transition.

Previously, an applicant seeking to change his or her gender on a passport had to present a physician’s certification that he or she had completed gender reassignment surgery.

“Today’s policy change will allow many more transgender Americans to obtain an important identity document that accurately reflects their true identity and to travel with less fear of discrimination and harassment,” said Joe Solmonese, President of HRC, the largest LGBT rights group in the US.

“We thank the State Department for taking this important step and congratulate the many organisations that have pushed for this historic change in policy,” he added.

Experts say that the new rules are more consistent with passport gender change procedures in other nations, as well as policies regarding other identity documents, such as driver’s licenses and birth certificates, in a number of US states.

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