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USCIS introduces a third-gender option in citizenship applications

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MUMBAI: In a significant move, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has addressed a longstanding issue concerning gender identification on its official forms. The traditional binary classification of male and female, which has posed significant obstacles for individuals outside these categories, is now being expanded to include a third gender option: ‘X’ – for now this option is available only as regards applications in its form for naturalization (citizenship).
Issuing an official statement recently, the USCIS declared, “We have revised Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, to provide a third gender option, ‘X’, defined as ‘Another Gender Identity’.”
Moreover, the USCIS announced updates to its Policy Manual to accommodate this crucial form revision and hinted at forthcoming revisions across other forms to incorporate the third gender option.
Effective April 1, 2024, applicants filling out Form N-400 will find ‘X’ as an immediate gender option, with plans for its integration into other USCIS forms in due course. Applicants who have a pending Form N-400 using the edition in effect before April 1, 2024, may request to update their gender on or after April 1, 2024, as well.
USCIS explains: “You do not need to provide supporting documentation to select X as your gender initially or to change your gender selection for Form N-400. The gender you select does not need to match the gender listed on your other immigration documents or on supporting identity documents, such as your birth certificate, passport, or state identification.”
The decision underscores the USCIS’s commitment to ensuring accuracy in identity documentation and biographical data while addressing the needs of individuals with diverse gender identities. This move aligns with similar initiatives undertaken by federal and state agencies, such as the US Department of State’s provision of gender ‘X’ in passport applications.
Prior to this revision, the absence of gender diversity options presented significant hurdles for those whose identities didn’t align with conventional male or female categorizations. USCIS faced administrative challenges when processing documents indicating genders beyond the binary spectrum.
The introduction of the ‘X’ gender option heralds a progressive shift in bureaucratic norms, reflecting a broader societal recognition of gender diversity and inclusivity.

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