If you are a transgender person who is planning to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program, there are a few things you need to know when you request your ESTA.

As you no doubt know, transgender people are met with discrimination every day. This is perhaps never truer than when the sex with which you identify is different than the one on your ID. This can post pose problems when you apply for your ESTA, among other issues with the travel process. Here, you’ll discover tips on how to fill out your ESTA application if you are a transgendered person and what to do to ensure as smooth a process as possible at the airport.

The American Transportation Security Administration understands that going through the airport security check can be challenging for the transgendered community. They make every effort to treat each person with dignity and respect – including those who are transgendered. They offer these tips for travelling to the US:

When making reservations, always use the names and gender that is indicated on your passport, to avoid confusion. Your flight ticket is not transferrable and is tethered specifically to your legal name, even if the name you use daily is different. It’s the name on your identification that they will be paying attention to.

When you request your ESTA, ensure the personal information you provide matches what is on your passport, not the name and gender with which you identify daily. Your ESTA authorization is linked directly to one passport, so the information must match or your application will be rejected.

When it comes to a body search carried out by the United States Customs and Border Protection Agency, be aware that the process is uncomfortable for everyone. If you have undergone a total transformation, your current gender is what will dictate which agent will carry out the search. If your transformation is not complete, two different agents will carry out the search, one for the upper body and one for the lower. Remember: You are always within your legal rights to request that a body search be carried out in private and witnessed by a person of your choice.

Travel as a transgendered person can be challenging. Aside from the discrimination you may face in the public, there are also the logistical issues that come from identifying with a different gender than the one you were born into. To avoid confusion and possibly being denied your ESTA application, for example, always use your legal name on any applications (the name that matches your passport) so no red flags are raised. And don’t be afraid to ask for privacy when it comes to a body search at the airport – it’s your right. If you follow these steps, you should encounter minimal problems in your travel plans.

Be Sociable, Share!