Since 2005, transgender people in the UK are eligible to obtain a Gender Recognition Certificate which allows them to formally change their gender. In this article, we explain what this certificate entails and what steps you need to take to apply.
In the United Kingdom, you are considered to be of the gender that is registered on your birth certificate. Transgender individuals identify with the gender opposite to the one that was assigned to them at birth. Although you can always self-identify as the opposite gender, you will legally be treated as your birth gender unless you have a formal gender change.
The Gender Recognition Act 2004 enables transgender individuals to apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC). After you obtain this certificate, you will be considered in the eyes of the law to be of your acquired gender. This means that you will:
Currently, only male and female genders are legally recognized in the UK.
You have to meet certain requirements if you wish to apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate:
If you meet all the requirements, you can apply to the Gender Recognition Panel. This panel is made up of legal and medical experts who will review the evidence before deciding whether to issue a certificate. In most cases, the procedure takes place without a hearing, but more complex cases may require one.
You don’t need to have had gender reassignment surgery, hormone therapy, or any other treatment to legally change your gender in the UK.
If you are married or in a civil partnership, your spouse or partner must give consent before you can be issued a Gender Recognition Certificate. They have to sign a statutory declaration which you will include in your application. After you receive a GRC, you will continue being married but the marriage will change from opposite-sex to same-sex marriage or vice versa.
However, if your spouse or partner does not give consent, you will be issued an interim Gender Recognition Certificate. This certificate is valid for six months. It is not a legal recognition of your acquired gender and you can only use it until you end your marriage or dissolve a civil partnership.
Your gender change does not affect your parental status as the mother or father of your child. However, it is not possible to change your child’s birth certificate to include your acquired legal gender.
There are three different ways to legally change your gender in the UK: standard route, alternative route, and overseas route.
You can use the standard route option if:
This option applies if:
The overseas route must be used if:
If you are not sure which application route is the most suitable for you, you can contact the administration team for the Gender Recognition Panel for advice by phone at 0300 123 4503 or email [email protected]
To apply for Gender Recognition Certificate, regardless of what route you chose, you must:
Gender Recognition Panel
PO Box 9300
The fee for changing your legal gender in the UK is £5. The amount was reduced from £140 in May 2021 in order to make the process more affordable for transgender people.
You will also have to pay up to £50 for a medical report from your doctor stating that you have gender dysphoria.
Finally, a statutory declaration where your spouse agrees to change the terms of the marriage costs £5 plus £2 for each additional required document, such as a birth certificate.
Currently, the process of changing gender in the UK is reversible. If you change your mind, you can apply to have your Gender Recognition Certificate revoked.
As part of your gender change, you may wish to formally change your name. You can do this at any time, either before or after applying for a Gender Recognition Certificate.
Similarly to changing gender, you can start by using and getting known by your new name without any legal procedure. However, to prove that you have formally changed your name, you must have an official document such as a deed poll.
A deed poll, also known as a change of name deed, is legal evidence that you have changed your name. This is the most common way of changing your name in the UK.
You can use the deed poll to update your name on official documents including your passport, driver’s license, and bank account. All government bodies accept a deed poll as proof of your name change.
It is important to keep in mind that changing your name does not automatically change your gender. You will still need to obtain a Gender Recognition Certificate from the Gender Recognition Panel if you wish to change your gender legally.
If you are 18 or over, use the following forms to enroll the deed poll at the Royal Courts of Justice:
Children under 18 who wish to change their name require permission from both parents or guardians. In this case, the following forms must be used: