Gender Recognition Certificates

You can start living in another gender at any time (and at any age).  You don’t need to have a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) — you can simply start living in the new gender.

However, applying for a Gender Recognition Certificate means that —

  • your new gender will be legally recognised (in the U.K.)
  • you’ll get a new birth certificate in your new gender and name

Bear in mind that only male and female genders are legally recognised in the U.K. (at the moment).

How to apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC)

You can apply to the Gender Recognition Panel for a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) if you want your new (“acquired”) gender to be legally recognised in the U.K.

There are 3 different ways (‘routes’) to get a certificate.  The one you use depends on your situation.

Read the full guidance in the HM Courts & Tribunal Services (HMCTS) leaflet T455  ↗ before you apply.

Standard route

Apply by the standard route ↗ if all the following are true:

  • you’re 18 or over
  • you’ve been diagnosed with gender dysphoria (discomfort with your birth gender) — this is also called gender identity disorder or transsexualism
  • you’ve lived in your new gender for at least 2 years
  • you intend to live in your new gender for the rest of your life

You must apply by the standard route if you live in Northern Ireland.

Alternative route

Apply by the alternative route ↗ if all the following are true:

  • you’re 18 or over
  • you’ve been diagnosed with gender dysphoria or had surgery to change your sexual characteristics
  • you live in England, Wales or Scotland most of the time
  • you intend to live in your new gender for the rest of your life
  • you’re in (or have been in) a protected marriage or protected civil partnership
  • you’ve lived in your new gender for at least 6 years before 10th December 2014 (16th December 2014 for Scottish marriages and civil partnerships)

A marriage or civil partnership is protected if it’s one of the following:

  • registered under the law of England and Wales
  • a marriage solemnised in Scotland
  • a civil partnership registered in Scotland
  • a marriage registered under the law of a country or territory outside the U.K.
  • a marriage on U.K. consular premises or in an armed forces base, if you elected England, Wales or Scotland as the relevant part of the U.K.
Overseas route

Apply by the overseas route ↗ if your new gender has been legally accepted in an “approved country or territory ↗” (under the Gender Recognition Act 2004) and you have documents to prove it.

See HMCTS leaflet T491 ↗ for full information.

If you’re married

If you’re married, and you apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate, you can stay married, unless your marriage is registered under the law of Northern Ireland.  You and your spouse must fill in a statutory declaration saying you both agree to stay married.

You’ll get an ‘interim certificate’ if you or your spouse don’t want to remain married, or if neither of you fill in a statutory declaration.  You can use the interim certificate as grounds to end the marriage.

If you live in England or Wales, you’ll only get a full certificate once you end your marriage.

If your marriage was registered in Scotland, you can use an interim certificate to apply to the sheriff court for a full certificate.  You don’t need to end your marriage first.

Contact the administrative team at the Gender Recognition Panel if either you or your spouse change your mind about staying married during the application process.

If you’re in a civil partnership

You must end your civil partnership or convert it to a marriage if it was registered in England, Wales or Scotland.  You can’t convert your civil partnership to a marriage if it was registered anywhere else.

If you decide to convert your civil partnership into a marriage ↗ you must do it before you apply to the Gender Recognition Panel.

You’ll be given an interim certificate if you’re still in a civil partnership when you apply to the Gender Recognition Panel ↗.  You must end the civil partnership before you can get a full certificate.

If both you and your civil partner are applying for gender recognition you should apply ↗ at the same time as your partner — tell the administrative team your applications are linked.  You may both be granted full certificates on the same day if your civil partnership was registered in England, Wales or Scotland.

Northern Ireland

If your marriage or civil partnership was registered in Northern Ireland you’ll get an interim certificate, and you must end your marriage or civil partnership before you can apply for a full certificate.  You can use the interim certificate as grounds to end your marriage or civil partnership.