Gender Recognition Certificate – What are they and how do I get one?

Gender Recognition Certificates are the only way to change your gender legally. The process, however, is a bit tricky! Read on as I try (and hopefully succeed) to untangle it for you.

Do you feel uncomfortable in the gender assigned to you at birth? If so, you might want a Gender Recognition Certificate. It’s a certificate that legally changes your gender and, once you have one, you’ll get a new birth certificate!

This guide will talk you through Gender Recognition Certificates. I’ll explain what they are and talk you through how to get one. I will warn you before we begin – the process of applying is a bit complicated, so bear with me. I’ll try make it as simple as possible, I promise!

What do Gender Recognition Certificates do?

They’re basically a certificate that, as the name suggests, recognises your acquired gender. You’ll get all the rights and responsibilities of your acquired gender, and a new birth certificate to boot.

Gender Recognition Certificates affect:

  • the marriage laws that apply to you
  • which prison you would be placed in (hopefully not relevant, but handy to know I suppose)
  • your pension, particularly if you were born before 6th December 1953

If that sounds good, then why not get started? You need to apply to the Gender Recognition Panel. Before you do, you’ll need to know about the different ‘routes’ of application.

Routes

When you apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate you’ve got to go down one of three routes: standard, alternative, or overseas. Your route depends your circumstances – the table below should help guide you down the right one:

Standard

  • you’re over 18
  • you’ve been diagnosed with gender dysphoria
  • you’ve lived as your acquired gender for at least 2 years and intend to live as your acquired gender for the rest of your life

Alternative

  • you’re over 18
  • you’ve been diagnosed with gender dysphoria
  • you live in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland most of the time
  • you intend to live as your acquired gender for the rest of your life
  • you’re in a protected marriage or protected civil partnership from before 10th December 2014 (16th December 2014 if you’re Scottish)
  • you’ve lived as your acquired gender for 6 years before 10th December 2014 (16th December 2014 if you’re Scottish)

Overseas

  • you’re over 18
  • your acquired gender has been legally accepted in an approved country or territory and you’ve got the documents to prove it

What documents do I need?

Each route has different requirements. You’ll need to supply proof and medical documents – I’ll explain what I mean by these later on. For now, the documentation you’ll need for the different routes are below:

  • You’ll need to fill in form T450, which you can find here. You’ll also need to provide the following documents:

    • an original or certified copy of your birth certificate
    • copies of any documents that show your birth name has changed to your current name (such as a deed poll)
    • proof you’ve lived in your acquired gender for the past 2 years
    • any relevant medical reports

  • You’ll need to fill in form T464, which you can find here, and you’ll need to provide the following supporting documents:

    • an original or certified copy of your birth certificate
    • copies of any documents that show your birth name has changed to your current name (such as a deed poll)
    • proof you’ve lived in your acquired gender for 6 years before 10th December 2014 (or 16th December 2014 if you’re in Scotland)
    • any relevant medical reports

  • You’ll need to fill in form T453, found here. You’ll also need to provide the following documents:

    • your new and your old birth certificates
    • an amended birth certificate showing your new gender
    • a court order authorising your change of gender
    • a document equivalent to a Gender Recognition Certificate
    • an entry in a legal register that proves that your acquired gender has been recognised

What if I’m married, or have been in the past?

I was married/in a civil partnership in the past!

If you were married or in a civil partnership in the past (but aren’t anymore) you need to provide:

  • an original or certified copy of your marriage or civil partnership certificate AND
  • a copy of your decree absolute or proof that your civil partnership has been dissolved (if you’ve divorced)
  • a copy of your spouse’s death certificate (if they’ve passed away)

I’m married/in a civil partnership now!

What you need to do depends on where your marriage was registered and whether you’re married or in a civil partnership.

England, Wales, Northern Ireland

    • If you want to stay married, you and your spouse just have to fill in a statutory declaration agreeing to do so – you can find that here.
    • If you don’t want to stay married, you’ll get an ‘interim form’. You’ll also be given one if your spouse won’t sign a statutory form (you deserve better anyway). You can use the interim form as grounds to end your marriage, if you want.
    • If you’ve been given an interim form, you’ll only get a full certificate once you end your marriage.

    • You can stay in your civil partnership. Your spouse will need to fill in the statutory declaration agreeing to stay in the partnership.
    • If they don’t, you deserve better, and you’ll be given an interim certificate.

Scotland

    • If you want to stay married, you and your spouse just have to fill in a statutory declaration agreeing to do so – you can find that here.
    • If you don’t want to stay married, you’ll get an ‘interim form’. You’ll also be given one if your spouse won’t sign a statutory form (you deserve better anyway). You can use the interim form as grounds to end your marriage, if you want.
    • You can go to the sheriff court and use your interim certificate to apply for a full Gender Recognition Certificate.
    • You can either end your civil partnership or convert it to a marriage. If you want to convert to a marriage, you’ve got to do so before you apply to the panel.
    • If you’re still in a civil partnership when you apply, you’ll get an interim certificate, and you’ll have to end your partnership before you can get a full certificate.
    • Basically, if you want to stay together, convert your partnership to a marriage before you apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate.

Whichever route you’re on, you’ll need to post your T Form, all your supporting documents, and a £5 application fee to:

              Gender Recognition Panel
               PO Box 9300
               Leicester
               LE1 8DJ

Still with me? Good. It’s a bit of a faff, isn’t it? Not much more to get through now, though. I’ll just explain what’s meant by proof and medical reports.

Proof and Medical Reports

What counts as proof?

Any documentation showing that you’ve been living as your acquired gender. This could be your:

  • passport
  • driving licence
  • payslips / benefits documents
  • utility bills or other official documents

Obviously, they’ll need to be in your new name (and gender if possible). Remember that you need to have been living as your acquired gender for at least 2 years, so your earliest dated document will need to be at least 2 years old (it’ll be have to be even earlier if you’re an alternative router).

Two years is quite a long time – if you want to get the ball rolling and start the clock ticking, one of the easiest ways to do so is by changing your name. Fortunately for you, I’ve written a useful little guide. Once you’ve done so, if you let the relevant authorities know, they’ll change your records and all future correspondence with them will be in your new name. This correspondence counts as proof!

What medical reports do I need?

To prove you’re committed, you’ve got to provide a report detailing any treatments or surgeries you’ve had to change your sexual characteristics. You need an original report from a qualified medical professional, for example a:

  • doctor registered with the General Medical Council (GMC)
  • psychologist registered with the Health and Care Professions Council

If you haven’t got a report, no problem – you can just ask your GP or surgeon to fill one in for you. If you haven’t had any treatment or surgery, you’ll need to send a report detailing any planned treatment or surgery.

Standard routers, you’ll also need a report with details of your gender dysphoria diagnosis. Only certain professionals can provide these reports – here’s a handy list for you.

What next?

Gather all the documents you need – your T Form, your proof, your medical reports and any of the other documents that apply, and send them off! And now you play the waiting game.

If you’ve been successful

You’ll be sent information on:

  • how to get a new birth certificate
  • how to get a new marriage certificate or civil partnership (if applicable)
  • who you must tell about your gender change

If you’ve been given an interim certificate

You’ll be sent information on:

  • how to annul or dissolve your marriage or civil partnership
  • how long you’ve got to convert your civil partnership to a marriage (if applicable)

If you’ve been unsuccessful

If you’re unsuccessful, don’t be too disappointed. You’ll be told why, so you can always apply again. You might even be able to appeal, if you think you’ve got legal grounds for it. Your decision letter will give you the necessary information on how to appeal, or how to apply again.

Are we there yet? Yes we are!

Right! That’s everything you need to know. It’s a complicated process, I know, but I hope this guide has helped you understand how to get a Gender Recognition Certificate. If you are applying for one, I wish you all the luck in the world and I hope you’re successful!

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Declan Ramsden
Declan is an Apprentice Content Creator at Vital Consular, which means he’s learning the ins and outs of blog writing! He studied English Literature for 4 years before joining the company. Outside of work, he enjoys listening to retro music and reading classic novels – particularly Charles Dickens!
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