Changing legal documents
Individuals can apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate if they want their acquired gender to be legally recognised in the UK – though many trans people choose not to apply as the process can be quite lengthy.
Currently in the UK, the law says that everyone is either legally male or legally female and that this is determined by what it says on your birth certificate. This means that for certain things that are controlled by law (such as pensions, marriage and prisons,) individuals may be treated as the gender on their birth certificate regardless of their gender identity and regardless of whether they hold other documents in their acquired gender.
Currently only male and female are recognised as legal genders in the UK – non-binary individuals are not legally recognised.
Individuals can only obtain a new birth certificate once they have received their Gender Recognition Certificate.
Individuals can apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate if all the following are true:
- They are 18 or over
- They have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria (discomfort with their birth gender) - this is also called gender identity disorder, gender incongruence or transsexualism
- They have lived in their acquired gender for at least 2 years
- They intend to live in their acquired gender for the rest of their life
Click here for our useful websites page which includes details on applying for a Gender Recognition Certificate
It is possible to change documents WITHOUT a Gender Recognition CertificateObtaining a new passport or amending an existing passport
• Passport form
• Passport sized photograph
• Original change of name document (not a copy)
• Doctor's letter stating change of gender*
• Original birth certificate if this is your first passport
*The doctor's letter must contain specific language - it must say that the change of gender is 'permanent'. Gendered Intelligence have provided a useful template detailed below.*
Complete the application for a new passport and send this with a copy of the health professional's letter and a copy of the Statutory Declaration or deed poll.
Individuals must also send their old passport back if they have one. If they have not held a passport before, then they must also send their original birth certificate to the passport office.
If the individual is 16 or over, this can be done without parental consent.
If the individual is under 16, their parents will need to sign the letter. However, there is no minimum age restriction on when a person can change the gender on their passport if they have the appropriate documentation.
*This is a template letter for your doctor to write. This can be a GP or a gender specialist. You do not have to have started medical transition to receive this letter. It should be on headed paper with the name and address of the person who is writing it.
Medical Reference No. xxxxxxxxxxxxx Date.
To whom it may concern,
This is to confirm that my patient [Full Name] has been diagnosed as having gender dysphoria and is currently undergoing gender reassignment. This change is to be permanent. As part of this process they have changed their name by Statutory Declaration from [old Full Name] to [Full Name].
Your assistance in making the relevant changes to your records and in preserving full confidentiality would be appreciated.
Doctor, GP or Consultants signature
- Form D1 ‘Application for a driving licence’ for a car or motorbike licence
- Form D2 ‘Application for a lorry/bus licence’ for a lorry or bus licence
Provide one of the following documents with your application:
- a deed poll
- a statutory declaration *
- gender recognition certificate
- a solicitor
- a magistrate
- a commissioner of oaths
To change the photo at the same time, send:
- a recent passport-style photo
- a cheque or postal order for £17, payable to DVLA (there’s no fee if you’re over 70 or have a medical short period licence)
“My child changed their driving licence (photo ID) - this was very easy to do and did not cost anything. The deed poll was used to change their name with the GP, however, this is still not always so straightforward in terms of how they and other medical agencies address them or refer to them.”