Gender recognition

If you are over 18 years old and have lived in your acquired gender for more than two years, you can apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) to legally recognise your gender. You can also apply if you have changed gender in certain countries outside the UK.

Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC)

An application for a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) is made to the Gender Recognition Panel. The Panel is made up of legal and medical members who assess whether the legal and medical criteria for legal recognition are met.

In Northern Ireland, you must be over 18 years old and be able to show:

  • you have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria
  • you’ve lived in your acquired gender in the UK for at least two years
  • you will live permanently in your acquired gender

You must also be unmarried and not in a civil partnership before you can receive a full GRC.

All applicants who are married or in a civil partnership and who wish to end their relationship can still choose to apply for an interim GRC which they can use to annul or dissolve their existing legal relationship.

Before making your application

Before making an application you should read the general guide for all users on gender recognition. The guidance will provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision.

Access the Gender Recognition Act 2004: The General Guide for all users. 

Applying for gender recognition may affect your National Insurance, pension and other social security benefits. Read the Gender Recognition Certificate: pensions and benefits note to find out more.

Making an application

There are different routes to apply for gender recognition in the UK, but if you live in Northern Ireland you must apply by the standard route.

You can download the application form and guidance note at the links below.

Application route Form Guidance
Standard route Form T450 Leaflet T451

A fee of £140 applies to your application. You may be able to get help to pay the fee if you’re on certain benefits or a low income.

Completed application forms, supporting evidence and the fee should be sent to the Gender Recognition Panel.

If you are applying from outside the UK you should use the form and guidance at the link below.

What happens next

If your application is successful, the panel will issue you a full or an interim GRC.

If your birth was originally registered in Northern Ireland, the panel will tell the Registrar General for Northern Ireland when they issue your Gender Recognition Certificate. The Registrar General will then contact you to arrange re-registration of your birth.

Once agreed, a new registration showing your new name and gender will be created and a replacement birth certificate (both long and short) will be available showing your new name and acquired gender. A short birth certificate will be issued free of charge.

If you were adopted a new extract from the Adopted Children Register will be issued.

If you are unsuccessful, the panel will write to you with their reasons. You have the right to appeal. The panel will explain how.

Contact the Gender Recognition Panel for further help and advice.

Your rights

The Gender Reassignment Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1999 amends the Sex Discrimination Order to make it unlawful to discriminate on grounds of gender reassignment (sex change) in employment and training.

The Sex Discrimination (Amendment of Legislation) Regulations 2008 came into operation in Northern Ireland, and introduced protection from direct discrimination on grounds of gender reassignment in the provision of goods, facilities, services or premises.


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