The Application 'Tracks'
The issuing of the Gender Recognition certificates is controlled by the Gender Recognition Panel, which is part of the HQ Courts & Tribunal Service. To be able to apply for any of the 'tracks' you need to be at least 18 years of age. The Service provides three 'tracks' in which you can apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate.
The three options available are:
Where the applicant:
- is aged 18 or over
- has been diagnosed with gender dysphoria (discomfort with your birth gender) - this is also called gender identity disorder or transsexualism
- has lived in their acquired gender in the UK for at least 2 years
- intends to live in their acquired gender for the rest of their life
You must apply by the standard route if you live in Northern Ireland.
Where the applicant:
- is aged 18 or over
- has been diagnosed with gender dysphoria or had surgery to change your sexual characteristics
- has lived in England, Wales or Scotland most of the time
- intends to live in their acquired gender for the rest of your life
- is in (or has been in) a protected marriage or protected civil partnership
- has lived in their acquired gender for at least 6 years before 10 December 2014 (16 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 UK
- a marriage on UK consular premises or in an armed forces base, if you elected England, Wales or Scotland as the relevant part of the UK
Where applicants for a certificate who are applying on the basis that they have changed their legal gender under the law of an Table of Approved countries or territories.
Before starting the process is advisable to read the General Guide for users available on the 'forms and guidance page' before deciding which application route is the most suitable for you. Alternatively you can contact the administration team for the Gender Recognition Panel who will be able to give you further advice. The appropriate application forms and supporting guidance for each application route are also available on the same page to download and use.
Please also read the guide 'Gender Recognition Certificate: pensions and benefits note' as obtaining a full Gender Recognition Certificate may affect National Insurance, pensions and other social security benefits.
A statutory declaration is a written statement of facts which the person making it signs and solemnly declares to be true before a person authorised to administer oaths. This statutory declaration form is not the same as your ‘change of name’ statutory declaration or change of name document that you would have used previously.
Regardless of which track you are using, you will also need to complete one of the three statutory declarations:
- T466: Statutory Declaration for Applicants who are married
- T467: Statutory Declaration for single Applicants
- T468: Statutory Declaration for Applicants in a Civil Partnership
The Templates are available to download on the Gender Recognition Panel 'forms and guidance page'.
You will need to complete the Statutory Declaration carefully following the guidance notes precisely, but do not sign it. Once completed you will then need to take it to a person who is authorised to administer oaths where you will sign it with them in attendance. Most solicitors are able to do this, and there is a list of alternatives that can be found on the statutory declaration form itself. If you are married (unless you married in Northern Ireland) and your spouse consents to the marriage continuing after you receive your GRC then they must also complete their own statutory declaration. The form required is T469: Statutory Declaration for the Spouse of an Applicant for Gender Recognition.
Medical Evidence (For Standard and Alternative Tracks Only):
If you are using the Standard Track then you will need two medical reports completed using the T452 forms. The first of the medical reports will need to be completed by your gender specialist, which must be either a doctor or a psychologist/psychiatrist and must give details of your diagnosis. Most of the gender specialists in the UK will already be used to completing these reports and will have copies of the forms. If the gender specialist who originally made your diagnosis has retired then another gender specialist can complete the report for you if they have access to the original notes produced by the previous specialist.
The second medical report for the Standard Track needs to be completed by a doctor, who does not need to be a gender specialist. Most applicants tend to choose their own GP for this part. They will need to give details of any treatment that you have received and any further treatment you plan to have, including what medication was prescribed and surgical procedures performed. The information must be detailed and specific, listing what medication and doses that are involved rather than just stating you are on ‘hormone therapy’, or stating specific procedures that have been carried such as 'Hysterectomy' rather than just stating ‘gender reassignment surgery’. If you have not had any surgery then the report must explain clearly as to the reason why. This could be because you are currently still waiting for surgery on a waiting list, or you aren’t medically able to or for any other reasons, but an explanation has to be included as to why this is so.
If you are using the Alternative Track then you will only need one medical report. There are two options available for this. The first option is that you can get a report from a gender specialist giving details of your diagnosis. This report is exactly the same as the first Standard Track report detailed above. The other option for the Alternative Track is to get a report from a doctor (who does not need to be a gender specialist), or a psychologist/psychiatrist (who does have to be a gender specialist) that gives details of what surgical treatment you have undergone and any further treatment/s you plan to have. Again, the report has to be specific and detailed, stating the exact procedures have have taken place rather than just stating ‘gender reassignment surgery’ for example. If you have not had any relevant surgery then you cannot choose this 2nd application method.
Any doctor who provides a medical report for your application will need to be registered with the General Medical Council (GMC) and hold a licence to practise in the UK. Any psychologist/psychiatrist must be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council. It is unlikely that a doctor outside of the UK will be able to complete your report for you. If your diagnosis and treatment has been done by doctors from outside of the UK and there is nobody who can do your report, then you will need to be reassessed by a UK registered doctor. This is usually done in person by arranging private medical appointment(s) while visiting the UK.
There is no requirement for you to have actually met the doctor who writes the report, so it is possible to be able to post or email a copy of your medical records to a UK doctor and have that doctor liase with your non-UK doctors so that the UK doctor can write your medical report without ever needing to see you in person, although most specialists will usually prefer to to have at least one face to face appointment before writing the report.
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Evidence of time living in your 'acquired gender' (For Standard and Alternative Tracks Only) :
You must send evidence that you have been living as either a man or a woman at least two years for the Standard Track, or since before 10th December 2008 (or 16th December 2008 if you married or
entered into your civil partnership in Scotland) for the Alternative Track. This evidence might come in a variety of forms, but it must be dated and include your name.
Common examples of items you can include are:
- Driving licence (both counterpart and photo ID parts);
- Payslips or HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) documents such as a P60 or P45;
- Utility Bills;
- Bank statements;
- Letters from employers, colleges, universities, doctors or other professional organisations
- Student loan documents
- Academic certificates or documentation;
This list above is not a definitive list and should only be used as a guideline. Any documents that you can provide in addition may be of use to the panel in it's deliberation. You must however provide the original documents or certified copies wherever possible, which will be returned to you by special delivery post. The panel advises that you should send in around 5 or 6 items for a Standard Track application, or more for the Alternative Track applications, however you can send as many items as you feel are necessary. There must be a variety of items, and they must span the entire time period involved. Make sure it includes at least one item that is very early, and one that is the most recent, and a mixture from in between as this will aid in showing the length of time. Aim to include useful and clear supporting evidence that will add strength to your application.
With the Standard Track application, do not sign the Statutory Declaration or application form until after you have compiled and have at least two years of required evidence to support it. If you were to sign and date it even a day early your statutory declaration will be returned and you will have to sign and send in a new one. If you have any concerns about the evidence you intend to send in then icontact the GRP administrative team and they will be able to advise you.
Evidence of Overseas Gender Recognition (Overseas Track Only)
The Panel needs to see evidence that your acquired gender has been recognised under the law of an approved country or territory. There will be official documentation, such as a new birth certificate (along with the old birth certificate), an amended birth certificate that shows the change of gender, a court order, a record of recognition equivalent to a Gender Recognition Certificate, or a copy of an entry in a register maintained under the law of the approved country or territory that proves you have been recognised.
Other Evidence (All Tracks)
In addition you must send:
- Your full birth or adoption certificate
- Your marriage or civil partnership certificate (if you have one)
- Proof of all name changes between birth and your current name. If you don’t have proof, you should write a short letter explaining how you changed your name and why you have no supporting proof for this.
- If you were previously married or in a civil partnership then you must send proof that it has ended. This is either:
a copy of the decree bringing your marriage to an end;
evidence that your civil partnership has been dissolved;
if your partner died, a copy of their death certificate.
If any of your evidence is not in English you must have if officially translated. You should then include both the original and the certified translation with your application.
How much does an application cost?
When you send in your application for a Gender Recognition Certificate you may have to pay a court fee, which is currently £140. Some people will not have to pay a fee, or might be able to get the fee reduced. To be able to have the fee reduced or removed you must qualify for a fee remission. A form called “EX160A Court and tribunal fees – do I have to pay them” is available on the Gender Recognition Panel’s website, from their admin team or from any court. This form explains the process needed in full to qualify. The EX160A form and any evidence required for the fee remission will need to be sent along with your application. If you are not claiming a fee remission or only get a partial remission and you want to pay your fee by cheque or postal order then you should send it in the same envelope as your application. You can arrange to pay by debit or credit card instead after the application has been confirmed as being received.
Although there is the possible application fee that you may or may not have to pay for most people the main cost involved comes from gathering the evidence required to support the application.
- There is a charge when you sign your statutory declaration form. Your spouse will also have the same charge if they are signing a statutory declaration. The cost is usually £5 if completed by a solicitor.
- If you do not have a copy of your birth certificate than you will need to obtain one first before sending it in. The cost for this is £9.25 if you were born in England or Wales, or £15 if you were born in Scotland or Northern Ireland. There may also be additional delivery charges if you live outside of the UK. If you were born outside of the UK then the costs can vary considerably
- If you are married or in a civil partnership and you do not have a copy of your marriage or civil partnership certificate then you will need to obtain one before sending it in with the application. The cost is the same as the cost of a new birth certificate.
- The standard track application requires two medical reports, with the alternative track application needing one. This is not covered by the NHS, so the doctors are allowed to charge for completing them. Most GPs will charge for writing their report. The amount is up to the doctor who writes it, but usually should be no more then around £50. Some Gender Identity Clinics will do their report for free, while others will charge you for it and it is advisable to check first as to what the procedure is. The cost again is usually around £50 but can be more.
- If any of your evidence is not in English then you will need to pay for it to be officially translated by a recognised organisation along with being certified.
- It is very strongly recommended that when you you send your application and supporting evidence then to send it by special delivery. The cost will depend on the amount of evidence you need to send, but is often around £10. If you live outside the UK then you should use a secure, registered postal system and this can be expensive. If your application is successful and you receive an interim GRC then there may be costs involved in applying to the Sherriff’s Court for a full GRC afterwards if in Scotland or in the ending your marriage or civil partnership.
- If your application is successful, you receive a full GRC and are entitled to a new birth or adoption certificate then you will only receive a short birth certificate version which is of limited use. If you would like a full birth or adoption certificate then again there will be additional charges, usually the typical cost of £9.25 if you were born in England or Wales, or £15 if you were born in Scotland or Northern Ireland.
The Panel process procedure
When the Gender Recognition Panel receives your application they will send you a letter to confirm its receipt. If you are married and your spouse provided a declaration of consent then they will be sent a letter telling them that you have made an application. The letters are usually sent out to you within a couple of days after receiving your application.
Before the panel can move forward with your application they will need to process your fee. If you have sent a fee remission application, or a cheque or postal order then they will process this first and contact you if there are any problems. If you have chosen to pay by debit or credit card then you will need to call the panel within ten days of receiving your letter of receipt to make the payment. Once your payment has been cleared the administration team will then begin to process your application. They will first check through for any of the more common errors that can happen such as missing medical reports or a missing signature. If they find anything then they will write to you with instructions as to what to correct. If there are no problems or once any issues have been corrected, they will set a date for your application to be heard by the Panel. You and your spouse will each receive a letter informing you of the date, which is usually within 12 weeks of the application being received.
If you are have made an application under the Standard or Alternative Track then the panel will be made up of two members. One of which is legally trained and the other medically trained. If you have made an application under the Overseas Track then the panel will be made up of just one member who is legally trained. The panel will consider your application along with the supporting evidence. You and your spouse if they signed a consent will be informed of the outcome by letter within two weeks. If you have not heard anything after that time then you will need to contact them to find out as to what has happened.
Sometimes the panel will decide that they need to see more evidence before they can make a decision. If this happens then the letter will inform you what is needed. It will also inform you what date that you need to provide the information to them by. If you require any additional time to provide the evidence you should ring the panel and they will usually extend the time period to assist you. Once you have provided the information a new panel date will be set and you and your spouse will be informed of that date by letter.
If your application is unsuccessful then the letter will explain why. If you believe that the panel has acted unlawfully then you can appeal the decision to the High Court (or the Court of Session if you live in Scotland), and information on how to do this will be included in the letter to you. If you want to make another application then you can do so, but not until after a further six months has elapsed.
If your application is successful then you will receive your certificate within two weeks of the panel having met.
What happens next if my application is successful?
If your application is approved then you will receive your Gender Recognition Certificate within two weeks of the panel date.
It will be a full GRC if:
- You are not married, or not in a civil partnership;
- You married anywhere other than in Northern Ireland and your spouse signed a statutory declaration of consent; or
- You are in an English, Scottish or Welsh civil partnership and your partner made a successful application for a GRC at the same time as you.
In all other situations it will be an interim GRC. This does not change your legal gender and it will expire after six months. In that time it can be used in various ways to enable you to get a full GRC:
- If you were married in and live in Scotland then you can apply to the Sheriff’s Court to obtain a full GRC.
- If you are in a UK marriage or civil partnership then you (or your spouse) can use the interim GRC to end your marriage or civil partnership. Once the marriage has ended the court will issue you with a full GRC. It does not matter if this takes longer than the six months as long as you start proceedings before the six months has expired.
- If you are in a marriage (excluding Northern Ireland) and your spouse agrees to sign a statutory declaration of consent to your marriage continuing after the issuing of a certificate, then you can send the statutory declaration, along with your interim GRC and a letter to the Gender Recognition Panel and they will then issue you with a full GRC.
- If you are in an English, Welsh or Scottish civil partnership and you convert it into a marriage and your spouse agrees to sign a statutory declaration of consent to your marriage continuing after the issuing of a full GRC, then you can send the statutory declaration, your new marriage certificate, ther interim GRC and a letter to the Gender Recognition Panel and they will issue you with a full GRC.
- If your spouse dies before you have done any of these things then you can send a copy of the death certificate, your interim GRC and a letter to the Gender Recognition Panel and they will issue you with a full GRC.
Once you are issued with a full GRC then this means that your legal gender has been changed. You are now fully recognised in law as the gender on your GRC and not the gender on your old birth certificate.
Birth, Marriage and Civil Partnership Certificates
If you have a UK birth or adoption certificate then you will be able to get a new one showing the name and gender that is on your full GRC. If you were adopted then the information from your most recent adoption certificate will be used, if not then the details from your birth certificate will be used. The General Registrar’s Office will send you a draft copy of the new birth or adoption certificate and ask you to check and confirm that it is correct. You will be entitled to one free short birth certificate, but this cannot be used for most purposes. You can purchase long birth certificates, and details of how to do this will be included with the draft copy. If you are in an English, Welsh or Scottish marriage or civil partnership when you obtain your full GRC, if your spouse agrees, you can obtain a new marriage or civil partnership.
Tax, National Insurance, Benefits and Pensions
If you have lived or paid tax in the UK then you must, by law, inform HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). On the GRC application form there is an option to allow the Gender Recognition Panel to inform HMRC for you. If you didn’t do so at the time then you must inform them yourself in writing. The letter must include your national insurance number and you must enclose your original GRC, it is advisable to send them by recorded delivery.
The address to send all of the correspondance to is:
Special Section D
Benton Park View
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tel: 0191 225 7123
HMRC will in turn inform the Department of Works and Pensions (DWP) and the Department for Social Development in Northern Ireland (DSDNI) if necessary. You should inaddition, check the list of government agencies that came with your GRC to see if there are any other agencies you must inform. Your HMRC and DWP or DSDNI records will be retricted once you obtain a full GRC. These restrictions mean that only specialist staff can access them which helps to maintain privacy, however it also can cause problems and delays with benefit claims as jobcentre staff will not be able to access them easily. The restrictions also mean that if you or your spouse make a pension claim it will be handled by the DWP/DSDNI Gender Recognition team who will understand the special rules that may apply. If you do not want your records restricted then you can write to the above address and request that they be unrestricted.
Once you have a full Gender Recognition Certificate you can also ask the Credit Reference Agencies to help you update your credit file and protect your confidentiality. To begin this process you should request an advice pack from Experian either from their website (www.experian.co.uk/gra/) or by calling 0870 366 1660. Experian will work together with the other agencies to ensure all of your records are protected.
If any information is held about you on the Police National Computer, then once you have a full Gender Recognition Certificate you can request that your name and gender are updated on their systems. Contact the ACPO Criminal Records Office (www.acro.police.uk) for more information.
Lost or damaged Certificates
In the case of loss or damage to the certificate a certifed copy of the original may be obtained without cost from the panel. The General Register Office holds and maintains the Gender Recognition Register, from which new and duplicate birth certificates in the affirmed name and gender can be obtained. The address is:
General Register Office
Tel: +44 (0) 151 471 4821.
Fax: +44 (0) 151 471 4755
if you would like to share your experiences in any dealings with with the Gender Recognition Panel, positive or otherwise, with us please send us an email.