What is a GRC?
A legal document that changes the gender listed on your birth, marriage and civil partnership certificates, with effects on your pension, prison and marriage rights.
What does a GRC do?
- ID documents
Changes birth and marriage certificates
Who can have a GRC?
Under 18s cannot have this
You need a formal diagnosis
You must have had 24 continuous months living as your gender identity
You must intend to live as your gender identity for the rest of your life
How long does a GRC last?
The change is permanent. It is possible to reverse a GRC but this would require applying for a new GRC which has requirements that would take several years to meet.
What should I be aware of?
Due to the recent passage of the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill, processes relating to obtaining a GRC may change in Scotland in the near future.
If you are currently married or in a civil partnership, obtaining a GRC may annul your marriage or civil partnership. See below for more details.
Why might I want a Gender Recognition Certificate?
The process of obtaining a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) allows you to change the gender listed on your birth certificate to either “female” or “male”, provided you meet the requirements of the Gender Recognition Panel (GRP).
This has three main effects:
- it changes which marriage laws apply to you (e.g. whether you would be able to apply for a civil partnership), and may cause you to need to obtain a new marriage or civil partnership certificate
- it may change whether you would be housed in a women’s prison or a men’s prison
- it may affect your rights around pensions, particularly if you were born before 6th December 1953.
You do not need a GRC to have your death certificate registered under the correct gender or to have a funeral in which your gender is respected 1, p.128. There is detailed information about this in posts on the Trans Safety Network website which has been subsequently confirmed by a coroner. If the gender of someone has been recorded incorrectly on their death certificate, you can apply to have this corrected.
Why might I not want a Gender Recognition Certificate?
Obtaining a GRC would not normally have any effects on your everyday life, so few people ever apply for it. In particular, you do not need a GRC to change the name or gender on your passport, driving license, or any other identification other than your birth certificate.
You cannot currently use a GRC to change the gender on your birth certificate to anything other than “male” or “female”, which limits who it is useful for.
Obtaining a GRC can also have very important consequences for your legal status if you are currently married. In the event you are currently married, there are a complex set of rules around how you and your marriage are effected. UK Trans Info produced a useful guide that provides lots of information about this.
How much will it cost?
It costs £5 to apply for a GRC. You may also need to pay in order to obtain medical evidence from gender clinicians to support your claim. You may be able to apply for help with the cost of applying for your GRC.
How do I obtain a Gender Recognition Certificate?
Detailed guidance on the process, requirements for and effects of applying for a GRC is given on the HM Courts and Tribunals Service website.
You cannot obtain a GRC unless you:
- are 18 years old or older
- have, or have had, gender dysphoria
- have lived fully for the last two years in your acquired gender (male or female) and continue to do so
- intend to live permanently in your acquired gender until death.
More stringent requirements may be placed on you depending on the method by which you apply for a GRC.
Once you have obtained your GRC, it is important that you notify the following organisations:
There is a box on the application form for a GRC that allows HMRC and the DWP to be notified automatically without you having to do anything.
Where can I learn more?
A number of organisations have produced guidance on the process of obtaining a GRC. You can find a comprehensive list of resources about obtaining a Gender Recognition Certificate and on the Gender Recognition Act on the genderarchive.org.uk website.
- 1.Kermode, Jennie (2021) Growing Older as a Trans and/or Non-Binary Person, Jessica Kingsley Publishers. Link
Errors and omissions
Is there something missing from this page? Have you spotted something that isn't correct? Please tweet us or message us on Facebook to let us know, or file an issue on GitHub.