What effects does it have?
What is it?
Changing the gender listed on your birth, marriage and civil partnership certificates, with effects on your pension, prison and marriage rights.
How long does it last?
The change is expected to be 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.
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.
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.
Obtaining a GRC would not normally have any effects on your everyday life, so few people ever apply for it. 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.
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.
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 have produced a useful guide that provides lots of information about this.
It costs £140 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.
Detailed guidance on the process, requirements for and effects of applying for a GRC is given on the HM Courts and Tribunals Service website.
Once you have obtained your GRC, it is important that you notify the following organisations:
Organisations to notify of a GRC
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.
A number of organisations have produced guidance on the process of obtaining a GRC:
Department for Work and Pensions:
HM Courts and Tribunals Service:
Press for Change:
UK Trans Info:
Errors and omissions
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Page last updated: July 2018