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What is a Gender Recognition Certificate?

View profile for Claudia Hubert
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A Gender Recognition Certificate (“GRC”) is a formal document issued by the Gender Recognition Panel to legally recognise an individual’s acquired gender in the UK.

At birth an individual’s gender is registered on their birth certificate, however it may become apparent later in life that the gender assigned at birth does not match that individual’s true gender identity. An individual may therefore take steps to transition and live in the gender they identify with. Part of this transition may involve applying for a GRC.

What is the impact of a Gender Recognition Certificate?

A GRC can be used as evidence of your new legal gender. You will also be able to obtain a replacement birth certificate with your preferred (and now legal) gender on it.

You will also, from the date of issue, be considered in the eyes of the law to be of your acquired gender. However, a GRC is not retrospective and does not re-write your gender history.

All of your legal rights and responsibilities will correspond to your legally updated gender. For example, your national insurance contributions and your pensionable age will be based on your acquired gender.

How do you apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate?

You will need to make an application to the Gender Recognition Panel; a panel made up of medical and legal professionals.

There are currently three different routes to get a GRC:

1.    the standard route

2.    the alternative route

3.    the overseas route

There are different criteria which must be met for each of the routes, and which route is chosen is based on an individual’s personal circumstances, however under all routes, you must be at least 18 years of age.

With every application you will also need to complete and sign a statutory declaration, which can be prepared and witnessed by a solicitor. Birkett Long offers free statutory declarations specifically for GRCs, so please get in touch with us if you require our assistance with this.

What if I am married or in a civil partnership?

In England, Wales and Scotland, you can remain married when applying for a GRC if you and your spouse complete a statutory declaration confirming you both agree to stay married. If you or your spouse do not want to remain married, or if your spouse does not fill in a statutory declaration, you will get an “interim certificate”. You will only receive a full certificate once you end your marriage.

If your marriage was registered in Northern Ireland, you will only receive a full certificate once you end your marriage, as same-sex marriage has not yet been legalised.

You can also stay in your civil partnership if it was registered in the UK. Again, your partner must fill in a statutory declaration saying they agree to remain in the civil partnership. You will get an interim certificate if your partner does not fill in a statutory declaration and you will need to end the civil partnership in order to obtain a full certificate.

Does it affect my rights as a parent?

The law says that obtaining gender recognition does not affect your status as a mother or father. This means that you can be a mother if legally male and can be a father if legally female.

That may not reflect how an individual identifies their name and relationship with their child, but no legal status or rights in respect of your child are lost as a result of changing your legal gender.

If you are looking for advice regarding Gender Recognition Certificates or need our assistance to prepare a free Statutory Declaration, our team of specialist family lawyers can help. 

Please get in touch for a free 15 minute telephone consultation where we can discuss your options and how we can help. I can be contacted on 01245 453810 or


Watch our webinar, this covers more information on Gender Recognition Certificates