Legal recognition of your preferred gender

Introduction

Since September 2015, trans people in Ireland can apply to have their preferred gender legally recognised by the State. This is set out in the Gender Recognition Act 2015.

Anyone over 18 can apply to change their gender. People aged 16 and 17 can also apply, but the process is slightly different and may take longer. If you are under 16, it is not possible to change your gender that is recognised by the State.

When you legally change your gender, you are given a gender recognition certificate. This certificate can also state your new name, if you have chosen to change it. Read about legally changing your name by deed poll.

Once you have a gender recognition certificate, you can then apply for a revised birth certificate.

Legal recognition of your new gender is not retrospective. This means that any rights, responsibilities and consequences of actions by you before the date of recognition remain unaffected. In other words, your preferred gender will start to be legally recognised from the date of recognition, and not before.

Before 2015

In 2007 , the High Court ruled that Ireland was in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights in not having a process to legally recognise the acquired gender of transsexual or transgender people.

As a result, a Gender Recognition Advisory Group was set up. The group advised on the legislation required to allow transgender people have their preferred gender legally recognised.

Changing your gender at age 16 or 17

The process for changing your gender depends on your age.

If you are aged 16 or 17, you can ask an adult (normally your parent or guardian - also referred to as next friend of the child) to apply for a gender recognition certificate on your behalf.

First, they will need to apply to the Circuit Family Court to exempt you from the over-18 age restriction. The Court can grant the exemption if you have:

  1. The consent of a parent or guardian
  2. A form from your medical practitioner certifying that, in their professional medical opinion, you have the maturity and understanding to make this decision for yourself. They must also certify that you have transitioned (or are currently transitioning) into your preferred gender.
  3. A form from a psychiatrist or endocrinologist certifying that they agree with the medical practitioner.

If the court grants the exemption, you or the adult can apply for a gender recognition certificate on your behalf. See Applying for a gender recognition certificate below for details.

Note: In November 2019, the Department of Social Protection published a report proposing a simplified path to legal gender recognition for people aged 16 to 17. The report was published after a review of the Gender Recognition Act 2015 (pdf). Its recommendations have not yet been passed into law.

Applying for a gender recognition certificate

If you want your preferred gender to be legally recognised by the State, you must apply for a gender recognition certificate. Download the application form, GRC 1 (pdf).

Who can apply?

You can apply for a gender recognition certificate if you are at least 18 and you are registered in the:

  • Register of Births
  • Adopted Children Register
  • Register of Intercountry Adoptions
  • Foreign Births Register or a foreign births entry book

You can also apply if you were born outside of Ireland but are ordinarily resident here. Evidence of your birth is required.

Foreign gender recognition

If you have already changed gender in another country, you can apply for a gender recognition certificate in Ireland. You must provide a copy of the relevant decision, order or certificate when submitting your application.

If you have changed your name

If you want your gender recognition certificate to be issued in your new name (a different name to that on your birth certificate), you must provide either:

The application form and other supporting documents

Download the Gender Recognition Certificate application form (GRC 1) (pdf).

The application form includes a Statutory Declaration, which must be witnessed by either a:

Include the following documents with your application, where applicable:

  • Birth certificate
  • Adoption certificate
  • Proof of residency in Ireland, if you were not born in Ireland

Sending your application

There is no charge for a gender recognition certificate.

Send your completed application form (pdf) and supporting documents to:

Client Identity Services

Department of Social Protection,

Shannon Lodge,

Carrick-on-Shannon,

Co Leitrim

Find further information on applying for a gender recognition certificate on Gov.ie.

Once you get your gender recognition certificate, your gender (and your name, if you have chosen to change it) will be updated on the Department of Social Protection’s database. This means that all records associated with your Personal Public Service (PPS) Number will be updated with your new information.

Getting a revised birth certificate

When you get your gender recognition certificate, you can then apply for a revised birth certificate if you are registered in either:

  • The Register of Births
  • The Adopted Children Register
  • The Register of Intercountry adoptions
  • The Foreign Births Register

How to apply for a revised birth certificate

How you apply for a revised birth certificate depends on where your birth is already registered.

If you are registered in the Register of Births or the Adopted Children Register:

If you are registered in the Register of Intercountry Adoptions:

  • You apply in writing to the Adoption Authority of Ireland to be entered in the Register of Gender Recognition of Intercountry Adoptions. Your details will already have been sent to the Adoption Authority. Download the application form (pdf).

If you are registered in the Foreign Births Register or a foreign births entry book:

Getting a copy of your revised birth certificate

You can apply for a certified copy of your entry in the register from the relevant authority once the relevant authority has registered you in either:

  • The Register of Gender Recognition
  • The Register of Gender Recognition of Intercountry Adoptions
  • The Register of Gender Recognition of Foreign Births

A certified copy of an entry costs €20.

The following people can apply for a copy of your entry in the register:

  • You
  • Your surviving spouse or civil partner if you have died
  • Your child if there is no surviving spouse or civil partner
  • Your parent if there is no surviving spouse, civil partner or child
  • Your brother or sister if there is no surviving spouse, civil partner, child or parent

Reversal of gender recognition certificate

Where you hold a gender recognition certificate and you want to revert to your original gender, Section 15 of the Gender Recognition Act 2015 allows you to apply to revoke your certificate in a similar process as your initial application for legal recognition of your preferred gender. There is a similar but more detailed revocation process for those between 16 and 18.

Under Section 14 of the Act, a gender recognition certificate can also be revoked where information is received that would have led to the refusal of the certificate, had it been received prior to it being issued.

Other supports available

TENI

Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI) aims to improve conditions and advance the rights and equality of trans people and their families. Its website includes a wide range of supports and resources available to trans people throughout Ireland.

BeLonG To

BeLonG To is a national organisation for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) young people, aged between 14 and 23 in Ireland. It also offers advice to parents and carers.

Find information on its services and other supports at belongto.org.

LGBT Ireland

LGBT Ireland provides support and training across Ireland. In addition to running peer groups and local helplines, its website offers a range of information for all age groups.

You can call their Gender Identity Family Support Line on 01 907 3707.

Alternatively, you can also call their LGBT helpline on 1890 929 539.

GenderEd.ie

GenderEd.ie is an online education programme aimed at supporting adult family members of young transgender people in Ireland. It includes advice on gender identity basics, school and social settings, legal issues, health and wellbeing, as well as looking ahead to the future.

Contact information

Client Identity Services

Department of Social Protection

Shannon Lodge
Carrick-on-Shannon
Co. Leitrim
N41 KD81

Tel: (071) 967 2616 (If calling from outside Ireland please call +353 71 967 2616)
Locall: 1890 927 999 (Note: the rates charged for using 1890 (Lo-call) numbers may vary)

General Register Office

Government Offices
Convent Road
Roscommon
Ireland

Tel: +353 90 663 2900
Locall: 1890 25 20 76
Fax: +353 90 663 2999

Adoption Authority of Ireland

Shelbourne House
Shelbourne Road
Ballsbridge
Dublin 4
Ireland

Tel: (01) 230 9300

Department of Foreign Affairs

80 St. Stephens Green
Dublin 2
Ireland

Tel: +353 (01) 408 2000

Transgender Equality Network Ireland

10 Ellis Quay
Dublin 7
D07 DDN0
Ireland

Tel: (01) 873 3575

BeLonG To

Parliament House
13 Parliament Street
Dublin 2
D02 P658
Ireland

Tel: 01 670 6223
Page edited: 9 February 2021