21 January 2022
By Tom Collins
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 currently 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. 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. In other words, your preferred gender will start to be legally recognised from the date of recognition, and not before.
Changing your gender at age 16 or 17
If you are aged 16 or 17, you can ask an adult (normally your parent or guardian) to apply for a gender recognition certificate on your behalf. The first thing they will need to do is 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 the following three items:
- The consent of a parent or guardian
- 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.
- 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.
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. John and Yvonne confirm that you can apply for a gender recognition certificate if you are at least 18 and you are registered in one of the following: the Register of Births, the Adopted Children Register, the Register of Intercountry Adoptions or the Foreign Births Register. You can also apply if you were born outside of Ireland but are ordinarily resident here. Evidence of your birth is required.
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 proof that you have used the name for over 2 years or a deed poll for a change of name that has been enrolled in the Central Office of the High Court.
Gender Recognition Certificate
You can contact your local CIS office if you would like a Gender Recognition Certificate application form (GRC1) or you can download it from the CitizensInformation.ie website. The application form is a Statutory Declaration, and so requires the applicant’s signature to be witnessed by a Commissioner for Oaths such as CommissionerForOaths.ie in Cork. Once you get your gender recognition certificate, your gender and new name (if applicable) 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. 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 then you apply to the General Register Office (GRO) to be entered in the register of gender recognition. Your details will already have been sent to the General Registrar. There is no charge.
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.
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. You can contact your local CIC for more information.
Whilst we are still providing our service mainly by phone and email, we also see people by appointment in some offices, which have been kitted out with PPE. We usually arrange appointments in situations where we are unable to help over the phone. Give us a call and we will talk through the query and the appropriate way of responding. Some issues are best dealt with face-to-face and if that is the case we will arrange an appointment for you.
For anyone needing information, advice or who have an advocacy issue, they can call a member of the local Citizens Information team in Cork City at 0818 07 6950 (City Centre) or 0818 07 6850 (City North), they will be happy to assist and make an appointment if necessary. Lines are open Monday to Friday from 10am to 4.30pm. Alternatively, you can email us at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or log on to www.citizensinformation.ie for further information.