How to change your gender status on formal documents

3 February 2021

A resource for trans and gender diverse young people and their families in Victoria

This fact sheet answers some common questions trans and gender diverse young people, and their families, have about self-identification on formal documents.

Choices around self-identification should be respected. By reading this resource you will get a better understanding of the options in Victoria.

It includes:

  • changing your birth certificate
  • changing your passport, Centrelink and Medicare records
  • changing your driver’s licence

  Not in Victoria?

This resource is also available for:

VIC | NSW | QLD | SA | ACT | NT | TAS | WA

Can you change your gender status on formal documents?

In most formal documents, yes. However different documents have different requirements and different gender identity options.

Unfortunately some trans and gender diverse people may have limited ability to change their gender status on some formal documents.

What steps are involved with making a change?

The steps for applying to change your gender status on formal documents differs depending on whether the document you would like to change is issued by:

1. a state or territory government organisation

OR

2. a federal government organisation

See how you can change key documents below.

How to change the gender on your birth certificate

Birth certificates are issued and regulated at a state and territory level. This means that the approach to changing your birth certificate to match your gender identity will be different depending on which state or territory your certificate was issued in. In Victoria, this is managed by Births Deaths and Marriages Victoria.

The requirements for changing the ‘record of sex’ on your birth certificate differ depending on whether you are over or under the age of 18 years. 

 There is no longer any requirement for a person to have had gender affirming surgery in order to change their record of sex in Victoria. 

 If you are under the age of 18 

 In Victoria, your parents can apply to change the record of sex on your birth certificate on your behalf if you are under the age of 18.  In most cases, both of your parents must apply (meaning they must both agree with the proposed change) – even if your parents are separated. 

 In some cases, one parent can apply by themselves, such as if: 

  • they are the sole parent as named on your birth certificate; 
  • the other parent has passed away; or 
  • a Court has approved the change to your record of sex to the sex descriptor nominated in the application. 

 As part of the application, your parent and/or parents will need to provide a statutory declaration stating that: 

  • your birth is registered in Victoria; 
  • they believe the change is in your best interests; 
  • you consent to the change; and 
  • your record of sex has not been changed in the last 12 months.  

 The application will also need to include a supporting statement from:  

  • an adult that has known you for at least 12 months (and is not your parent or guardian)or 
  • a doctor or psychologist. 

 The supporting statement must state that, in the opinion of the person providing the statement: 

  • changing your record of sex is in your best interests; and 
  • if you are under the age of 16: that you have the capacity to consent to the change of your record of sex. 

 If you are over the age of 18 

 If you are over the age of 18, you can apply to change your record of sex if: 

  • your birth is registered in Victoria; and 
  • you have not changed your record of sex in the last 12 months. 

 As part of the application, you will need to provide a statutory declaration stating that: 

  • your birth is registered in Victoria; 
  • you believe that your sex is the one nominated in your application; and  
  • you have not changed your record of sex in the last 12 months. 

 The application will also need to include a supporting statement from an adult that has known you for at least 12 months.    

 The supporting statement must state that, in the opinion of the person providing the statement: 

  • you are applying to change your record of sex in good faith; and 
  • they support your application. 

How can you apply?

You can apply by post or in person by:

  • Filling out the required form, currently on the Registry website as ‘Application form – Change record of sex’. Make sure that you are using the correct form, as there are different forms for adults and children.
  • Attaching the relevant documentation, including statutory declarations and identity documents. 
  • Paying the required fees. It currently costs $110.00 but fees may change. If you submit a change of record of sex application together with a change of name application, you will be eligible for a waiver of the change of name application fee. 

See ‘Where to Get Help and Information’ for more details.

How to change your gender on federal government documents, such as your passport, and Medicare or Centrelink records

You can change your gender on federal formal documents or records by applying to the agency that looks after the document or record that you want to change.

There are Australian Government Guidelines on recognising gender (see the link further below under ‘Where to Get Help and Information’). This means that:

  • Federal departments and agencies must take all reasonable steps to correct the gender information in their records to make sure it is accurate, up-to-date, and not misleading

AND

  • You can apply to federal agencies, such as the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Services Australia, directly to change your gender on your personal record, or as shown on your passport

Do you need to provide supporting documentation?

Under the Australian Government Guidelines, you need to provide one of the following with your request for a change of your recorded gender:

  • A statement from a registered medical practitioner or registered psychologist which specifies your gender
  • A state or territory gender recognition certificate or recognised details certificate showing a change in sex
  • A valid Australian government travel document, such as a valid passport, which specifies your gender
  • A state or territory birth certificate which specifies your gender, or a document from an Australian Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages recognising a change of gender.

You do not need to have had surgery and/or hormone therapy for the recognition of a change of gender in federal government records. This means that even though you may not have any related medical procedures, you can still apply to correct the gender information recorded on your personal record. See the Australian Government Guidelines.

 

Document Department What you need to do
Your Medicare card Services Australia Attend a Medicare Service Centre in person and provide one of the above documents outlined in the Australian Government Guidelines
Your Centrelink file Services Australia Attend a Centrelink Service Centre in person and provide one of the above documents outlined in the Australian Government Guidelines
Your passport Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade For both a new passport and/or to change your gender on an existing passport, you need to start the application process online and then print it for lodgement.

For this application, you must also provide one of the documents outlined in the Australian Government Guidelines.

If you are in the process of transitioning, you can provide a statement from a registered medical practitioner or psychologist that you have had or are receiving appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition. This should be provided on DFAT’s ‘Declaration: sex/gender of passport applicant form’.

 

Will every application and outcome be the same?

No. The different departments may have different application forms and therefore varied outcomes around changing your gender identification.

What’s an example?

Services Australia can update your gender as male or female for their personal records system, If you identify as non-binary, they can only add a note on your personal record about this. You can also tell them you prefer not to use a courtesy title such as Miss, Mr or Ms.

Whereas…

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade provides for the recognition of your gender as M (male), F (female), or X (indeterminate/intersex/unspecified) on your passport. However, the Department notes that those travelling with a passport showing ‘X’ may encounter difficulties when crossing borders due to its infrequent use. In more conservative countries or areas you may become the focus of unwanted attention.

How to change the gender on your driver’s licence

The steps involved with changing your driver’s licence will vary depending on the state or territory that you live in.

What you need to do in Victoria

In Vic, you will need to visit a Vic Roads customer service centre and provide one of the following documents:

  • A gender recognition certificate.
  • A revised birth certificate.
  • An ‘alteration of sex in birth or recognised details’ certificate or equivalent. 
  • A passport with your preferred gender (your passport must not be expired by more than two years).
  • A letter from a medical practitioner or psychologist certifying you are or have been their patient and are or have been receiving appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition (the treatment does not have to be specified).
  • A letter from a medical practitioner or psychologist certifying you are or have been their patient and are of indeterminate, intersex or unspecified sex and live in the male, female, indeterminate, intersex or unspecified gender.

You are also able to request to change your title to:

  • Mr
  • Ms
  • Mrs
  • Mx (gender neutral and may be used by any person)

Where to get help and more information

This resource was published 03/02/2021. This is legal information only and does not constitute legal advice. You should always contact a lawyer for advice specific to your situation.

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