Changing gender on a passport

S White made this Freedom of Information request to HM Passport Office

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The request was successful.

Dear HM Passport Office,

I refer to the guidance on your website:

"Gender change
Send one of the following when you apply for a passport:
a Gender Recognition Certificate
a new birth or adoption certificate showing your acquired gender
a letter from your doctor or medical consultant confirming your change of gender is likely to be permanent
If you’re sending a letter from your doctor or medical consultant and you’re changing your name, you’ll also need to supply both of the following:
evidence of your change of name (such as a deed poll)
evidence that you’re using your new name (for example a payslip, or a letter from your local council)"

I understand that a gender recognition certificate or a birth certificate in the acquired gender are proof of change of gender in accordance with the Gender Recognition Act 2004.

However, the Act does not specify that a doctor's letter alone is sufficient to change gender for official purposes. HM Passport Office is acting outside the provisions of the Act in this regard.

When was this policy of going beyond the provisions of the Act adopted?

Who made the decision? If it was taken at a political decision, please supply the name of the individual responsible. If it was taken by officials, please supply the name and Civil Service grades of the individual/individuals responsible. If there is a policy of not naming civil servants, please supply the grades of the individual/individuals.

What consultation was there about this change? Please supply the consultation document and the responses to it.

Was an equality impact assessment undertaken? If so, please supply it.

What discussion was there with the Foreign Office and British embassies and high commissions about the implications for Britain's interests if a man who had been issued with a passport showing him as female used that passport to access spaces reserved for women, particularly in those parts of the world in which the segregation of the sexes is an important social value?

Yours faithfully,

S White

FOI, HM Passport Office

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FOI, HM Passport Office

Dear S White,

Thank you for your email. The issue of a passport in an acquired gender does not give legal recognition of the change of gender. For passport purposes, the question is only whether the person has permanently adopted a new identity. There is therefore no requirement to produce a GRC in order to obtain a new passport in an acquired gender identity. The previous policy of accepting a written statement from a medical consultant or GP that the customer is expected to live permanently in the acquired gender identity will remain in place.'

Full details on applying for a passport; information for transgender and transsexual customers is available at the following link:

Within it the following evidence is confirmed:

one of the following:
a) a Gender Recognition Certificate
b) a letter from your doctor or medical consultant confirming that your change of gender is likely to be permanent, and evidence of your change of name such as a deed poll.
When completing the application form, you should complete section 2 using the details relating to your acquired gender, but you will also need to include previous names used in your birth gender.

I hope this address your enquiry.

Yours sincerely

Her Majesty's Passport Office

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