Guide to Changing Your Name & Gender Markers on Official Documents

Contents
Changing Gender Markers
› Your Birth Certificate: Changing your Gender

  • How do I change my sex on my birth certificate?
  • What medical treatment do I have to go through to change my birth certificate?
  • How do I apply to change my birth certificate?
  • How much will it cost?
  • What’s the legal effect of changing my sex on my birth certificate?
    › Your Passport and Driver’s Licence: Changing your Gender:
  • How do I change my passport or driver’s licence to reflect my gender identity?
    › Your Passport: Changing your Gender:
  • International Travel and Gender X
  • Multiple Changes in Gender Identity
    › Your Health Documents: Changing your gender and name:
  • How do I change my gender and name on my health documents?
    Changing Names & Preferred Names
    › Changing Your Own Name – Officially
  • What you can change your name to
  • Documents You Will Need: Photo ID
  • Documents You Will Need: Proof of your identity in the community:
  • How to apply: Complete the form
  • Costs
    › Changing Your Own Name – Drivers’ Licence
  • How to apply
  • Documents You Will Need
  • What happens next?
    Official Forms – Guides & Form Copies
    › Statutory Declaration Forms
  • What is a Statutory Declaration?
  • Who Can Be a Witness?
  • Swearing, Affirming & Witnessing
    › Official Forms – All copies of relevant forms to fill out are at the back of this document.
    This resource is a combination of different government information sites and the Community
    Law manual. Its purpose is to collate the information in one place not be its own.

Changing Gender Markers

Your Birth Certificate: Changing your Gender:
How do I change my sex on my birth certificate?
Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration Act 1995, ss 27A, 28, 29
You can go to the Family Court to change your sex on your birth certificate if you a number of
criteria:
? You’re a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident
? You’re 18 or older (there’s a different process if you’re under 18)
? You intend to continue to live in your nominated gender (the gender you want the new birth
certificate to state)
? You have met the court’s standard for “irreversible medical changes” to “conform” to your
nominated gender.
Note: A Parliamentary Select Committee recommended changes to this process in 2018, which may
mean the law will change to make things easier in the future.

What medical treatment do I have to go through to change my birth certificate?
You don’t need to undergo all available medical procedures in order to be successful changing your
gender in the Family Court.
You do need to show some type of medical proof, such as a letter from a doctor or endocrinologist
using the term “irreversible”, or documentation of your surgery. The Family Court will consider your
individual situation.
In the past, people who’ve had no surgeries but have been on hormones for a very long time have
been successful when applying to change their birth certificate, as have transgender men who don’t
intend to have any kind of ‘bottom’ surgery (genital reconstruction surgery).
The courts can apply the law to new and different situations over time, so you could still apply
successfully even if no-one in your exact circumstances has been successful before.

How do I apply to change my birth certificate?
You’ll need to:
? Fill in two Family Court forms – Forms G5 and G7
? Provide your own written statement, called an “affidavit”, and
? Provide a medical affidavit from a doctor.

It can also be helpful to provide supporting letters from your family, landlord or employer and other
references.
You can download both forms and a general affidavit form from the Family Court website – go
to www.justice.govt.nz/family/change-sex-on-your-birth-certificate
When you fill in these forms and write your affidavit, make sure you cover and prove every part of
the legal standard. It can be a good idea to have this checked by a lawyer or someone else with
experience in the area.
If you use a lawyer, you’ll have to pay for their services. However, you can get free support and
advice from Community Law.
You should then drop off two copies of your forms, affidavits and supporting documents to the
nearest Family Court. You might also have to appear in court personally, but not usually.
People applying to change their sex are considered “vulnerable” by the Family Court, and this means
that your application isn’t publicly recorded and will only be seen by those involved directly with the
Family Court process. Your application must also be given to anyone who could be affected by the
granting of the application or who the court thinks might be interested in the change.
Once the people who need to know have been informed, a judge will consider your application and
could ask for:
? A short hearing or a judicial conference
? More evidence or reports
? A lawyer to assist the court
After considering your application, the judge may make the declaration that the sex on your birth
certificate should be changed. The court will send a copy of the declaration to Births Deaths and
Marriages. They’ll contact you about how to update your birth certificate so they can issue you
another one.

How much will it cost to change my birth certificate?
Applying through the Family Court is free. However, you may need to pay for medical experts to
write and support your application. Discuss this with your health care provider – for example your
GP, endocrinologist or psychiatrist.
There is a small fee for getting a copy of your birth certificate from the Department of Internal
Affairs.

What’s the legal effect of changing my sex on my birth certificate?
Your birth certificate is a form of legal identification so you can use it to prove who you are. Getting
your sex changed on your birth certificate automatically overrides your previous birth certificates, so
your new birth certificate will make it appear that you were born in your nominated sex and had
your current name from birth.

If you change your sex on your birth certificate other official records (like your driver’s licence) won’t
be automatically updated, so you’ll need to do this yourself.
If you ever go to prison, and prison staff have access to your birth certificate, you must be placed –
at least at first – in a prison that matches the sex on your birth certificate.

Your Passport and Driver’s Licence: Changing your Gender:
How do I change my passport or driver’s licence to reflect my gender identity?
You can change your gender on your passport and in the drivers’ licence database without going
through any medical treatment or going through the courts. All it takes is to make a formal legal
statement called a “statutory declaration”, which you can make in front of any lawyer, Justice of the
Peace (JP) or court registrar.
You can get these statutory declaration forms from the government agencies that deal with these
areas, including online:
? Passports – contact the Department of Internal Affairs: phone 0800 225050 or go
to www.dia.govt.nz
? Drivers Licences – contact the NZ Transport Agency: phone 0800 822 422 or go
to www.nzta.govt.nz

Your Passport: Changing your Gender:
Your New Zealand passport can be issued in your preferred gender without you needing to change
these details on your birth or citizenship record.
To change the gender on your passport, you need to complete a passport application form and pay
for a new passport.
The gender on your passport can be:
? M – Male
? F – Female
? X – Gender Diverse
If you want your passport issued in a gender that is different to your birth record, citizenship record
or previous passport, write your preferred gender of male, female or X in the changing gender
identity section of the passport application form. You must meet all other usual passport
requirements.

International Travel and Gender X:
Although New Zealand travel systems recognise gender X, some international travel authorisation
systems and e-Gates may not. You may still be asked to provide your gender information as either
male or female when travelling.

You may want to check with the embassy or high commission of the countries you want to visit or
transit through to ask about any entry requirements.

Multiple Changes in Gender Identity:
If you have had multiple gender or name changes, and you have previously travelled to a country
under different details, you may encounter delays at border controls. It may also affect your ability
to confirm your identity.
The Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) recommends you carefully consider these implications
before changing your gender details in your passport.
Where there has been more than one change in gender identity, you need to submit your previous
passport with your passport application. Your previous passport will be cancelled and returned to
you. DIA reserves the right to request the return of your passport or travel document at any time.

Your Health Documents: Changing your gender and name:
How do I change my gender and name on my health documents?
The Ministry of Health says you can change your preferred name and gender markers in the National
Health Index (NHI) just by asking. You don’t need to provide any proof. This will update your
preferences on all health documents. To do this call 0800 855 151.

References, Further Links & Information:

? https://communitylaw.org.nz/community-law-manual/chapter-8-gender-and-
sexuality/gender-and-gender-identity/transgender-people/

? https://communitylaw.org.nz/community-law-manual/chapter-8-gender-and-
sexuality/gender-and-gender-identity/changing-gender-markers-and-names/

? https://www.justice.govt.nz/family/change-sex-on-your-birth-certificate/
? https://www.govt.nz/browse/law-crime-and-justice/making-a-statutory-declaration/

Changing Names & Preferred Names

Changing Your Own Name – Officially
You can change your own name in New Zealand if you’re over 18 and a citizen or permanent
resident.
You can apply to change your name if:
? you’re 18 or over, and
? you were born here or are an NZ citizen, or you’re entitled to live here indefinitely (you’re a
permanent resident of NZ or Australia, or you’re Australian)

What You Can Change Your Name to:
You can change all or part of your name; your new name has to consist of one surname and one or
more other names. If you have religious, philosophical or cultural reasons to have only one name,
you need to include a letter of explanation with your application.
Your new name might not be accepted if it’s:
? Offensive
? Longer than 100 characters, including spaces
? An official title or rank, or resembles one (e.g. Justice, King, Prince or Princess, Royal) unless
you can justify why you should be allowed that name
? Spelled with numbers or symbols (e.g. V8).

Documents You Will Need: Photo ID
You need a certified copy of one of:
? Passport
? Driver licence
? Firearms or dealer’s licence
? Defence force or police service photo identity card
? NZ emergency travel document
? NZ certificate of identity (issued under the Passports Act 1992 or the Immigration Act 2009)
? NZ refugee travel document, or
? Kiwi Access card or overseas proof of age card
You’ll need to show your photo ID to the person who witnesses you signing the statutory declaration
on the form. That person may be able to certify your documents at the same time.

Documents You Will Need: Proof of your Identity in the Community:
You need copies of two different documents that show your current name. These could be:
? Utility account bill (e.g. gas,
electricity, mobile phone)
? Bank statement
? Lease or tenancy agreement
? Rates notice
? SuperGold card
? Inland Revenue tax statement
? Electoral roll record
? Motor vehicle registration

? Student or tertiary identity card
? Educational certificate or school
report
? Trade certificate
? Certificate of approval or licence
issued by the Private Security
Personnel Licensing Authority
? Steps to Freedom form
? Confirmation of permit status from
Immigration NZ

If you do not have the documents you need, contact Births, Deaths and Marriages.

How to Apply: Complete the Form:
In the application form, you must declare what you’ve said is true. This is called making a statutory
declaration. An authorised witness must sign your declaration.
Who can be your witness?
? A Justice of the Peace (JP)
? A solicitor or notary public — you may have to pay for their services
? A Registrar or Deputy Registrar of the District Court or the High Court, or
? Authorised staff in some government agencies.

Cost:
It costs $170 to change your name. You can pay by:
? Credit, debit or prepaid gift card (e.g. Prezi card) — add your payment details to the form
? EFTPOS — only available when you visit an office in person
? Money order — only available if you are applying from overseas

Changing Your Own Name – Drivers’ Licence
If you legally change your name, you don’t have to replace your driver licence — but you can if you
want to. You’ll need to provide an original document that shows the change.
If you want to get a driver licence in your new name, you have to apply in person.

How to apply:
There is a specific form that needs to be sign to apply for this change, called Application for
Replacement Driver Licence DL2.

Documents You Will Need:
Collect your documents; you’ll need to show:
? Your current NZ driver licence
? Your expired NZ driver licence, as long as it did not expire more than 2 years ago
? Your current NZ passport, or
? Two other acceptable identity documents — they must be original and one should include a
photo of you.
You’ll also need to take in your original:
? Marriage or civil union certificate (if you’re changing your name because you got married)
? Dissolution of marriage or civil union order or certificate of annulment (if you’re reverting
back to your maiden name)
? Deed poll certificate, change of name certificate, or birth certificate showing both names, or
? Statutory declaration confirming your name change has been registered with Births, Deaths
and Marriages
If you’ve changed your name more than once, you may need to show all of your original certificates
and name change documents.

Applying:
Take your form and documents to any NZTA licensing agent and pay the associated application fee.
It costs $38.20 for a replacement photo driver licence.

What happens next?
You’ll get your replacement licence right away. It will have the same expiry date as your old one —
or you can choose to renew your licence at the same time (usually for another 10 years), but this
costs more.

References, Further Links & Information:

? https://www.govt.nz/browse/passports-citizenship-and-identity/changing-your-
name/changing-your-own-name/#overview

? https://www.govt.nz/browse/passports-citizenship-and-identity/changing-your-
name/changing-your-name-on-your-driver-licence/

Official Forms – Guides & Form Copies

Statutory Declaration Forms:
What is a Statutory Declaration?
A statutory declaration is a written statement signed in front of an authorised person and declared
to be true.
You can download a declaration form as a PDF or text file and type in the details of your declaration.
You need to print the form and sign it in front of a witness. Before you sign the form and fill in the
date and place, you need to find an authorised witness.

Who Can Be a Witness?
Only some people can witness a statutory declaration. These include:
? a Justice of the Peace (JP)
? a solicitor or notary public — you may have to pay for their services
? a Registrar or Deputy Registrar of the District Court or the High Court, or
? authorised staff in some government agencies

Swearing, Affirming & Witnessing:
Before any document is sworn, affirmed or witnessed before an authorised person you should check
that you’ve included all the information you want to present as evidence, and that the information is
true and correct to the best of your knowledge and belief.

References, Further Links & Information:
? https://www.govt.nz/browse/law-crime-and-justice/making-a-statutory-declaration/