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Change the registered sex on your birth certificate

To change the registered sex on your birth certificate you will need to apply to the Family Court. The Family Court will make a declaration (legal statement) as to your nominated sex and notify Births, Deaths and Marriages.

Who can apply

If you have assumed and intend to maintain the gender identity of your nominated sex and this is not reflected on your birth certificate, the Family Court can make a declaration based on the evidence in your application.

You can apply if:

  • you’re aged 18 or older, or
  • aged 16 or 17 and in a marriage, civil union, or de facto relationship

and:

  • your birth is registered, or can be registered in New Zealand, or
  • you were born overseas and are a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident.

If you’re a parent or legal guardian

You can apply to the Family Court on behalf of your child for a declaration as to the nominated sex on their birth certificate. The process to apply is the same, but the court will review the application for a child under another section of the legislation

If you're born overseas

Births, Deaths and Marriages can only make changes to New Zealand birth certificates.

If you are a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident who was born overseas, it is possible for you to get a declaration about your nominated sex from the Family Court. However, you would need to seek advice from your country of birth for making changes to your overseas birth certificate.

There are separate processes to change gender on your New Zealand citizenship record and other identity documents.

Choose the gender on your citizenship record

If you're living overseas

If you are a New Zealand-born citizen currently living overseas you will need to contact the Family Court to find out how you can file your application or you may wish to get legal advice from a lawyer in New Zealand.

Who is involved?

The Family Court

You will need to apply at your local Family Court where a judge will review your application and make a declaration (legal statement) of what the nominated sex on the birth certificate should be.

The Family Court is a division of the District Court of New Zealand.

Change sex on your birth certificate

Births, Deaths and Marriages

The Registrar-General of Births, Deaths and Marriages oversees changes to birth registrations and birth certificates under the ‘Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration Act 1995’ (BDMRRA). This role sits within the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA).

How to apply

There can be a bit of time involved in completing the court forms and getting together supporting evidence for your application.

You will need to file your application at the nearest Family Court to where you live.

Forms and documents you will need

All forms and supporting documents should be printed single-sided.

There are 3 family court forms to complete.

  • Information sheet to accompany applications - G7
  • Application form for order (or declaration) on notice - G5
  • General affidavit (sworn statement) which should include your supporting evidence.

You can download these 3 forms from the Ministry of Justice website.

Change sex on your birth certificate

Note: where the form asks you to include a ‘respondent’, you write ‘Registrar-General of Births Deaths and Marriages’. This means when the court receives your application they will notify the Registrar-General, who will only get involved in the unlikely event that there is legal reason that may affect your application.

Supporting evidence

Medical evidence

You need to provide evidence to the court that you’ve undergone some form of medical treatment (not necessarily surgery) as part of your transition to your nominated sex.

Certified copy of your birth certificate

You will need to provide a certified copy of your birth certificate with your application. If you need to order a copy of your birth certificate you can do so online.

Order a birth certificate

Social evidence (optional)

You may choose to provide a supporting letter from a person (or persons) you know well, and are comfortable to ask them to do so, which declares they know you as the name and nominated sex you identify as.

File your application

File your application at the nearest Family Court to where you live.

Find your local court

Then:

  • the court registrar will check that all forms and documentation are completed correctly
  • you may be contacted if anything needs to be clarified on your application
  • a Family Court judge will make directions about how the application is to proceed
  • the court will serve notice to the Registrar-General of Births Deaths and Marriages and any affected person(s) who the judge identifies
  • you may be asked to appear for a short hearing in a confidential closed court
  • the judge will consider making a declaration as to nominated sex on the birth certificate
  • if the judge grants your application, a copy of the court declaration will be sent to you and also Births, Deaths and Marriages.

About the legislation

The Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration Act 1995 (BDMRRA)is the legislation (law) which a Family Court judge will use to guide their decision on your application. A judge will issue a declaration if they are satisfied that your application meets the criteria in the legislation.

If you’re an adult you will make your application under Section 28 of BDMRRA.

If you’re a parent or guardian you will make the application for your child under Section 29 of the BDMRRA.

About ‘nominated sex’

You can nominate either male or female to be the registered sex on your birth certificate. There isn’t a non-binary option.

About ‘indeterminate’

The law allows the sex on a birth certificate to be recorded as “indeterminate”.

Indeterminate can be used on birth records where a medical professional cannot determine a child’s sex to be male or female when they are born.

It is possible to change the sex recorded on your birth certificate to indeterminate if your sex was indeterminate when you were born, but was wrongly registered as male or female.

This may be the case for some people who are intersex. Intersex is a term used to describe people born with a variation of sex characteristics (such as sexual anatomy, reproductive organs, hormonal and/or chromosome patterns).

Intersex conditions are sometimes also known as differences in sex development (DSD).

If you are intersex and want to changes the sex recorded on your birth certificate to Indeterminate, this can be done using a process for correcting errors in birth registration.

Contact Births, Deaths and Marriages to discuss this.

crs@dia.govt.nz

0800 22 52 52

Monday to Friday, 8am to 7pm.

After the declaration

Once a judge has made the declaration that the registered sex on your birth certificate should be changed, Births, Deaths and Marriages will contact you to confirm the details for your new birth certificate.

You must do the following:

Complete the ‘Application to deposit a declaration’

The court will automatically send you and Births, Deaths and Marriages each a copy of the declaration. When Births, Deaths and Marriages receive the court declaration, they will contact you to let you know how to change your birth certificate.

You will need to complete the ‘Application to Deposit a Family Court Declaration as to sex (BDM65)’ form, which also allows you to order a new birth certificate.

Births, Deaths and Marriages can send you a form or you can download it.

The return post address is on the form itself.

Births, Deaths and Marriages will let you know when it has been received.

Application to Deposit a Family Court Declaration as to sex BDM65 (PDF 61 KB)

Application to Deposit a Family Court Declaration as to sex — accessible alternative (PDF 4 KB)

Confirm the name on the new birth certificate

The BDM65 form asks you to confirm the name you want to display on your new birth certificate. You can continue to use your current name or change to a new name.

If you change your name, Births, Deaths and Marriages can provide a letter that you can give to organisations to help them link your new name to an existing record.

Your new birth certificate details

Your previous name and registered sex will not be displayed on the new birth certificate. Access to information about your previous registered sex and name can only be provided under specific circumstances under section 77 of the BDMRRA and approved by the Registrar-General of Births, Deaths and Marriages.

If you change your name again in the future, both your new name and the name you provided in the process of changing registered sex will be displayed on the birth certificate.

The Electoral Commission will automatically be notified of the registered sex change and will update your details. You will personally need to contact other government organisations to update your details with them.

Timeframes

Timeframes to complete the process of changing registered sex on the birth certificate can vary, but at a minimum it can take around one month from filing your application to receiving your new birth certificate.

  • Review date: After you have filed your application, the court will set a review date within six weeks. At this review the court will check that any directions have been complied with and a hearing date before a judge may be allocated.
  • Notice served: The Registrar-General’s office will respond to the court within 1 week of being served notice.
  • Hearing date: A judge will go over your application and can make a declaration on the hearing date.
  • Receiving the declaration: The court will write up the official declaration to send to you and Births, Deaths and Marriages. The time taken for this step may vary but not significantly.
  • Confirming birth certificate details: Births, Deaths and Marriages will contact you and can send the BDM65 form. If you have already downloaded, completed and sent the form back they will notify you when it’s received.
  • New birth certificate: Once the completed BDM65 is received it will be processed within 2 working days and your new birth certificate posted.

Costs

There can be costs:

  • from your medical practitioner to get supporting medical evidence.
  • if you choose to get legal support to compile your application.

You may be eligible for legal aid.

There is no cost to file your application at the Family Court.

The fees for Births, Deaths and Marriages to process the declaration and issue a new birth certificate have been waived.

Who can help

Questions about birth certificate changes

Contact the Births, Deaths and Marriages team about changing registered sex:

crs@dia.govt.nz

0800 22 52 52

Monday to Friday, 8am to 7pm.

Questions about the court process

Contact the Family Court general enquiry line:

0800 224 733

Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5pm.

Or contact your local family court.

Information on gender affirming healthcare and support organisations

Visit the Ministry of Health website:

Transgender New Zealanders

Utility links and page information

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