Principal Family Court Judge, Jacquelyn Moran, has released a Protocol [PDF, 191 KB] to simplify the process for people seeking to change the gender or sex listed on their birth certificate.

If you have changed gender, or the sex on your birth certificate is wrong, you can apply to the Family Court for a declaration that the sex on your birth certificate should be changed. Parents and legal guardians can also apply to the Family Court for a declaration on behalf of their child.

It’s free to apply to change the sex recorded on your birth certificate. You can nominate either male or female to be the sex on your birth certificate. There is no non-binary option.

Who can apply

You can apply if:

  • You’re aged 18 years or older, or;
  • You’re aged 16-17 and are, or have been 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 but you are a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident.

If you are a parent or legal guardian, you can apply on behalf of your child, if:

  • Your child is under 18 years of age and they have never been in a marriage, civil union, or de facto relationship;

And:

  • Your child’s birth is registered, or can be registered, in New Zealand, or;
  • Your child was born overseas but they are a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident.

How to apply

You can choose to apply yourself, or you may want to get a lawyer to help you complete your application. If you can’t afford a lawyer, you may be able to get legal aid.

Your application should begin with a cover letter. In this cover letter you can let us know how you would prefer the Judge to consider you application, either in person, remotely, or “on the papers”.

There are also three forms you will need to complete as part of your application. These forms are:

Application form for order [PDF, 47 KB]

Information sheet to accompany applications - G7 [PDF, 44 KB]

General affidavit [PDF, 38 KB]

As part of your general affidavit, you will need to attach a certified copy of your original birth certificate, and a medical report that shows you have undergone some form of medical treatment (not necessarily surgery) as part of your transition to your identified sex/gender.

When you have completed your general affidavit, you will need to swear or affirm before an ‘authorised person’ that all the information you’ve provided in your general affidavit is true and correct to the best of your knowledge and belief. An authorised person can be a Justice of the Peace, a lawyer, or a Registrar or Deputy Registrar of the District or High Court.

Once you have completed your application, you must file your application at a Family Court. This can be done by post, or in person at a District Court or Family Court.

After you apply

Once the Family Court receives your completed application, they will notify the Registrar-General of Birth, Deaths and Marriages, and any identified interested or affected persons, to let them know about your application.

An assigned Family Court Judge in Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch will look at your application and decide how it should proceed. The Judge may ask for:

  • a short hearing or a judicial conference
  • more evidence or information
  • a lawyer to assist the court.

Alternatively, the Judge may be able to progress your application based only on the information you have included in your application, without you having to attend any hearing.

If the Judge is satisfied that your application meets the criteria set out in the Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration Act 1995, they will make a declaration (court order) on what the sex/gender on your birth certificate should be.

The Family Court will send a copy of the Judge’s declaration to you, and to the Registrar-General of Births, Deaths and Marriages.

Once the Registrar-General of Births, Deaths and Marriages receives a copy of the Judge’s declaration they will send you an Application to Deposit a Family Court Declaration as to Sex [PDF, 61 KB] form by post. You can use this form to order a new birth certificate with your identified sex and confirm the name you would like to appear on your new birth certificate.

More detailed information on how to apply to change the sex or gender on a birth certificate can be found in the Applying to change the sex/gender on a birth certificate factsheet [PDF, 172 KB].

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