National Records of Scotland

Preserving the past, Recording the present, Informing the future

Gender Recognition

Gender Recognition

The attached Registration Privacy Notice (150KB PDF) tells you what happens to personal information when a life event is registered.

This note explains briefly how the Gender Recognition Act 2004 operates in Scotland in relation to the registration of births.  The Act came into force in April 2005.

It also provides information on your options on the registration of your marriage or civil partnership following the issue of the full Gender Recognition Certificate.  These options came into force on 24 March 2016.


Under the laws of the United Kingdom, individuals are considered to be of the gender (either male or female) that was registered at their birth.  The Gender Recognition Act 2004 (which applies throughout the UK) enables transgender people to apply to the Gender Recognition Panel to receive a Gender Recognition Certificate.  Applicants who are granted a full Gender Recognition Certificate, from the date of issue, are considered in the eyes of the law to be of their acquired gender.

Having a certificate means you can:

  • update your birth or adoption certificate, if it was registered in the UK
  • get married or form a civil partnership in your affirmed gender
  • update your marriage or civil partnership certificate, if it was registered in the UK
  • have your affirmed gender on your death certificate when you die

It will not change your legal status as the father or mother of a child.

Birth Certificate

A person who is granted a Gender Recognition Certificate and whose birth was registered in the UK is also able to obtain a new birth certificate showing his or her recognised legal gender.

A birth certificate is an extract from the entry in the birth register made when a person’s birth is registered.  It contains the facts of a person’s birth, including name and gender.

The Gender Recognition Panel notifies the Registrar General for Scotland of the issue of a Gender Recognition Certificate to a person whose birth (or adoption) was registered in Scotland.  The Registrar General for Scotland keeps a Gender Recognition Register in which the birth of a transgender person whose acquired gender has been legally recognised will be registered showing any new name(s) and the acquired gender.

This enables the transgender person to apply to the Registrar General for Scotland for a new birth certificate showing the new name(s) and the acquired gender.  The format of the new birth certificate would match that of the original birth certificate, other than it would show the new name(s) and the acquired gender.

In the case of an adopted person, a new extract from the Adopted Children Register would be issued if appropriate.

Both full and abbreviated birth certificates are available. Abbreviated certificates are extracts of the information contained in the register and show only the name, sex, date of birth and place of birth.  One abbreviated certificate is issued free of charge to each holder of a Gender Recognition Certificate.

What happens?

The Registrar General for Scotland sends the holder of a Gender Recognition Certificate a draft of the information to be recorded in the Gender Recognition Register in the form of a draft birth certificate.  This helps to clarify what the birth certificate would look like and to resolve any questions before the registration goes ahead.  On confirmation that the draft contains the correct information, the Registrar General creates a new record in the Gender Recognition Register.  Current contact details such as address would not be recorded in the register.

The Registrar General for Scotland maintains a confidential link between the original birth record and the record in the Gender Recognition Register. The Gender Recognition Register is not open to public scrutiny.

Registration of Marriage or Civil Partnership

You may find it useful to download the following documents:


If you would wish to apply to the Gender Recognition Panel the contact details are:

Gender Recognition Panel
PO Box 9300

Telephone: +44(0) 300 1234 503
Email: [email protected]
Website: Apply for a gender recognition certificate (GOV.UK)

If you would like more information on how the birth registration process works in Scotland, or about the registration of marriages or civil partnerships in Scotland following Gender Recognition, then please use our contact details below.

Write to:

National Records of Scotland
General Registration Unit
Room 39
New Register House
3 West Register Street

Email: [email protected]

Telephone: 0131 314 4452

Last updated April 2023