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Individual rights & freedoms

Changing my legal documents

Birth certificate

It is straightforward to change the sex marker and name on your birth certificate, passport, health documents and driver’s licence in New Zealand.  You can apply for some of these changes online. In other cases, you’ll need to fill out the forms in person with an authorised witness, like a Justice of the Peace or lawyer. This is called a “statutory declaration”. The witness will certify your application and verify any supporting documents.

In New Zealand, different organisations and public services use words differently when talking about gender and sex on identifying documents. Throughout this section, we use the word “sex marker” to refer to the identifying initial or words for gender or sex on official documents.

The Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration Act 2021 came into effect on 15 June 2023. This Act makes the process of changing the sex marker on your New Zealand birth certificate much more straightforward.

How do I change the sex marker on my birth certificate?

To change the sex marker on your New Zealand birth certificate, you will need to complete and submit a ‘change of sex’ statutory declaration. You need to sign the statutory declaration in front of an authorised witness, like a Justice of the Peace or lawyer.

You don’t need to provide any medical evidence, and there is no limit on the number of times you can update the sex marker on your birth certificate.

The options are:

  • F
  • M
  • non-binary

A capital i (“I”) was previously used to mean “indeterminate” as a sex marker for intersex people. This wasn’t used much in practice and won’t be an option under the new process.

If you are 18 or over, you can sign the statutory declaration on your own.

If you’re 16 or 17 and have been in a legally recognised relationship, like a marriage or ‘de facto’ relationship, you can apply on your own (see: “De facto relationships” for more information).

If you are 16 or 17 and haven’t been in a legally recognised relationship, you need a letter of support from a legal guardian or a third party. The third party needs to be over 18, and they can be either:

  • someone that knows you well, and who you’ve known for at least 12 months, like a kaumātua, extended family member, or friend, or
  • a registered professional, like a teacher, doctor, or social worker.

If you’re under 16, the application needs to be made by your legal guardian, and include a letter of support from a third party.

It costs $55 to update the sex marker on your birth certificate, and $33 or $35 on top of that to order a new birth certificate, depending on the design you choose.

How do I change the name on my birth certificate?

To legally change your name, complete and submit a “change of name” statutory declaration with Births, Deaths and Marriages. You need to sign this statutory declaration in front of an authorised witness, like a Justice of the Peace or lawyer.

You will also need to provide:

  • a certified copy of one photo ID document, such your passport or driver’s licence (to certify the copy, the authorised witness will compare the copy to the original ID, and stamp or endorse it to confirm it is a true copy), and
  • two other official documents with your name on them (e.g., a bank statement, student ID or electoral roll record). These documents don’t have to be certified.

If you don’t have photo ID, you should get in touch with Births, Deaths and Marriages – you will still be able to apply to change your name, you will just need to follow some additional steps. You can call them on 0800 22 52 52 or email bdm.nz@dia.govt.nz.

When you submit your name change form, you have the option to request a new birth certificate. Even if you don’t select this option, you can request a new birth certificate later.

If you’re 18 or older, you can apply on your own.

If you’re 16 or 17 and have been in a legally recognised relationship, like a marriage or ‘de facto’ relationship, you can apply on your own. Otherwise, your legal guardians will have to sign the documents when you apply.

If you’re under 16, your legal guardians will have to apply on your behalf.

It costs $170 to change the name on your birth certificate, and $33 or $35 on top of that to order a new birth certificate, depending on the design you choose.

Note:   It’s a good idea to update the name and sex on your birth certificate first, and then use this as proof of your name and sex to update other documents, like your passport and driver’s license.


Next Section | Passport

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Gender and sexuality

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Legal information

“Lag Law: Your Rights Inside Prison and on Remand” booklet

This booklet contains practical answers to common questions relating to prisoner rights, including transgender rights in prison. A useful guide for people going to prison, in prison, or getting out of prison and their whānau.

Community Law Wellington and Hutt Valley

Phone: (04) 499 2928

Email: publications@wclc.org.nz

Visit www.communitylaw.org.nz to buy a copy or access free

Rainbow Rights


Rainbow Rights is a website developed by Rainbow Youth and YouthLaw (a Community Law Centre) to provide legal information about rights for LQBTIQ young people.

Legislation NZ


This has all of New Zealand’s current Acts and regulations.

Law Society

To find a lawyer


(04) 472 7837

Gender Minorities Aotearoa


Phone: (04) 385 0611

Mobile: 02040492568

GMA maintains a national database of transgender, takatāpui, and intersex information, resources, and links.




InsideOUT is a national organisation that provides workshops, resources and support to help make schools, community organisations and workplaces inclusive for rainbow people.

Rainbow Youth


(09) 376 4155

RainbowYOUTH provides a number of services for queer and gender-diverse youth and their wider communities all across Aotearoa.



Genderbridge is a peer-to-peer transgender community organisation providing support to transgender and gender-diverse people, their whānau and friends throughout Aotearoa New Zealand.

Naming NZ


Naming NZ is an organisation to help transgender, gender-diverse and intersex youth with updating their identity documents to correctly reflect their sex and gender. Naming NZ can only provide financial assistance to youth in the Wellington region.

Government departments, agencies and courts

Department of Internal Affairs


0800 25 78 87

The Department of Internal Affairs processes applications to legally change your name.

Family Court


0800 268 787 or (04) 918 8800

The Family Court make decisions about applications to change your sex on your birth certificate.

Oranga Tamariki / Ministry for Children

International Surrogacy – Fact sheet


Human Rights Commission


You can contact the Human Rights Commission if you want to know more about discrimination and human rights, or if you want to complain about discrimination:

0800 496 877 or text 0210 236 4253


“To Be Who I Am”, 2007 Report of the Inquiry into Discrimination Experienced by Transgender People is available on the HRC website

Human Rights Commission Intersex Roundtable


NZ Transport Agency


0800 822 422

The NZTA deals with changes to drivers’ licences, including changing your name or gender on your driver’s licence.

Ministry of Health

Guidance for health professionals


Gender affirming surgery


Health and Disability Advocacy Service


The Health and Disability Advocacy Service can provide a free advocate to help you make a complaint about a health or disability service.

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

Guide about Transgender Employees


Department of Corrections

Placement of transgender prisoners

You can read their policy (Movements M.03.05) relating to placement of transgender prisoners on their website, at:


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