Note this information is primarily for Australian citizens or permanent residents. International students would need to consider also any issues that might arise in their home countries. Sometimes if a country discriminates against a person on the grounds of their gender identity, it may give rise to a claim for refugee status. Even where this is not the case, it is important to understand any legal requirements that may apply overseas.
Federal documents (passport, Medicare and Centrelink records)
The Australian Government Guidelines on recognising gender apply to all federal agencies.
Under the guidelines, federal departments and agencies must take all reasonable steps to correct gender information in their records. You do not need to have had surgery and/or hormone therapy for recognition of change of gender on federal government records.
To change your passport, apply to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. To change your Medicare and Centrelink records, apply to Services Australia.
You will need to provide one of the following with your request:
- a statement from a medical practitioner or psychologist specifying your gender
- a state or territory birth certificate specifying your gender or a gender recognition certificate
- an Australian passport specifying your gender
The process to change your birth certificate and drivers licence depends on the relevant state or territory.
To change your birth certificate, apply to the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages for most states and territories or Access Canberra in the ACT. With your completed application form, you need to provide documentation from medical practitioners and identity documents. You can generally lodge an application online, by post or in person.
There is a general requirement that clinical treatment must have occurred in order to change the legal sex on your birth certificate (except in Victoria). Unfortunately, in NSW and Queensland, this means that people are required to undergo gender affirming surgery.
To change the gender on your driver’s licence, in the ACT you can contact Access Canberra in person or over the phone and present proof of identity. In NSW you will need to visit Services NSW and present proof of identity along with another document evidencing your gender. Other states’ and territories’ requirements vary: Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, Tasmania, South Australia, Northern Territory.