In the Netherlands, it is possible to have the gender listed on your birth certificate changed through the Transgender Act. Thanks to that law, anyone aged 16 and above can have the gender ‘male’ changed to ‘female’ in the Basisregistratie Personen (and thus on your official papers such as in your passport), or vice versa. Below are the four steps for those who want to do this.
(Want to change your gender registration not to an M or F, but to an X? Then read on here)
STEP 1: EXPERT STATEMENT
To change your gender registration, you will need an expert declaration ‘Change Gender’ that is no more than 6 months old. The government keeps a record of experts who are allowed to issue such a declaration. If you want to see it on the map, tick the expert statement on the Transgender Roadmap.
The expert to whom you apply for the ‘Change of Gender’ statement is tasked with educating you about the consequences for you of changing your registered gender. If it is clear to the expert that you want this change of gender registration and that you oversee and understand the consequences, you will be given an expert statement. The expert is allowed to schedule more than one interview for this purpose.
There is one exception where you do not need an interview with the expert. This only applies when you request the statement from the doctor or psychologist who gave you a diagnosis of gender dysphoria. This can only be done through the institutions and persons named above. For example, if you have gone through the diagnostics at the gender team of the Amsterdam UMC, you can apply for the statement without an extra interview.
If an expert decides not to give you a statement, you can always request a second opinion from another expert.
There are costs associated with obtaining an expert statement ‘Change of sex’. At the Amsterdam UMC, the following amounts apply:
interview with expert (regardless of the number of interviews): €250,-
written statement by the expert €65.
The costs vary with other experts; please inquire about their rates.
Here is the translation of the sentence into English:
If you cannot afford to pay for the expert certificate yourself, it is possible to apply for Special Assistance from the municipality. (If you are under 18, they will always check whether your parents can pay for you). Always apply for Special Assistance before you pay the amount for the expert statement yourself, otherwise you increase the chance that the municipality will reject your application. If your application is rejected, contact Transgender Network, we will try to mediate in such cases. The municipalities of Nijmegen and Tilburg have so far set a good example and almost always provide special assistance for the expert statement, and since 1 January 2023 the municipality of Nijmegen even reimburses the cost of a change in your gender registration and the cost of applying for your new papers for everyone, regardless of your income. Some other municipalities, like Groningen, Arnhem, Utrecht, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Amersfoort, Deventer en Zwolle are working on similar assistance.
Create a list of organizations and companies where your personal information is registered, so you can change them all once the update is in effect.
STEP 2: APPOINTMENT CIVIL REGISTRY OFFICE BIRTHPLACE (OR IN THE HAGUE)
Have you been born in the Netherlands? After obtaining the expert certificate, make an appointment with the civil registry office in your place of birth (or the municipality it falls under) for the gender change in the birth certificate.
Were you not born in the Netherlands and have you been living legally in the Netherlands for more than 12 months? If so, please contact the civil registry office of the Municipality of The Hague. On this website you will find all the information that applies to you in that case. If you have been living legally in the Netherlands for less than 12 months, you will have to wait until those 12 months of legal residence are a fact.
IN WRITING OR IN PERSON?
Many municipalities (including The Hague, Utrecht and Amsterdam) have information on their websites about making an appointment to change your gender. In some municipalities, the change can be arranged in writing. In other municipalities, you have to visit in person. If you cannot find information on the website of the municipality where your birth certificate is located regarding the process of changing gender registration, then please contact that municipality by phone and inquire about a civil registry official.
To your appointment, you should always bring:
a valid identity document
your ‘Change of sex’ declaration issued by an expert, not older than 6 months
CHANGE OF GIVEN NAMES
You can change your given names, if you wish, simultaneously with your gender registration. In fact, it is free if you have it changed at the same appointment. You do not need to bring any additional documents for this, and you may also register more or fewer given names than you had before.
Changing your gender (and given names) is actually an annotation added to your birth certificate. So your original birth certificate remains, but the authorities have to use your new details from then on. The registrar will give you a printout of the change for your own records.
There is no charge for the appointment at the registry office in the municipality where your birth certificate is, and neither for the printout of the amendment.
STEP 3: APPLYING FOR A NEW ID CARD OR PASSPORT
Subsequently, you must apply for a new ID card or a new passport in the municipality where you reside. If you live in the same municipality where your birth certificate is registered, this can usually be done in one go with the gender change. If you live in a different municipality, it may take one to several weeks for your change to be processed in the Personal Records Database. You can check yourself on MijnOverheid whether the change has been processed. In the meantime, your identity documents are in fact not valid. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do about this. Take this into account when, for example, entering into contracts and booking vacations. For the application of a new identity document, you will be charged the standard fee set by the municipality.
Your foreign birth certificate does not change when you update your information according to the Transgender Act in the Netherlands. This means that your foreign passport cannot be changed here as well. An exception applies to individuals with Spanish nationality. Due to an agreement signed between Spain and the Netherlands, Spain is obligated to respect the Dutch law regarding gender change. If you are Spanish, please contact the Spanish embassy.
Unfortunately, there is currently no standard solution available for other foreign transgender individuals in the Netherlands. Legislation and policies in this area vary greatly; sometimes changing gender in the passport is as easy as in the Netherlands, and sometimes it is nearly impossible. If you were born in another European country and want to know how it is regulated in your home country, you can contact Transgender Europe (in English) for information.
You can apply for a foreigner’s travel document once you have changed your gender registration in the Netherlands. With this document, you can travel abroad. The information in this document matches the data in the Personal Records Database and on your residence permit. However, you cannot use it to travel to the country where your foreign passport was issued. You can apply for this foreigner’s travel document in the municipality where you live.
Not being able to change a foreign passport can cause a lot of problems, such as with identification or entering into contracts. If you have had unpleasant experiences because your Dutch registration has been changed but your foreign passport has not, please report it to Transgender Network via the online discrimination reporting platform.
A NEW DRIVING LICENCE
After a change of gender, you must also apply for a new driving licence. Keep in mind that the Netherlands Vehicle Authority (Rijksdienst voor het Wegverkeer (RDW)) must have updated its records as well. If this update has not been done, you will receive a new driving licence, but it will be initially considered invalid by the RDW. Therefore, have the civil registry of your municipality of residence check if the new data is also processed by the RDW. You can also contact the RDW directly to verify this.
STEP 4: INFORM OTHER AGENCIES
All organizations that have access to the Personal Records Database (Basisregistratie Personen (BRP)) automatically receive notification of a gender change and any modified first names. Based on this information, they will update your records. This applies to:
- Health insurance company
- Pension fund
- Social Insurance Bank
- Tax Authority
- Netherlands Vehicle Authority
- Employee Insurance Agency (UWV)
For agencies and companies that do not have access to the BRP, you will need to update your personal information yourself. This includes:
- Insurance company
- Associations and foundations
- General practitioner
- Payroll administration
Keep in mind that certain companies may request a copy of your new ID card or passport.
Create a list of organizations and companies where your personal information is registered for your own reference.