Singapore law allows you to legally change your name and sex based on certain conditions. At present, you will not be able to change your birth certificate.
Following a legal name or gender change, you will need to replace your IC within 28 days to reflect the new information.
Changing Legal Name
For Singaporean citizens to get a legal name change, you’ll first need a deed poll for name change from a lawyer. Contact us if you’re looking for a trans-friendly lawyer.
Once you obtain the deed poll, you must apply at ICA within 28 days either online or in person to change your IC to reflect your new name. Replacing your IC will cost $60. Visit the ICA website for more details. Your passport can be updated at the same time as your IC.
ICA has been known to reject name changes involving very masculine or feminine names for trans people of the opposite legal sex. However, going there in person (rather than applying online) will allow you to appeal your case if that happens.
From the National Registration Act of the Singapore Statutes:
The Commissioner may refuse to enter or alter the name of a person in the register if the name (including the altered name) —
- contains anything that represents or resembles a title, a rank or an award;
- where the name adopts a patronymic or matronymic naming system to signify lineage, includes any expression or abbreviation (for the purpose of that naming system) that does not correspond to the person’s gender entered or to be entered in the register;
- is obscene or offensive; or
- is contrary to the public interest.
This means that if you have not legally changed your gender, you will not be able to change ‘bin’ to ‘binte’ or ‘s/o’ to ‘d/o’, and vice versa. However, you can choose to drop those terms from your legal name.
After the name on your IC has been changed, the Singapore system will recognise that as your official legal name. You’ll have to update your other legal documents (such as your passport, driving license, will, etc) and records with organisations (banks, insurance, credit cards, school, phone, etc) to avoid potential conflict in future.
If you are a PR or a foreigner, you will need to check the requirements for a legal name change in your country of citizenship.
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School Transcripts and Certificates
If you are currently enrolled in a university or polytechnic, they will allow you to change your name if you present them with a deed poll and your updated IC. This may be harder if you have already graduated, depending on the institution.
We are not yet aware of anyone who has transitioned in other educational institutions here.
According to the Ministry of Education, the candidate’s name on an examination certificate (such as for the O and A levels) cannot be altered once it have been issued. However, you can present your deed poll and request for a letter that will indicate that the certificate holder now goes by a different name. This serves as verification that the certificate belongs to you.
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Driving licenses do not include a gender marker, and are often accepted as proof of identity in place of IC. You’ll need to go in person to the traffic police to change the name on your driving license. Bring along your updated IC.
Your international driving license name has to match your Singapore driving license name. This is not automatically updated from your I/C name change and you need to update LTA, change your Singapore license, then reapply for your international driving license.
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Changing Legal Sex
In order to legally change your sex, pursuant to an amendment to the Women’s Charter in 1997, you are required to obtain a letter from a surgeon or psychiatrist stating that an irreversible sex reassignment procedure has been performed. Some surgeons will provide you such a letter directly. Others will only write a letter confirming that a particular surgery was performed, and you will then need to bring that letter to a psychiatrist to get them to write a separate letter confirming that you have undergone surgery as part of sex-reassignment.
This letter will need to be presented to ICA and (similar to a change of name) your IC will need to be replaced. You will also have to update your other documentation (passports, wills, etc) and your records with organisations.
If you have not changed your legal sex, it may nonetheless be possible sometimes to select a gender-appropriate salutation despite your legal sex – for instance choosing both ‘Mr’ and ‘female’. Where this is not allowed by the system, you may sometimes be able to select the ‘Other’ salutation option and then type ‘Mr’. This can help avert awkward or hostile situations when dealing with that service or organisation, and prevent you from being outed at every interaction.
However, this is not advisable when it comes to official government or legal organisations, as you might be at risk of being charged with identity fraud. You might also run into trouble if you need to prove your identity in situations such as claiming insurance.
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