Singapore law allows you to legally change your name and sex based on certain conditions. A deed poll is a common way people change their name in Singapore, while changing your legal sex requires that you submit a medical examination report and declaration.
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 National Registration Identity Card (NRIC) within 28 days to reflect the new information.
- Changing Legal Name
- Changing Legal Sex
Changing legal name
Singaporean citizens will need a deed poll from a lawyer to effect a legal name change. Feel free to reach out if you’re looking for a trans-friendly lawyer.
Deed polls can range from $50 to $100 depending on the lawyer involved.
Once you obtain the deed poll, you must apply at ICA within 28 days either online or in person to update your NRIC with your new name and an updated photo. Replacing your NRIC will cost $60. Your passport can be updated at the same time and will cost $70. Visit the ICA website for more details.
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. If you encounter any difficulties, contact us at email@example.com and we’ll see how we can help.
After the name on your NRIC has been changed, the Singapore system will recognise that as your official legal name. You will 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) as soon as possible to avoid potential conflict in future.
We recommend creating a checklist of documents and records that you will need to update after you have changed your name. This can take a while, as each institution has its own update application process.
For banks, you may have to physically go to a branch for them to issue you a new credit, debit or ATM card under your new name. Note as well that if you live with family that any update will apply to physical correspondence, like letters. This will not happen automatically unless you update the bank.
Some insurers may require you to submit your deed poll. Check with your insurance agent for more details on name changes.
You might want to prepare ahead of time by looking up the process for each place and collecting any required forms so that you can fill them in once you receive your new NRIC.
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. Unfortunately, if your home country does not allow you to legally change your name, you will not be able to update your NRIC or other official identity documents in Singapore. You may be able to obtain exceptions at some institutions if you explain the situation to them.
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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 NRIC.
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 has been issued. This policy extends to local universities like NTU, NUS and SMU, and you cannot change your name on your degree once it is 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.
Some polytechnics may allow you to change your name on your polytechnic diploma even after graduation, if you have had a legal name change. Email your school administration to ask about a reprint of your diploma if possible.
If you are enrolled in a secondary school or a junior college, your name will be updated automatically after you collect your IC in the MOE system. You may have to send your deed poll and new NRIC to your teacher-in-charge as there may be other administrative work to be done like updating your name in examination records.
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Driving licenses do not include a gender marker, and are often accepted as proof of identity in place of NRIC.
Once your new NRIC is issued and Singpass details updated, you can request for a new driving licence electronically. This request however does not automatically update the photo on your driving licence (meaning they will still use the photo they have on the system), and you will still have to go in person to change the photo that will be on your driving licence. To do so, bring along your updated NRIC and a hardcopy passport size photograph.
Your international driving license name has to match the name on your Singapore driving license. This is not automatically updated from your NRIC name change. You will need to separately update the Land Transport Authority (LTA), change your Singapore license, and then reapply for your international driving license.
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Changing legal sex
In order to legally change your sex, you will need to get a Medical Examination Report form for change of sex from the ICA. Select Edit on the gender field in the ICA E-Service to update your particulars, and you will be prompted to submit a medical examination report. You can also email us for a digital copy of the form.
The form must then be signed by a Singapore-licensed endocrinologist, gynaecologist, urologist or plastic surgeon confirming that they have examined you and found you to have “completely” changed your genitalia from male to female or vice versa.
You can contact us for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note that there are several other ICA forms named Medical Examination Report for various purposes including HIV testing, PR application, and certifying aged or elderly drivers; make sure you do not have or that you do not obtain the wrong copy.
This form will need to be submitted to the ICA. Similar to a change of name, your IC will need to be replaced, and you will have to update your other documentation (passports, wills, etc) and your records with organisations to reflect your new legal sex.
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If you have not or are unable to change your legal sex, it is still sometimes possible to select a gender-appropriate salutation in forms – 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’ or ‘Ms’. This can help avert awkward or hostile situations when dealing with that service or organisation, and prevent you from being outed.
If you are non-binary, the ‘Other’ option also allows you to leave the salutation blank, or insert ‘Mx’ or any salutation you prefer.
However, this is not advisable when it comes to official government or financial and legal organisations (such as banks). You risk being charged with identity fraud or providing false information if your details do not match what is on your NRIC. You might also run into trouble if you need to prove your identity in situations such as claiming insurance, and give them a reason to deny paying out your claims.
Some airlines, including Singapore Airlines, are very strict about salutations matching your legal sex. If they do not match, you risk being denied boarding or needing to pay for a boarding pass replacement at the airport, which can be costly.
Lastly, if you have the time and inclination to do so, pursuing a doctorate or becoming a pastor will allow you to use ‘Dr’ or ‘Rev’ as a gender-neutral salutation.