Published: 15:51, April 3, 2024 | Updated: 20:50, April 3, 2024
Hong Kong relaxes rules on changing gender on ID cards
By Wang Zhan

In this Oct 28, 2023, photo, vehicles pass by the Immigration Tower in Wan Chai, Hong Kong. (SHAMIM ASHRAF / CHINA DAILY)

HONG KONG – The Hong Kong government on Wednesday announced a revision to a policy on the change of sex entry on people’s Hong Kong identity cards. 

The update expands the eligibility criteria to allow individuals who have not completed full sex reassignment surgery, or SRS, to apply for such change on their identity cards provided they satisfy certain revised criteria. 

The government move follows a judgment by the Court of Final Appeal in February last year in favor of two residents who sought to change their sex entry on their identity cards without undergoing the invasive procedure.

The sex entry on a Hong Kong identity card does not represent the holder's sex as a matter of law, said a government spokesman

The special administrative region government said it had completed a review of the policy following the ruling, “having prudently considered the objective of the policy, relevant legal and medical advice, as well as drawing reference from the relevant practices overseas”.

Under the revised policy, a person who has not completed full SRS is able to show evidence, by way of relevant medical proof and supporting documents, of having completed surgical treatment such as the removal of breasts or removal of the penis and testes, may make an application, said a government spokesman.

An applicant must make a statutory declaration to confirm he or she has or had gender dysphoria, has lived in the opposite sex for at least two years ending on the day of submitting the application, and will continue to live in the opposite sex for the rest of his or her life, the spokesman said in a notification.

The applicant must have been undergoing relevant hormonal treatment throughout the period of at least two years continuously before applying for the change, said the spokesman.

An applicant must also confirm that he or she will continue to undergo relevant hormonal treatment and submit blood test reports as requested by the Director of Immigration for random checking of his or her hormonal profile, added the spokesman.

“The Immigration Department will process applications that have been received but have yet to be processed in accordance with the revised policy, and will take the initiative to contact the relevant individual applicants for follow-up,” the notification reads.

The government pointed out that the revision concerns the policy on changes to the sex entry on Hong Kong identity cards only, and that the sex entry on a Hong Kong identity card does not represent the holder's sex as a matter of law.

“It does not affect any other policies of the government or the handling of any other gender-related matters under the law in Hong Kong or relevant legal procedures,” added the government.