Identity and Passport Service on Gender Markers

And the second of my two FoI requests has also come back, this time from the IPS. Highlights – they don’t use the X unspecified gender marker and never have done and have consulted with the Trans community on this. I don’t know when that was, however – they say “recently” but that could be 10 years ago. They also confirmed only one pair of ID cards were ever issued under the transgender provisions. Text is below minus the usual stuff, I’ve also trimmed my questions down to make it more readable (You can see the full list on my earlier post) but the responses are in full. Their reference for this request was FOICR 15540/10.

These questions relate to ICAO Doc 9303, Part I, Volume I.1 Can you confirm:
1. Does the Identity & Passport Service follow Doc 9303 (Or a standard that refers to it, such as ISO/IEC 7501-1:2008) for passports.

I can confirm that UK passports do meet the specifications for passports set out in
Document 9303.

2. Section IV permits use of “X” to mean unspecified as a sex on Machine Readable Passports(MRP) within the Visual Inspection Zone (Page IV-11, field 11) and similarly “<” within the Machine Readable Zone. (Page IV-16, line 2, character position 21). Has the IPS ever issued an MRP with X/< specified as
sex… (Remainder of question 2 and questions 3 and 4 omitted)

ICAO standards do not mandate that the use of “X” as a gender identifier must be made available by passport issuing authorities. Currently, IPS does not use this identifier and has never done so in the past. The passport issuing system is not currently designed to include “X” as a gender identifier. Thus, no passports have been issued with the “X” gender identifier. This policy was recently reviewed and transgender community groups such as Press for Change were involved in consultation on this topic. However, as with all passport policy, we are happy to obtain feedback from members of the public which will be used to input to any future policy reviews.

Identity Cards
1. During discussion on the Identity Documents Bill, Lynne Featherstone, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, implied that only one individual had has two identity cards issued under the provisions of The Identity Cards Act 2006 (Application and Issue of ID Card and Notification of Changes) Regulations 2009, section 7(2)(b). Can you confirm this figure is correct?

I can confirm that under the provisions of The Identity Cards Act 2006 (Application and Issue of ID Card and Notification of Changes) Regulations 2009, section 7(2)(b) only one set of ID cards have been issued under the Transgendered scheme.


  1. Thanks, I’m preparing a letter to the IPS about this issue, and this information is very useful.

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