Becoming a British citizen is a significant milestone that comes with rights, responsibilities, and a sense of belonging to a community. The culmination of this journey is marked by the Citizenship Ceremony, mandated by the Nationality, Immigration, and Asylum Act 2002. This ceremony holds immense importance, serving not only as a legal requirement but also as a symbolic gesture of welcoming individuals into the British community. In this post, we discuss the citizenship ceremony process and what to expect.
The Purpose of Citizenship Ceremonies
The primary objective of these ceremonies is to provide a comprehensive understanding of the privileges and duties that accompany British citizenship. While it’s mandatory for applicants aged 18 and above, those under 18 have the option to participate.
Upon a successful application for British citizenship, the ceremony is the final step to becoming a British citizen. It is a way of formally welcoming people into their community, as well as welcoming them as new British citizens.
Attendance and Timing
Each individual aged 18 or older, upon successfully completing the application process for British citizenship and receiving approval from the Home Office, is required to participate in a citizenship ceremony to attain the status of British citizenship. Attendance at this ceremony must occur within three months from the date of receiving the invitation issued by the Home Office. Those granted citizenship under specific schemes might have the choice to attend or may be exempt from fees.
If you plan to stay abroad for an extended period, you may need to demonstrate your intention to permanently reside in the UK. Additionally, if you’ve applied for citizenship within the UK, your ceremony cannot take place abroad.
Booking and Costs
You cannot book a ceremony until you have received your invitation letter from the Home Office. You will receive your invitation letter upon a successful application. Your local authority will organise your citizenship ceremony.
The cost of the ceremony (£80) is covered in the citizenship application fee, but additional charges may apply for a private ceremony.
Book your citizenship ceremony with your local authority. You must take your invitation when you go to your ceremony. You’re usually allowed to take 2 guests.
Citizenship ceremonies are held either in group sessions or private settings, the latter incurring additional fees. For a group ceremony, one guest is allowed to accompany you, while a private ceremony permits up to three guests to attend alongside you. Some local authorities offer photography or videography services during the ceremony.
During the ceremony, you will be required to take an oath of allegiance (or an affirmation if you choose not to swear by God) and make a pledge. This signifies your commitment to honour the rights, freedoms, and laws of the UK. Upon completion, you will receive your naturalisation certificate and a welcome pack.
Exceptions to Attendance
Certain categories like British overseas territories citizens, British overseas citizens, or British subjects might have different procedures for allegiance without attending a ceremony.
The Ceremony Experience
The ceremony is a formal yet warm affair, emphasizing the significance of embracing British values and laws. New citizens are invited to pledge their allegiance and respect for the country’s principles, culminating in the issuance of their citizenship certificate. Whether in group settings or individualized ceremonies, the aim remains consistent – to celebrate and acknowledge the journey to British citizenship.
How can we help
To discuss your citizenship application with an experienced adviser, contact our professional team on 0208 757 5751 or use our contact form.
Frequently asked questions
You must book your ceremony with your local authority after you have received your Home Office invitation.
Group citizenship ceremonies usually last about 30 minutes.