What is a British citizenship ceremony?
The British citizenship ceremony is the final step in the process towards becoming a British citizen. It is a legal requirement for all applicants who have been successfully granted British citizenship to attend a ceremony.
You will usually receive an invitation letter to your ceremony within 3 months, however, this has been extended up to 6 months due to COVID-19. Your local authority will organise your citizenship ceremony and will provide you with more details including the date, venue and time. If your application for citizenship has been approved and you don’t attend a citizenship ceremony within 12 months then the Home Office may review and cancel your approval.
The standard citizenship group ceremony costs £80, this is included in your citizenship application fee. There will be an additional fee for private ceremonies.
What happens at a citizenship ceremony?
Local councils usually organise group citizenship ceremonies, however, if you don’t want to attend a group citizenship ceremony then you may be able to arrange a private citizenship ceremony.
Group ceremonies are usually quick, generally lasting around 30 minutes, you may also be able to participate in a virtual ceremony if your local council offers them.
During your will be required to take the oath of allegiance and a pledge. The oath and pledge mean that you will promise to respect the rights, freedoms and laws of the UK. You can also make an affirmation instead if you would prefer not to swear by god.
After this, you will be given your certificate of British citizenship and a welcome pack. There may be an official photographer there to take your picture as you receive your certificate. Your citizenship certificate is an important document that you will need when applying for your British passport or to prove you have citizenship.
At the end of the citizenship ceremony, new citizens and guests usually sing the British national anthem.
What happens after a British citizenship ceremony?
After you have attended your British citizenship ceremony you will officially be recognised as a British citizen and will be able to enjoy the rights that UK citizens have, this includes the right to a British passport, the right to vote in elections and stand for office and the right to access public funds.
However, after your ceremony, there is one final task that it is important you carry out. You must return your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) to the Home Office. Your permit needs to be returned within 5 days of attending your citizenship ceremony or receiving your certificate of British citizenship.
To return your biometric residence permit you must cut it up and post it to the Home Office with a note giving your name, date of birth and document number and explaining that you are returning your permit because you have become a citizen.
You should post your destroyed permit to the following address:
POL Returns, PO Box 195, Bristol, BS20 1BT
If you fail to return your permit within 5 days then you could be fined £1000.
What happens if I want to travel after my citizenship ceremony?
It’s important to note that once you have attended your citizenship ceremony you cannot use your BRP to travel, to enter the UK you will instead need a British passport or Right of Abode Certificate.
It can take up to 6 weeks after an application for your British passport to arrive so you should bear this in mind when booking any travel near the date of your ceremony.
If you have already booked to travel soon after your citizenship ceremony then you should either postpone your travel so that you have enough time to get your UK passport or contact your local authority. The local authority may be able to rearrange the date for you to attend the ceremony so that you can travel first. If your citizenship certificate will be posted to you rather than given to you at a ceremony then this will not be an option and you will need to reschedule your travel.
Once you have applied for and received your first UK passport you can travel freely in and out of the UK.
Applying for your first British passport
One of the main benefits, when you become a British citizen, is that you will have the right to a UK passport. The British passport is one of the most powerful passports in the world, with it you can travel to over 180 countries, many of which without the need for a visa.
You can apply for your first UK passport either online or by post. To apply online costs £75.50 and to apply by post costs £85.
To apply you will need to complete the application form and submit it alongside your supporting documents. The documents required for your passport application will vary depending on when and where you were born. Usually, if you are applying for a passport after your ceremony then you will need to submit the following:
- Your full birth certificate or adoption certificate
- Your naturalisation certificate
- The passport you used to come to the UK
You cannot submit copies of your documents, they must be the original documents.
How can London Immigration Lawyers help?
Becoming a British citizen is a complex process and it can be incredibly difficult to do it alone, our lawyers are here to support you throughout your journey to citizenship.
We can assess whether you are eligible for British citizenship and can assist you with every part of your application. This includes helping you to fill in the application form, putting together a strong portfolio of supporting documents and liaising with the Home Office on your behalf.
Our support doesn’t stop after your citizenship ceremony. Our lawyers can also help you to apply for your first British passport.
Passport applications can be difficult, even the smallest mistake can result in your application being refused or delayed. Our lawyers can assist you throughout the application process. We can help you to complete the application form and thoroughly check it before submission. We can also help you to gather all of the documents that you will need.
For more information about our citizenship and passport services, get in touch with our team today on 020 4502 8582.
Comprehensive immigration advice tailored to your circumstances and goals.
Designed to make your visa application as smooth and stress-free as possible.
Fast Track Package
Premium application service that ensures your visa application is submitted to meet your deadline.
Ensure you have the greatest chance of a successful appeal. We will represent you in any case.
The Advice Package
During this untimed Advice Session with our professional immigration lawyers in London, you will receive our comprehensive advice, completely tailored to your needs and your situation.
The Application Package
With our Application Package, your dedicated immigration lawyer will advise you on your application process and eligibility. Your caseworker will then complete and submit your forms to the Home Office on your behalf.
The Fast Track Package
Our Fast-Track Application Package is a premium service for those who need to submit their application in time with their deadlines. Your case will become a top priority for our lawyers and you will benefit from our highest-quality services.
The Appeal Package
By choosing our Appeal Package, you can rely on our lawyers’ legal knowledge and experience to ensure you have the highest chance of a successful appeal. We will also fully represent you in any hearings/tribunals.