It is always great news when an application to naturalise as a British citizen is successful. But that is not quite the end of the process – you must attend a British citizenship ceremony to complete the process.
In order to naturalise as a British citizen, you must demonstrate that you meet the following requirements,
- you are over 18 years old;
- you are of good character and sound mind;
- you have sufficient knowledge of the English language and have passed a Life in the UK test;
- you have not broken any immigration laws whilst in the UK;
- you intend to make the UK your principal home;
- you have spent less than 90 days outside of the UK in the last 12 months;
- you have spent less than 450 days outside of the UK in the last five years (or 270 days in the last three years if you are married to a British citizen); and
- you have been free from immigration controls for at least 12 months (unless married to a British citizen, when you can apply as soon as you are free from immigration controls).
If the application is successful, you will be invited to attend a citizenship ceremony. The ceremony, which was introduced through the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002, is a compulsory part of the application and if you wish to acquire British citizenship, it must be attended.
Arranging your ceremony
In your application to naturalise as a British citizen, you will be asked whether you wish to attend a ceremony with your local authority, or in an alternate location. You should provide a valid reason if you do wish your ceremony to take place in an area other than where you reside.
When you pay the application fee at the point of submitting your naturalisation application, the fee will include an £80 charge for the cost of your ceremony.
Once your application has been approved, the Home Office will write to you and request that you book a ceremony with the stated local authority within three months.
If you are not in the UK at the time you receive your invitation you may be able to arrange for your ceremony to be conducted by the embassy or consulate in the country where you are. Alternatively, you may need to postpone the ceremony for a short time until you return to the UK. In any event, the booking itself should be made within three months of receiving your invitation.
It is important to note that one of the requirements of the naturalisation application is that you intend to live permanently in the UK. Therefore, if it becomes evident that you cannot attend a ceremony in the UK within three months due to living in a different country, you may be asked to prove that it remains your intention is to live permanently in the UK. If the caseworker is not satisfied, the decision to approve your application may be overturned.
If you do not attend a ceremony within the agreed timeframe without good reason, your naturalisation application will be refused.
You may attend the ceremony with up to two guests.
As standard, you will attend a group ceremony along with other applicants. If you would prefer to attend a private ceremony, this may be arranged with your local authority depending on their availability. You will be required to pay an additional fee on top of the £80 already paid for such a ceremony.
You must take the original letter of invitation to a ceremony, sent to you by the Home Office, along with original photo ID, such as your passport, along with you.
At the ceremony you will make an oath or affirmation of allegiance and a pledge to respect the rights, freedoms and laws of the UK. Following this, you will receive a certificate of British citizenship.
How we can help
We are experienced in assisting individuals in applying to naturalise as British citizens. If you are interested in making an application and would like to speak with one of our immigration specialists, please contact us.