The citizenship ceremony is the final stage in the process of becoming a British Citizen. If your application for citizenship is approved by the Home Office you will need to attend a citizenship ceremony.
All successful applicants for naturalisation or registration as a British Citizen, aged 18 or over, are now required to take an oath to Her Majesty the Queen, along with a formal pledge of loyalty to the United Kingdom.
Each applicant pays a fee to the Home Office for a ceremony, which must take place within three months of the applicant receiving confirmation that their application has been successful.
The following information is an overview of the steps you will need to gain British citizenship. Please remember that it is the Home Office and not Hillingdon Council who will deal with your application and make the decision on whether or not to grant British Citizenship to you.
For detailed information about applying for Citizenship please visit the Home Office website or telephone the Home Office Information line on 020 7035 4848.
A guide to applying for British Citizenship
The Home Office has produced a book 'Life in the United Kingdom: A Journey to Citizenship' which has lots of useful information about becoming a British Citizen. It is available from book shops or you may be able to borrow it from the Hillingdon Library Service .
Stage 1: Life in the UK test
Before you can apply to become a British Citizen, you will need to show that you know about life in the UK. You must do this in two ways:
- by taking the Life in the UK Test, and
- by having a speaking and listening qualification in English at B1 CEFR or higher, or an equivalent level qualification.
For more information about the test and the classes, visit Life in the UK
Enquiries about your application progress or the decision should be made to the Home Office
There may be exceptional cases where the Home Office agrees to waive the Life in the UK test or requirement to attend language classes. For further information please contact the Home Office on 020 7035 4848.
After the successful completion of the test and course, you will receive a certificate, which will enable you to proceed on to the next stage of your application.
Stage 2: Applying for British Citizenship
- Obtain an application form from the Home Office website or telephone the Home Office Helpline on 020 7035 4848.
- Complete the form and send it together with the correct fee and any other related documents that the Home Office may require, to:
IND Integrated Casework Directorate (Nationality)
Casework Support Unit
PO Box 12
Liverpool L69 2UX
A list of current fees is available from the Home Office.
- The application process can take up to six months to complete. However, the more accurately you complete the form the sooner the Home Office is likely to approve your application.
For more details on current waiting times, please see the Home Office website.
- If you need help completing the application forms we can help by offering you a
Nationality Checking Service (NCS)
For an additional fee (£60 Adult, £30 Child) we will make sure that you have completed the forms correctly and check that you have provided the correct documentation. We will also photocopy your passport and birth certificate so that you do not have to send the original documents through the post.
When your application for citizenship has been approved, you will receive an invitation letter from the Home Office to attend a Citizenship Ceremony.
Stage 3: Your Citizenship ceremony
- If you live in the London Borough of Hillingdon you will be asked to contact the Register Office within two weeks of receiving this letter.
Please call the Register Office on 01895 250418 where you will be booked on the next available ceremony.
- The Home Office will normally expect you to have your ceremony within 11 weeks from the date of receiving your notification.
If you do not think you will be able to attend a ceremony within this period, you may apply to the Home Office for an extension.
- Ceremonies are held in the Council Chamber at the Civic Centre with approximately 60 citizens per session.
Each citizen will be required to repeat the words of the Oath or Affirmation of Allegiance to Her Majesty the Queen, and the Pledge of Loyalty to the United Kingdom. The oath and pledge are led by the Superintendent Registrar and must be spoken by all new citizens.
The Mayor, or the Mayor's representative, will then present you with your citizenship certificate and a gift. As part of the proceedings the Mayor also makes a speech of civic welcome to Hillingdon to all the new citizens.
The Union flag and National Anthem enhance the dignity and celebration for new citizens and their guests alike.
Photographs are taken with the Mayor to round off a special, meaningful and enjoyable occasion.
- You can have your ceremony in any area of your choice. If you would like to have a ceremony in a different district you should state this on your application form. If you do not do this, the Home Office will only consider changes after the application has been made under exceptional circumstances.
- Children who have attained British Citizenship with you are welcome to attend a ceremony although they do not have to. If they do not attend, either parent can collect their certificate(s) on their behalf.
- You need to bring the invitation letter sent to you by the Home Office.
If you do not provide this document as a security measure you may be refused entry to the ceremony.
- The ceremony is usually attended by the Mayor of Hillingdon, Deputy Mayor or immediate previous Mayor.
Guests are welcome, but are usually restricted to two per applicant.
- Citizens and their guests are free to dress however they feel most comfortable, although the ceremony is a formal occasion therefore smart casual wear is recommended. Alternatively, traditional national costume of the citizen's origin is welcome to reflect the cultural diversity of the London Borough of Hillingdon and of the United Kingdom.
- You will already have paid for the ceremony as part of the fee paid when you made application for British Citizenship.
- The ceremony itself will take approximately 1 hour.
However, you are required to report at least 30 minutes before the start of the ceremony to register. You may also want to take photographs at the end of the ceremony. Therefore you should allow up to two hours.
Citizenship is granted to you at the ceremony and once you have received your Citizenship certificate you can apply for a British passport immediately. A passport application form is included in your welcome pack.
Our ceremonies are primarily for residents of the Borough of Hillingdon, but those living outside the Borough are also welcome to have their ceremonies here.
Personal Ceremonies, for individuals/families, may be booked at an additional cost. Alternative days/times are available for those sessions.
Fees for a private ceremony
- Monday - Friday £100 per person
- Saturday £125.00 per person
For further information, or to book, please contact the Register Office
For information: Before ceremonies were introduced in 2004, the process of attaining British Citizenship was purely bureaucratic and everything was done through the post. However, the government was keen that becoming a British Citizen should be a memorable and enjoyable event and the introduction of ceremonies to celebrate this important occasion was designed to further this aim.
The government also decided that the ceremony should take place in the local authority area in which the applicant lives. This enables the local authority to include suitable local content in the ceremony, which is intended not only to welcome the new citizen to the United Kingdom but also to the area in which they have decided to live.
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