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 0845 0105200.
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 must either:
- Take the Life in the UK Test if you are able to speak English fluently.
To do this you must attend an approved Test Centre.
You can find your nearest centre by visiting the Life in the UK Test website or by telephone on 0800 0154245.
- Attend combined English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and Citizenship classes.
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 0845 0105200.
After the successful completion of the test or 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 0845 0105200.
- 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 and those becoming British Citizens are presented with Certificates of Naturalisation.
A professional photograph will be taken at the presentation.
- 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.
- Personal Ceremonies, for individuals/families, may be booked at an additional cost. Alternative days/times are available for those sessions.
- 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 can have your ceremony in any area of your choice.
- 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.
All enquires should be made via 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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