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Citizenship ceremonies

Citizenship ceremonies should normally be booked within three months of the invitation sent from the Home Office. Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, this period has been extended to six months. No adverse decisions will be made on applications because of delays due to the Coronavirus outbreak.

For information regarding how to apply for British Citizenship please visit the Government website GOV.UK

The Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 included provisions that came into force on 1 January 2004 requiring all successful applicants for naturalisation or registration as a British citizen, who are aged 18 or over, to take an oath and pledge at a citizenship ceremony, unless exempted by the Home Secretary. 

Prospective citizens under the age of 18 are not required to attend a ceremony although they are encouraged to attend ceremonies with their parents if they are part of a successful family application. Minors are not required to take the oath and pledge although they may join in with their parents if they wish

The citizenship ceremony celebrates the significance of becoming a British citizen and welcomes the new citizen into his or her community. It must take place within three months of the applicant being informed that their application has been successful, unless the Home Secretary extends the period. Please note that due to Covid-19 this period has been extended to six months currently.

When the Home Office have approved your application they will email to confirm this and advise you to visit the appropriate Local Authority website. On receipt of that Home Office confirmation email please then email us at ncs@bedford.gov.uk providing your full name and a contact telephone number. We aim to reply within 5 working days.

The ceremony 

The ceremony, which is usually held in groups, is conducted by a Superintendent Registrar or Deputy Superintendent Registrar and is a celebration of becoming British. It usually commences with the playing of suitable music, with national symbols of the union flag, and a portrait of the Queen displayed. (an individual ceremony may be arranged on request, subject to availability, for an additional fee)

Whilst Covid-19 restrictions are in force however, the ceremony will be shorter as no music will be played, no dignitary will be invited and no guests are permitted. Restricted Ceremonies may still proceed during lockdowns but are subject to cancellation at very short notice.

The superintendent registrar will lead the citizens through the oath and the pledge. A local dignitary, who could an elected member of the local authority or a representative of that authority, the Lord Lieutenant, a Deputy Lieutenant or the High Sheriff or some other eminent local person may also be invited to attend to enhance the welcome to the new citizens.

Citizenship is not conferred until the prospective citizen has participated in the making of the oath and pledge after which they will be presented with their certificate.

What do I need to bring with me

As this is a formal occasion we ask that you dress appropriately; smart/formal day wear

You are required to bring:

  • your invitation letter from the Home Office
  • valid photographic ID, preferably your passport

You will not be able to attend the ceremony without these documents.