Attending a citizenship ceremony is the final step in the process of becoming a British citizen. Usually, you must attend a citizenship ceremony within three months of receiving confirmation from the Home Office that your application for citizenship has been successful.
Why the ceremony is part of British citizenship
Becoming a British citizen is a public celebration. Everyone who applies for British citizenship must take an oath or affirmation of allegiance to the Crown and pledge loyalty to the United Kingdom.
In 2004 the government decided to incorporate the oath and pledge into a public ceremony involving civic and municipal dignitaries. In Oxfordshire, the superintendent registrar conducts the ceremony in the presence of the Lord Lieutenant for Oxfordshire, a deputy Lord Lieutenant, or another local dignitary.
The government places great importance on ensuring those who settle here understand the rights and responsibilities of British citizenship. In addition, they believe that all new citizens should be encouraged to feel a sense of belonging to the wider community. A ceremony of a public and celebratory nature helps to foster this.
Who can come to your ceremony
Children under 18 who have applied with their parents for citizenship can attend the ceremony. They are not required to take the oath or pledge but can use the opportunity to be presented with their certificate.
If a child cannot attend the ceremony, another family member can collect the certificate on their behalf.
All citizenship ceremonies are by invitation only. All adult citizens can bring up to two guests to their citizenship ceremony
What you need to bring to your ceremony
You need to bring the letter or email from Home Office confirming that your application has been successful. You will also need to bring a form of current photo ID with your date of birth, e.g. driving licence or passport.
What happens at the ceremony
You should arrive in good time before the ceremony starts so we can check your identification.
The ceremony opens with a short welcome and is followed by a speech from the local dignitary who speaks on behalf of the local community.
You then take the Oath and Pledge of Allegiance Citizenship ceremonies: guidance notes (English and Welsh) - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)]. You can swear or affirm the oath depending on your personal wishes and religious beliefs.
The civic dignitary will present you with your Certificate of Naturalisation and a welcome pack. In addition, photographs of the presentation may be taken by your guest to provide a memento of the occasion. The whole assembly is then invited to stand and sing the National Anthem.
Where and when ceremonies take place
Ceremonies are held weekly and last approximately an hour. They take place in the Council Chamber in County Hall or in the Dexter Room at the Oxford Register Office. Please check your invitation carefully to ensure you arrive at the correct venue. The County Hall is on New Road, which is on the main park and ride bus routes. The Dexter Room is situated inside the Oxford Register Office, on the corner of New Road and Tidmarsh Lane.
Because of the civic and patriotic nature of the ceremony, the government has stated that citizenship ceremonies should take place in a building with suitable civic or municipal links.
How to book your citizenship ceremony
Once you have received a letter or email from the Home Office notifying you your citizenship application has been successful. You should contact us to arrange a citizenship ceremony.
Please do not contact us more than once; we will respond to your email within 5 working days (or 7 working days around public holidays) and will offer you the earliest available ceremony date.
How to apply for British citizenship and a British passport
The Home Office administers all applications for British citizenship.
Apply for a British passport from the HM Passport Office after you have attended the ceremony.