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Citizenship ceremonies

How to apply to become a British citizen.

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. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, this has been extended to six months.

Contact us if the Home Office has notified you that your citizenship application has been successful and you wish to be added to the waiting list for a citizenship ceremony.

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.

The ceremony is a compulsory requirement of your citizenship application process, and every applicant over 18 must attend.

How to book your citizenship ceremony

You will receive a ceremony invitation letter or email from the Home Office once you become a British citizen. You can then contact us to be added to the waiting list for a citizenship ceremony.

The ceremony

Citizenship ceremonies are graduation-style events. The ceremony takes around an hour, depending on the number of new citizens who attend.

Who can come to your ceremony

Children

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.

Guests

All citizenship ceremonies are by invitation only. All adult citizens can bring a guest to their citizenship ceremony. If you book a private citizenship ceremony, more guests can attend.

What you need to bring to your ceremony

You need to bring your Home Office letter or email and your biometric residence permit if you were issued with one. This is the photographic credit-card sized card that shows your immigration status.

If you haven’t received the Home Office letter or email before your ceremony and do not hold a biometric residence permit, bring any 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. 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.

To mark Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022, the Oxfordshire Registration Service and the Oxfordshire Lieutenancy are delighted to present new citizens with a native species sapling as part of The Queen’s Green Canopy tree planting initiative. Citizens can choose either to donate their tree and it will be planted on their behalf in the Centenary Woodland in Charlbury, or they can accept their sapling at their citizenship ceremony and plant it in their own gardens.

Where and when ceremonies take place

Ceremonies are held weekly. 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.

However, individual applicants can request a private citizen ceremony at an additional cost. We have more than 100 venues licensed for ceremonies, and these venues are ideal for a family citizenship ceremony.

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.