Citizenship ceremonies

How to apply to become a British citizen.

This service has been affected by coronavirus

Coronavirus update January 2021

Attending a citizenship ceremony is the final step in the process of becoming a British citizen. Usually, you must attend a citizenship ceremony within 3 months of receiving your invitation from the Home Office. Because of coronavirus, this has been extended to 6 months.

Do not book a ceremony until you’ve received your invitation letter. Because of coronavirus, it can take up to 3 months from being told your application was successful to get your letter.

Contact us if you have received confirmation from the Home Office that your application for British citizenship has been successful and you wish to be added to the waiting list.

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 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 once you become a British citizen. You can then contact us to book your ceremony.

The ceremony

Citizenship ceremonies are graduation-style events. Each ceremony celebrates the citizenship of an average of 25 applicants to maintain the personal and family nature of the event. The ceremony takes around 40 minutes, depending on the number of applicants who attend.

Who you 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. Each applicant may nominate two guests to attend their citizenship ceremony. The guests may be friends or family members.

What you need to bring to your ceremony

You need to bring your Home Office letter 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 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 license or passport.

What happens at the ceremony

You should arrive half an hour before the ceremony starts so we can check your identification. 

Before the ceremony, you and your guests are usually offered refreshments. Then, you'll be asked to sign in and sign the Oxfordshire Citizenship Register.

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, we may photograph the presentation to provide a memento of the occasion.

The whole assembly is then asked to stand for the National Anthem. After this, you return to the assembly area, where further refreshments are available.

Where and when ceremonies take place

Ceremonies are held weekly on Thursday afternoons. They take place in the Council Chamber in County Hall. The County Hall is on New Road, which is on the main park and ride bus routes.

Because of the civic and patriotic nature of the ceremony, the government has stated that it should take place in a building with suitable civic or municipal links.

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

Watch our video about Oxfordshire's citizenship ceremonies

Video transcript

00.01 Introduction music

00.13 Superintendent speaking to the Citizens:

I will give my loyalty, (Citizens repeat )
To the United Kingdom (Citizens repeat )
And respects it’s rights and freedom (Citizens repeat )
I will uphold its democratic values (Citizens repeat )
I will observe its laws faithfully (Citizens repeat )
And fulfil my duties and obligations (Citizens repeat )
As a British Citizen (Citizens repeat)

0.48 Superintendent Registrar explains what becoming a British Citizen means:

Citizenship means becoming a member of a country or a group of countries, which gives you certain rights and responsibilities.

Now prior to 2004, those people successfully applying for citizenship had to go and swear their oath of allegiance to the crown before a solicitor or a justice of the peace.

The Government recognising that this was a very private affair and wanted to make it more public and more celebratory.

So therefore this afternoon we will be holding a citizenship ceremony here in Oxford , where citizens will be required to swear an oath of allegiance in public as part of a group ceremony. And we are hoping that this will make them feel part of the wider and local community.

01.40 People are talking, socialising and taking photos before the ceremony.

01.48 Citizen one: Interview before the ceremony

For me being part of the UK is quite significant because there is quite a lot in this country which has to be really envied. Particularly the democratic situation that we have here and a sense of security and stability, and also what this country stands for, integrity and you fight for what you believe in. And I’m kind of really honoured actually to take on the responsibility to be a citizen of this country.

I think it is quite a serious day and at the same time it is an honourable day as well.

02.26 Citizen two: Interview before the ceremony

I have been received really warmly and it makes you feel that you really welcome and I think actually that it is an important landmark in our lives, that from being an Indian citizen, we also now become a British Citizen.

02.46 Superintendent Registrar is explaining what is involved in the ceremony.

There are three key stages to the ceremony. There are speeches made by the Superintendent Registrar and the Lord Lieutenant or one of his Deputies.

There is then an oath of allegiance and a pledge of loyalty made by the citizens. And then we have a presentation of a Citizenship Certificate which is issued by the Home Office which is presented by the Lord Lieutenant.

The ceremony concludes with the singing of the National Anthem.

03.17 Singing of the National Anthem

03.21 The Superintendent Registrar enters the room where the Citizens are gathered

Ladies and Gentleman, Could I invite you all to join me in the Council Chamber please, thank you.

03.28 Citizens enter the Council Chamber

3.32 The Superintendent Registrar’s speech

I would like to formally welcome you all here today to Oxford for this Citizenship Ceremony.

The Citizenship Ceremony is a formal acknowledgment and welcome to those who wish to join with us in full membership of the British Nation and Citizenship of the United Kingdom.

03.55 The Lord Lieutenant’s speech

Congratulations to you all on obtaining British Nationality.

I hope you will continue to engage with your fellow citizens locally and to contribute to our community in Oxfordshire.

04.12 The Superintendent Registrar second speech

Today as part of this ceremony, I’m going to ask you to make certain promises and to swear an oath to the Sovereign that you will be a faithful citizen. I will also be asking you to make a formal and public pledge to that affect, stating that you will be a loyal subject and observe the laws of this Country.

04.36 The promises called by the Superintendent Registrar

I will uphold its democratic values (Citizens repeat)
I will observe its laws faithfully (Citizens repeat)
And fulfil my duties and obligations (Citizens repeat)
As a British Citizen (Citizens repeat)

04.49 The Superintendent third speech

I’m now going to call each of you in turn forward to receive your Certificate of Citizenship from Sir Hugo Brunner.

05.07 Applause from everyone

05.20 Lord Lieutenant congratulates Citizens individually, an example follows:

Congratulations Beatrice, I have a little Granddaughter called Beatrice. She is just as beautiful as you (laughter from everyone). Here is your certificate.

05.27 Beatrice’s photo is taken with Lord Lieutenant followed by applause from everyone

05.36 The Superintendent Registrar fourth speech

From this day forward we hope that you enjoy your new status as British Citizens and that it enriches the lives of yourselves and those around you, both in your families and in your local communities.

You have made an oath and a pledge that you will be a faithful subject to the Queen and a true and loyal citizen of the United Kingdom.

06.01 Everyone sings the National Anthem

God save our gracious Queen, Long live our noble Queen…(Fades away)

06.15 Citizen two: Second interview after the ceremony

It is wonderful both solemn and important, it was also some what fun as well. It wasn’t all serious and that was really good.

It made a special moment for us both in terms of family, in terms of our extended family and being with other people, it’s such a mix of people. I think that makes Britain great.

06.34 Citizen three; Interview

This is my happiest moment. I am now a British Citizen.

06.42 Lord Lieutenant concludes the day

I think it’s been a wonderful afternoon. We of course live in a shrinking world and its very, very important that we should engage with each other in a friendly and co-operative manner and this ceremony represents the future.

06.58 End of the video with music and a picture of the Queen.

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 Identity and Passport Service after you have attended the ceremony.