How to apply to become a British citizen
There are different ways to apply for British citizenship based on your circumstances.
Everyone who applies for British citizenship is required to take an oath or affirmation of allegiance to the Crown, and make a pledge of loyalty to the United Kingdom.
EU Settlement Scheme
The UK government has reached an agreement with the EU that will protect the rights of EU citizens living in the UK. An EEA citizen with permanent residence status who wishes to continue living in the UK after 30 June 2021 will either need to apply to the Scheme or, if they prefer and are eligible, apply for British citizenship.
If you are an EEA citizen, support is available at: www.gov.uk/eusettledstatus
Attending a Citizenship Ceremony
The Home Office, which administers all applications for British citizenship, believes 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.
Due to coronavirus new citizens are currently not permitted guests in attendance at group ceremonies and numbers in attendance at private ceremonies will also be impacted.
Do I have to attend a citizenship ceremony?
Yes, if you are aged 18yrs or over and have successfully applied to become a British citizen, you need to attend a citizenship ceremony. You will take an oath of allegiance (or an affirmation if you prefer not to swear by God) and a pledge of loyalty. This means you promise to respect the rights, freedoms and laws of the UK. You will receive a welcome pack at the ceremony and your certificate of British citizenship.
Who else can attend?
Children under 18 who have applied for citizenship may 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 is unable to attend the ceremony, another family member may collect the certificate on their behalf.
All citizenship ceremonies are by invitation only. Each applicant may nominate two guests to attend their citizenship ceremony. Guests may be friends or family members.
Where are ceremonies held in Northern Ireland?
Citizenship ceremonies are currently held in Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council’s headquarters at Lagan Valley Island, Lisburn or virtually hosted by the council.
Ceremonies are administered by the council and conducted by one of Northern Ireland’s eight Lord Lieutenants. The Lord Lieutenant is Her Majesty the Queen’s representative in their county.
What type of ceremonies are available?
Group ceremonies will take place bi-monthly with approximately 30 new citizens in attendance at each ceremony.
Virtual ceremonies via zoom are available for families or individuals but not groups. These will be scheduled at a suitable frequency.
Individual or family ceremonies can take place at Lagan Valley Island. Family ceremonies are capped at 20 people. These will be scheduled at a suitable frequency. The costs are £150 for an individual and £200 for a family.
How often are group ceremonies held?
Group ceremonies take place bi-monthly with approximately 30 new citizens in attendance at each ceremony.
What do I need to bring with me?
On arrival, new citizens will be asked to register attendance before the virtual, group or private ceremony commences.
Please ensure to bring the letter that you received from the Home Office and a form of photographic I.D such as a Passport or Driving Licence, for each family member receiving his or her citizenship.
What happens at a citizenship ceremony?
Each ceremony begins with a welcome speech by the Lord Lieutenant before new citizens proceed to take either the citizenship oath or affirmation and pledge. When you take the pledge, you officially become a British citizen. New citizens are then called up in family groups to receive their nationality certificate/s, presented by the Lord Lieutenant on behalf of the Home Secretary.
At the end of the ceremony, there is a closing speech and everyone stands whilst the national anthem is played. You are welcome to take photographs at this stage. Your welcome pack will include a UK Passport application pack, UK & Visas Immigration information and details on how you can register to vote.
What is the dress code?
The ceremony is a formal welcome to all new citizens, therefore please dress smartly. You are more than welcome to wear your national dress.
Book to attend a Citizenship Ceremony
On approval of your application and on receipt of a Home Office ceremony invitation letter you can apply to book a ceremony.