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.
Check if you can become a British citizen
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.
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.
Do I have to attend a citizenship ceremony?
Yes, if you are aged 18 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 can attend
Children under 18 who have applied for citizenship may attend the ceremony. They are not required to take the oath or affirmation, 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 one guest to attend their citizenship ceremony. Guests may be friends or family members.
Location of ceremonies held in Northern Ireland
Citizenship ceremonies are currently held in two locations i.e. Hillsborough Castle and Lagan Valley Island.
Any ceremony held at Northern Ireland’s Royal Residence, Hillsborough Castle is hosted by the council. It is about five miles from Lisburn City Centre.
Group ceremonies will take place monthly with approximately 30 new citizens in attendance at each ceremony.
- There is onsite parking for up to 30 cars at Hillsborough Castle, with special access arrangements if required.
- There are regular bus services from central Belfast to Royal Hillsborough. Buses leave from Europa Bus Station. Get off at the stop at the War Memorial in Hillsborough. From here it is a five minute walk uphill.
- The nearest train stations to the Castle are Lisburn and Moira train stations.
1 The Island
- There is onsite parking for up to 300 cars at Lagan Valley Island, which includes disabled spaces close to the entrance.
- There are regular bus services from central Belfast to Lisburn. Buses leave from Europa Bus Station. Get off at Lisburn Bus Station. From here it is a five minute walk.
- There is also a train station in Lisburn which is a 10 minute walk from Lagan Valley Island.
Ceremonies are administered by the council and conducted by one of Northern Ireland’s eight Lord Lieutenants. The Lord Lieutenant is His Majesty the King’s representative in their county.
Information to bring to the ceremony with you
On arrival, new citizens will be asked to register their attendance before the 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.
Order of 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 while 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.
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.