The Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown and staff shortages have resulted in delays and cancellation of many citizenship ceremonies, which in turn has led to a huge backlog of applications.
What happens at a citizenship ceremony?
The ceremony normally includes a welcoming speech and the applicants then swear or affirm an oath of allegiance to the Queen. The applicants also have to make a pledge to be a loyal subject to the United Kingdom. The applicants will be then presented a certificate of their British Citizenship, with a photo opportunity.
The UK government is allowing citizenship ceremonies to take place via video conferencing. The move will allow applicants to complete their unique citizenship journey and become British citizens quicker.
These measures are expected to be temporary. It is anticipated that local authorities will resume providing group ceremonies in official premises once it is safe to do so and subject to national or local social distancing guidance.
Departments have worked together closely to deliver an efficient solution to the current restrictions. Due to coronavirus, the period overtime to book a citizenship ceremony after receiving an invitation from the Home Office has been extended from 3 months to 6 months, to allow for greater flexibility.
If there has been a significant delay in arranging your citizenship ceremony, please contact your chosen borough council or the nationality team at Home Office.