Under the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 anyone wanting British citizenship must attend a citizenship ceremony. New citizens must take an oath or affirmation of allegiance to the Queen and make a pledge of loyalty to the United Kingdom.
The Home Office, which administers all applications for British citizenship, believes that attending a citizenship ceremony helps new citizens to feel a sense of belonging to the wider community.
What happens if my citizenship application is successful?
As your application process nears completion, you will be sent a letter inviting you to attend a citizenship ceremony along with:
• guidance notes explaining what to do next;
• the wording of the Oath or Affirmation of Allegiance and Citizenship Pledge;
• your personal details to check; and
• our telephone number and address.
How do I book my citizenship ceremony?
Once you have received your ceremony invitation letter from the Home Office, you must contact Leeds Register Office to arrange a date for your ceremony.
You will need to attend a ceremony within 3 months of receiving your letter. If you cannot attend within this time, the Home Office may withdraw your invitation and you will have to apply and pay the fee again.
Where should I go for the ceremony?
Please check your ceremony invitation letter sent to you by the register office. This confirms the date, place and time of your citizenship ceremony. Ceremonies take place on a regular basis in either the Banqueting Suite at the Civic Hall, or in the Albert Room or Brodrick Suite at the Leeds Town Hall.
Leeds Town Hall Civic Hall
The Headrow Leeds
Leeds LS1 1UR
How much does a citizenship ceremony cost?
The fee which you pay to the Home Office when applying for citizenship includes the cost of the ceremony, which is normally conducted in groups to reinforce the community nature of citizenship. Personal ceremonies are available, although there will be additional costs for these. Most private ceremonies are held at Leeds Town Hall.
What happens at a ceremony?
Please make sure you bring your Home Office letter stating that you have had your application granted as well as the invitation that we send to you. You can bring one guest with you to ceremonies to be held at the Town Hall and up to three guests to ceremonies to be held at the Civic Hall. Everyone attending the ceremony should arrive half an hour before the ceremony is due to start, and register at the booking-in desk. For ceremonies held at the Civic Hall there will be refreshments before the ceremony.
The ceremony takes about forty minutes, depending on the number of people attending. The registrar conducts the ceremony in the presence of the Lord Mayor of Leeds or another local dignitary.
The local dignitary will explain what it means, legally, to become a British citizen. All applicants must then take the Oath and Pledge of Allegiance. You may swear or affirm the oath depending on your personal wishes and religious beliefs. The local dignitary will then present you with your certificate.
Children under 18 who have applied with their parents for citizenship can attend the citizenship ceremony. They do not have to take the oath or pledge, but they can receive their certificate as part of the ceremony.
The ceremony will end with a closing speech and the playing of the national anthem. There will also be an official photographer who can take souvenir photographs for a small charge.