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British citizenship

How to apply for British citizenship and book a citizenship ceremony.

How to apply for British citizenship

Citizenship ceremonies

If the Home Office approves your application for British citizenship, they'll send you an invitation letter telling you who to contact to book your citizenship ceremony. Attending the ceremony is the final step on the journey to becoming a British citizen.

You must attend a citizenship ceremony if you are over 18 years old and living in the UK.

Children under 18 years old don't have to attend a ceremony but are encouraged to.

Where the ceremony happens

We hold citizenship ceremonies at either the Civic Suite in Catford or the register office in Lewisham. 

What you should bring to the ceremony

  • your original invitation letter or email from the Home Office
  • your passport or photo ID

Why you have a ceremony

Every adult who is granted naturalisation or registration as a British citizen has to take part in a citizenship ceremony. At the ceremony, they take an oath of allegiance to the Crown and pledge loyalty to the United Kingdom.

Citizenship ceremonies celebrate the significance of becoming a British citizen and welcome new citizens into the community.

What happens at the ceremony

During the ceremony:

  • you’ll swear or affirm an oath of allegiance to the Crown
  • you'll make a pledge to uphold UK values and laws
  • you’ll be presented with a certificate of British citizenship

The ceremony begins with welcome speeches by the superintendent registrar and a local dignitary, who gives information about the local community and the history of the borough.

Taking the citizenship oath and pledge is a legal requirement. When you take the pledge, you officially become a British citizen. After everyone's taken their pledge, you'll be called up one at a time to receive your naturalisation certificate and information pack.

The nationality certificate is presented by a local dignitary on behalf of the Home Secretary. It can be used to support passport applications and to prove that you are British citizen.

At the end of the ceremony, there is a closing speech and the national anthem is played.

How many guests you can have at the ceremony

A citizen can bring a maximum of 3 guests for a group ceremony or 15 guests for a paid private ceremony.

Private ceremonies

You can also arrange a private ceremony. Private ceremonies are also held at the register office.

You can ask us for a specific date when you enquire. We will consider your dates but they may not be available.

Private ceremonies cost £110 per citizen.

Preparation courses

You can do a course to help you prepare to take your citizenship exam in English. We'll help you book your exam.

Our adult education service offers a preparation course for SELT Graded Examinations in Spoken English (GESE) Grade 5 (B1 CEFR).

Worried about your immigration status?

If you're a Commonwealth citizen or you've lived in the UK for a long time, you can get information about your immigration status

The Register Office Citizenship Team

Opening hours:

Monday and Tuesday 9.10am–4.15pm

Wednesday 10.10am–4.15pm

Thursday and Friday 9.10am–4.15pm

Saturday by appointment only

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