Becoming a British Citizen is a significant event for those attaining citizenship.
All new citizens must attend a citizenship ceremony after being granted citizenship and within 90 days of being invited to attend a ceremony. This is the final stage of becoming a British Citizen.
Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council offer two types of ceremonies:
- group ceremonies held once a month in the Council Chambers of the Old Town Hall, Blackburn;
- individual ceremonies held by appointment only at the Register Office, King George's Hall, Blackburn (An additional fee is payable for the individual ceremonies).
The Ceremonies are lead by the Superintendent Registrar or her deputy.
At the group ceremony the Mayor of Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council or their deputy usually attends to welcome our new citizens and to speak on behalf of the local community.
Children are not required to take a citizenship oath or affirmation, and the accompanying pledge, or to attend a ceremony.
If you have reached the age of 18 by the time the Home Office has decided your application you will need to attend a ceremony even if you made your application as a child.
If applications for children under the age of 18 have been made as part of a family group, they will be invited to attend the citizenship ceremony with their parents.
Successful application to become a British Citizen
If your application to become a British Citizen is successful, you will get a letter from the Home Office telling you that you now need to contact us.
The letter will give you the specific contact details to use for us.
When you ring us, we will ask you some simple questions and also discuss dates of ceremonies that you could attend.
There is no charge for the citizenship ceremony if you take part in a group ceremony at the Town Hall, Blackburn. The fee that you pay to the Home Office includes a fee for this ceremony.
If you wish to have a private citizenship ceremony with just you and your guests, then you must contact the register office, Blackburn.
They will check availability for the date and time you require. There is an additional fee for a private ceremony.
Preparing for the ceremony
When you contact us, we will ask you to decide on a number of options you have for your ceremony.
- To ensure that we have the correct application you will be asked to verify:
- your full name;
- Home Office reference number;
- your address.
- You will be advised what you are required to bring with you on the day of the ceremony.
- You will be asked if you wish to bring guests to your ceremony.The Home Office letter may say guests are limited to two only but if you wish to bring more than this please contact us to find out if this is possible.
The day of the ceremony
On the day of the ceremony, please bring with you:
- Photographic proof of ID-passport or photo driving licence (In the name which is on the Home Office certificate);
- Home Office Letter;
- Invitation letter from the Register Office.
Without these we will be unable to go ahead with your ceremony.
Should you wish to have photographs to mark this special occasion then time is included at the end of the ceremony for this, with either your relatives, friends or with the civic dignitary. We do however ask that you bring your own camera.
If you are swearing the oath of allegiance, you may wish to bring a holy book of your choice with you.
The ceremony takes about 30 minutes.
We do ask you to arrive at least 45 minutes prior to the ceremony, as we will have a short interview with all new citizens before the ceremony commences.
If you do arrive late and the ceremony has had to begin, you may have to arrange another date to attend, as the ceremony cannot be interrupted.
The citizenship ceremony itself and swearing an oath or affirming your allegiance
You have a choice of either swearing an oath or affirming your allegiance.
The wording of the oath is:
"I (name) swear by Almighty God that on becoming a British citizen, I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, her Heirs and Successors, according to law."
The affirmation wording is:
"I (name) do solemnly, sincerely and truly declare and affirm that on becoming a British citizen, I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, her Heirs and Successors, according to law."
You will also be asked to make a pledge of commitment, and this pledge is the same whether you swear an oath or affirm your allegiance. The wording is:
"I will give my loyalty to the United Kingdom and respect its rights and freedoms. I will uphold its democratic values. I will observe its laws faithfully and fulfil my duties and obligations as a British citizen."
All new citizens will be called forward at the end of the ceremony to receive their citizenship certificates and a welcome information pack from the Home Office.
All ceremonies are by appointment only - please contact us for more information