Greenwich

Citizenship ceremonies

What happens at a ceremony?

The final step on the journey to becoming a British citizen, for most people, is to swear or affirm an oath of allegiance to Her Majesty the Queen at a citizenship ceremony.

In 2003, the government introduced the requirement that all persons over 18 years of age applying for naturalisation or registration as a British citizen must take a citizenship oath and pledge at a citizenship ceremony.

The ceremonies are a time for celebration and provide an opportunity to officially welcome new citizens as full members of their local community and to this nation. As a Royal Borough, it is most appropriate for us to extend this welcome and confer the honour of citizenship upon you.

If you have received your invitation letter but not heard from us

Once you have received your invitation letter, you need to contact us to book a date to attend your ceremony - the Home Office does not forward your personal contact details to us.

You must ensure you have your ceremony within three months of the date of the invitation letter from the Home Office.

Register for a Citizenship Ceremony

Rescheduling your ceremony

You are legally required to have your ceremony within three months of the date of your Home Office invitation letter.

Please be aware that if you wish to reschedule the ceremony we may not be able to offer you your first choice of date but we will endeavour to find a date that is suitable for you. 

It is in your interest that you give us as much notice as possible.

The ceremony

At the Royal Borough of Greenwich we aim to make the ceremonies enjoyable and meaningful, and hope that they will encourage new citizens to play an active part in their local community.

Because it is a formal occasion, we ask that you dress appropriately - no t-shirts or jeans - and that you participate fully throughout the ceremony.

Public ceremonies are held at the Royal Greenwich Register Office every Thursday. It is located in the beautiful and historic Woolwich Town Hall. You are required to arrive at 1pm for a pre-ceremony registration. You need to be prompt for registration as, if you arrive late, you cannot be admitted to the ceremony and will have to arrange another date. 

A private citizenship ceremony can be arranged for a fee of £100 per person. To arrange a private ceremony, please contact us.

The citizenship ceremony is an enjoyable yet formal occasion. We encourage you to participate and we aim to ensure that you and your guests experience the full significance of this momentous day.

The oath

All new citizens will be asked to either swear the oath or affirm the oath. The choice is down to you and must be confirmed with us.

What is the difference between swearing and affirming the oath?

If you decide to swear the oath you will be swearing to God, while affirming the oath does not have any religious context.

The declaration

Swearing the Oath: 

I (your full 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.

Affirmation: 

I (your full 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.

Both those who are swearing or affirming will then make the pledge of commitment:

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.

The order of the day and both the oath and the pledge will be in your invitation pack. Both are repeated by the group after the superintendent registrar, so you do not have to memorise anything.

The rest of the ceremony

We also have an official photographer who will photograph you with the dignitary as you receive your citizenship certificate and the photos will be ready by the end of the ceremony. 

At the end of the ceremony, we ask all new citizens as well as guests to sing your new national anthem, God Save The Queen. The words to the anthem will be in your welcome pack. The dignitary and superintendent registrar will lead the way and we hope that you will participate fully to end the ceremony.