During the UK’s lockdown those who had applied and had been successful in their naturalisation application were unable to attend a citizenship ceremony. All of the Town Halls were closed, and this has resulted in a backlog in many receiving their Naturalisation Certificates, confirming they are now a British citizen.
The knock-on effect being that you cannot apply for a British passport until you have received the actual certificate.
With the changing lifestyle that we have all experience over these passed 6 months, this has also given the Home Office a chance to review their procedure and practices as to how they can continue to operate. No-one wants to see large numbers of applications piling up as they have in the past!
Thankfully for the naturalised process the UK Government has introduced “Virtual Citizenship Ceremony”.
It was published by the Home office on the 20 July 2020 that Home Office Minister Kevin Foster attended the UK’s first virtual citizenship ceremony today. Many of you will agree that this is good news in helping the process move along. This could mean that those of you who are waiting could soon be offered the same with the possibility of applying for your British passports hopefully this year.
It was published that Local authorities will now be able to conduct citizenship ceremonies for individuals and households virtually via video conferencing.
The first virtual citizenship ceremony has been led by Southwark Council, London, who will begin offering the option from the 20 July 2020.
You would still be expected to say the Oath to become ‘British’ and wearing your pyjamas is optional! Also, you would need to prepare your own sandwiches! So, the exact details on how this will happen have not been shared nor any mention of any reductions in fees especially since you paid £80 for the ceremony.
Unfortunately, this new virtual ceremony is only temporary, and the Local Councils hope to start running the full Citizenship Ceremony as soon as practicable. Do not forget your masks and of course social distancing.
To you All – Congratulations