Those over the age of 18 who have successfully applied to become British citizens would normally be required to book a citizenship ceremony at their local council within three months of receiving their citizenship invitations.
Due to the closure of most UK councils during the Coronavirus lockdown, however, many individuals who had naturalized have found themselves unable to attend ceremonies within this timeframe. Fortunately, this timeframe has been extended to six months from the receipt of the citizenship invitation.
For many, this six-month window is rapidly closing, leading to anxiety and uncertainty as many councils remain closed.
However, as lockdown measures continue to ease across the UK, many local councils are beginning to prepare for the resumption of citizenship ceremonies. Guidance for councils on the protocol for holding socially distant and COVID-19 secure ceremonies is expected imminently.
It should be expected that a majority of councils will develop a system to work through their backlog of ceremony bookings, and whilst each will develop their own system, it can be expected that those who had booked ceremonies prior to the lockdown will be contacted for rebooking availabilities and those who have yet to book will be presented with booking slots in the not too distant future.
Gherson is actively monitoring this situation and will provide more information as it becomes available.
There has currently been no alteration to the Home Office’s 6 month time limit for booking a citizenship ceremony, therefore if you have an approved citizenship application and have yet to book your ceremony, please closely monitor your local council’s Registrar’s office webpage for real time updates.
The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.
Paralegal in our General Immigration team