backed in a government consultation with strong support for the idea
of welcoming new Britons into local communities, the Home Office
The consultation shows strong backing for the government's intention
that national symbols such as the union flag and the national anthem
should feature in the new ceremonies, alongside local symbols where
The fees for applying for citizenship will also increase, for the
first time in eight years, in order to cover the costs of processing
applications, provide the new ceremony and ensure local authorities
are not left out of pocket.
Read more the local authority response here.
The first of the ceremonies for new citizens will take place in eight
pilot areas in the new year, before being rolled out around the
country. These are part of wider government reforms to enhance the
significance of acquiring British citizenship.
Home Office minister, Beverley Hughes, said: 'I am very pleased
with the response to the consultation and with the
enthusiasm with which local communities are embracing the
government's proposals and the work of Sir Bernard Crick
and his colleagues on the working group.
'Becoming a UK citizen is an important step and we want to welcome
new citizens with the right balance of solemnity and celebration to
make it a significant day for all involved. The ceremony will
reinforce the obligations as well as the rights of being a citizen.
'I believe it is only right - and indeed what new citizens themselves
will want - that our national flag and national anthem should be part
of this important day alongside appropriate symbols of the local
community and the final guidance to local authorities will reflect
'Several countries around the world already have citizenship
ceremonies. I hope our own home-grown ceremonies will reflect the
national character and offer a warm welcome to those who choose to
make the UK their permanent home.
'Separately we are also considering the recommendations of an
independent group on how to ensure that new citizens have knowledge
of English and life in the UK.
'Helping people to become full and active citizens is a vital part of
our managed migration policy, which benefits both our society and
Responses to the consultation made suggestions for music which could
be played alongside the national anthem, and welcomed the idea of
local dignitaries attending. Local authorities will be free to choose
appropriate music and invite dignitaries.
Respondents also agreed with the proposed format of the welcome
speech and suggested adding details about the cultures and traditions
of the local area.
As part of the new ceremonies, which will be a requirement for all
those whose application for citizenship is received on or after 1
January 2004, citizens will continue to swear allegiance to the Queen
but also make a new pledge to uphold the UK's rights, freedoms and
democratic values. The eight pilot areas are Brent, Wandsworth,
Liverpool, Glasgow, Cardiff, Kent, Oldham and Telford & Wrekin.
Different methods of payment are being explored for a range of
The government's citizenship reforms, laid down in the Nationality,
Immigration and Asylum Act 2002, aim to make the acquisition of
citizenship a meaningful event and to encourage more people who have
chosen to make the UK their home to become full citizens.
As well as introducing ceremonies the Act requires applicants for
citizenship to demonstrate 'sufficient knowledge of English, Welsh or
Scottish Gaelic' and knowledge of life in the UK.
An independent advisory group, the Life in the United Kingdom Group,
chaired by Sir Bernard Crick, has made a numb er of recommendations on
how to take this forward in practice. These are currently being
considered by the government.
1. The fees changes are as follows:
TYPE OF CURRENT PROPOSED CEREMONY TOTAL
PROVISION FEE 01/01/04 FEE 01/01/04
6(1) Individual £150.00 £150.00 £68.00 £218.00
6(1) Married £150.00 £150.00 £136.00 £286.00
6(2) £120.00 £146.00 £68.00 £214.00
Reg. Adult £120.00 £85.00 £68.00 £153.00
Reg. Minor £120.00 £144.00 £144.00
Reg. Minor £120.00 £144.00 £144.00
Renunciation £20.00 £81.00 £81.00
Naturalisation 6 (1) individual: Country of origin has no historical links with the UK.
Naturalisation 6 (1): As above but joint application by husband and wife.
Naturalisation 6 (2): Overseas national married to a British citizen.
Adult Registration: British overseas territories citizen, British
Overseas citizen and other British nationals, excluding British
citizens, who wish to become British citizens.
Minor Registration: Applications always classed as registration even
if parents are applying for naturalisation.
Renunciation: Relinquishing British citizenship in favour of another
country's nationality, for example, where the other country, does not
allow dual nationality.
2. The consultation on citizenship ceremonies was announced on 25
July (HO press notice 214/2003). In order to qualify for citizenship
applicants must have lived in the UK for five years (or three years
if married to a British citizen). In 2002 there were 120,145 grants
of British citizenship.
3. The full report of the Life in United Kingdom advisory gr oup was
announced on September 3 (HO press notice 234/ 2003) and can be found here.
4. A summary of the responses is attached.
CITIZENSHIP CEREMONIES CONSULTATION - SUMMARY OF RESPONSES
The White Paper, 'Secure Borders, Safe Haven: Integration with
Diversity in Modern Britain', published in February 2002, set out the
Government's proposals for enhancing the significance of the
acquisition of British citizenship. The Nationality, Immigration and
Asylum Act 2002 duly included provisions which, when brought into
force at the start of 2004, will require all adult applicants for
British citizenship to take an oath of allegiance to Her Majesty The
Queen and a Pledge of Loyalty to the United Kingdom at a citizenship
On 25 July 2003 the government published a consultation document
setting out its provisional views on the form and content of the
citizenship ceremony. The 12-week period of consultation ended on 17
October, and 145 responses were received.
Breakdown of respondents
The respondents included the following:
Registration Service 43
Local Authority [England & Wales] 29
Members of Public 26
Local Authority [Scotland] 16
Professional Associations 5
Voluntary Organisations 4
Religious Groups 3
Refugee Organisation 3
Home Office 3
Government Departments 1
Political Groups 1
Equality Organisations 1
Breakdown of responses
Respondents were invited to consider 8 specific questions, and gave
answers as follows:
Q1: Should national symbols - the Union flag, and the national anthem
- form part of the ceremony? Should some national cultural activity
[e.g. a piece of music, song, poem ] be included at the start or end of
the ceremony? Do you have any suggestions?
Q2: How might a local flavour be imported to citizenship cere monies
in a manner which is in keeping with their purpose?
Q3: Do you have any suggestions on other suitable venues for
Q4: Do you have any suggestions for suitable music?
Q5: Do you have any views on the content of the proposed welcome
speech by the Registrar?
Q6: Do you agree that it would be a good idea to invite a local
dignitary to address the group at this stage and do you have any
suggestions about the advice which might be given as to the content
of this address?
Q7: What are your views on the standard response? Have you any other
Q8: Do you consider it important for new citizens to have a
commemorative certificate or other gift and have you any suggestions
relating to gifts? What sort of gift do you think would be
appropriate and meaningful memento of the occasion?