Thursday, March 24, 2011

British citizenship

Today my wife reached the end of a long and rather expensive road when she finally became a British citizen. To complete the process she had to attend a citizenship ceremony and swear an oath to Queen and country. This ceremony was held at Birmingham Registry Office, it was rather odd returning to the place we got married a few years before but maybe also somewhat fitting.

The ceremony itself took place with Her Majesty watching on (a painting anyway) flanked by the Union flag and another flag i think was the Birmingham flag, it looked gaudy enough anyway. Before the ceremony each candidate had to be registered, and as there were over 30 candidates this took a while. Our ceremony was the third that day apparently and there were over 100 citizenship candidates attending that day. Not everyone completed the process though, some people had to go home because they had forgotten to bring their letter which clearly stated had to be bought along (it kind of beggars belief someone could forget it to be honest but 2 people did. Apparently 4 people that day had had their citizenship denied to them because they hadn't said the oath properly too).

This all makes the proceedings sound harsh but in fact the ceremony was very light hearted and friendly. Very laid-back and modern. Very Cool Britannia perhaps? After the registration the candidates were split into two groups depending on which version of the oath they were going to say (God included or not). Which added to the air of a game show the proceedings somewhat resembled. Each candidate had to say their name separately then everyone said the rest of the oath together. If you didn't demonstrate to the registrars present that you were saying it properly you had to go home empty handed. Everyone else went through to the star prize.

That star prize was receiving your citizenship certificate and having your photograph taken in front of the Queen. That finally made you a British citizen. Then everyone (guests included) had to sing the national anthem. Like most born British people i had no idea of the words so it was useful the new citizens were there to carry it...


  1. Congrats to the Mrs.! Did they also register the new citizens to vote? We had that at our US citizenship ceremony.

  2. Its done separately before each election, or every year or so. To update the electoral register.