It’s official! I’m finally a British citizen. Last week, I attended my British citizenship ceremony, the last and final step of this long journey. Earlier in January, I received the letter stating I’ve been approved as a Brit. To make it official, attendance at a ceremony is obligatory.
It’s a very simple and straightforward ceremony, similar to when graduating from University I guess. I had no idea what to expect before hand, except I knew I’d have to give the Oath or affirmation of allegiance and take the Pledge. I also knew a certificate is handed out at the end to make it all official. It’s an expensive piece of paper, that’s for sure.
I was allowed to bring one guest and we arrived at Leeds Town Hall a quarter of an hour before the ceremony started. This gave me time to sign in, receive a Leeds Council mug and decide if I wanted to take the Oath or Affirmation of allegiance. I decided to take the Affirmation, where you declare allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, instead of swearing by Almighty God your allegiance.
There was 20 other people at the ceremony becoming British, all from 12 different nationalities. I was the only Swede and I think only one more couple were from Europe. The rest either from Canada, Brazil, or African and Asian countries. The ceremony started with introductions of staff, entrance of the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire and his wife and what to expect from the ceremony. Speeches were held, welcoming us to the UK and giving well wishes on becoming British citizens. Emphasis laid on registering to vote and also to use it when it’s time.
Affirmation of Allegiance and Pledge
The ones choosing to take the Oath of allegiance stood up together and read it out together. We then swapped so us taking the Affirmation of allegiance stood up and read our bit: “I (name) do solemnly, sincerely and truly declare and affirm that on becoming a British Citizen, I will be faithful ab bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, her Heirs and successors, according to law.” After this, we all stood up and took the Pledge: “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 last part of the ceremony, we individually (when called out by name) walked up to the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire for a handshake, exchange of certificate of British Citizenship and of course the obligatory photo. I personally love that they also have a framed photo of the Queen present. We obviously all sang the national anthem together, before leaving.
The ceremony didn’t even take an hour in total after arriving at Town Hall. Afterwards, I spent the day celebrating with lunch and lots of drinks.
This is the last and final step of becoming a British citizen. You can read about all the things you’ll have to do to get here in this post. I’m only waiting for my British passport to come through now.