British citizenship is only officially acquired after attending the ceremony, not when the Home Office makes a decision to accept the application.

It is no longer possible for people living in the UK, to have their ceremonies abroad

However, those who applied on the basis of marriage to a British spouse are not subject to the Future Intentions requirement, and should be able to have a ceremony abroad.

Members who applied on the basis of marriage have successfully had their ceremonies transferred abroad.

The ceremony has to be booked within three weeks of the date of the approval letter, that's where the 14 days mentioned in the letter come in, because the letter often takes a week to arrive.

The home office reference number is the number you receive when you submit the application, your application reference number.

Please note that your council's records may not be updated as soon as you receive the approval letter from the Home Office, it may take some time for the council to get your details on their system, and they cannot make a booking until they have your details on record.

Some councils send a separate invitation which gives a date and time, while others expect the person to phone and book direct.


It may be worth speaking to the council to see how they handle things and whether they can book a provisional place in anticipation of them being notified by the Home Office and receiving your naturalisation certificate.

It is possible to book a private ceremony, but an extra fee will be payable for this, you need to contact your council to ask.

What happens if there is no availability with the local authority in the next 3 months?

Answer from one of our lawyers:

I don’t think it’s a problem to take the ceremony just after 3 months as long as it’s arranged in time and you get something in writing from the local authority confirming that they are fully booked in the next three months and the next ceremony you can attend is a bit later than that. The local authorities liaise with the Home Office regarding preparation of the naturalisation certificates, so they should explain that your should be ready when your ceremony is booked.
Changing the ceremony date

If you have booked your ceremony, or it was booked for you by the council, you need to contact the council in first instance. They may ask you to contact the Home Office.

If you have a BRP, you need to return it within 5 days of your ceremony or face a hefty fine.

If you are not sure whether you have a BRP or not, see: Returning Biometric Residence Permits (BRPs) after the ceremony - UKCEN Citizenship and Residence for European Nationals and their families

For more information about the ceremony, see: UKCEN Citizenship and Residence for European Nationals and their families



Due to ongoing COVID restrictions, you will have up to 6 months to book your ceremony instead of the usual 12 weeks.

Some councils do virtual ceremonies.

If you haven't received your ceremony invitation letter

Contact the nationality team:


nationalityenquiries@homeoffice.gov.uk

FurtherNationalityEnquiries@homeoffice.gov.uk

CT3CaseworkEnquiries@homeoffice.gov.uk

citizenship.support@homeoffice.gov.uk

Further Nationality Enquiries contact number: 0300 123 2253