Last updated: 29 February 2024

Next review: 1 March 2025

The Home Office deals with all applications for British Citizenship.

Please visit the British Citizenship pages on GOV.UK for:

  • information on eligibility
  • application forms
  • information on fees

Checking your application documents

Over the next months, the majority of paper application forms will be withdrawn and you will need to apply online.

For this reason, we no longer provide the following services to check paper documents:

  • nationality checking service
  • national document return service

The government’s new UK Visa and Citizenship Application Service (UKVCAS) provides a range of services to help you with your online application.

Invitations that are revoked by the Home Office

If the Home Office has written informing you they are rescinding the invitation and or the certificate, they will likely state why and provide you with advice.

If the Home Office has requested that we return your certificate still in our possession, we are not instructed to volunteer this information to you. If you contact us to book a ceremony, we will let you know the certificate has been returned and provide you with the details of the Home Office team you need to contact.

Identifying the invitation letter

You can usually tell it is an invitation because it has the word Invitation in the heading.

However, this may not be easily observed if you received your naturalisation approval and the invitation as one letter or email. If the letter or email says you have been approved, you need to read further to see if it says: What you must do now. 

This means the invitation has been included in the letter or email. Contact your local council and book an appointment.

If you do not receive an invitation letter

If you do not receive your invitation letter within 4 weeks of receiving your approval letter or email, contact us.

Validity of the certificate

You must have your ceremony within 3 months of the Home Office dispatching your approval letter.

Arranging your group Citizenship Ceremony

If you have received an email from the Home Office (Invitation Letter) you can Check the status of your British Citizenship to confirm your certificate has been received. 

If your certificate has been received, you can call us to arrange your Citizenship Ceremony on telephone 020 8496 2724. 

If you live in a different borough, you can have your ceremony in Waltham Forest, with approval from the Home Office.

Receiving your certificate

It can take a minimum of 2 weeks for Waltham Forest to receive the certificate from the Home Office from the date you received your letter or email.

Booking a ceremony without the invitation letter

You will not be able to book without an invitation letter. You will need to bring the invitation letter with you to the ceremony. Even if we have received the certificate from the Home Office, you must have your invitation letter first.

Family bookings to attend the ceremony 

Remember you do not have to book an appointment for your children if they are under 18, you just need to let us know they will be attending. If your initial date is unable to accommodate all the adults in the family, you can book the next available date, or you may wish to book a private ceremony. You have 3 months from the date of your letter within which to book your ceremony.

Booking on behalf of someone else

We are unable to accept a booking on behalf of another adult without their permission. We would need to speak with the individual, to get their consent.

Booking an appointment for those who do not speak English

For the purpose of data protection, we need to go through security questions with the citizen before a booking can be made on their behalf by another person.

Receiving an appointment to a different email address

We can send your appointment letter to a partner, husband, or wife. We can send it to an email of your choice, but you will have to give consent.

What to bring to the ceremony

You must bring your invitation letter from the Home Office.

If you received your invitation via email, you must bring a printed copy together with photo ID to your appointment.

Number of guests permitted

One guest per family.

You are allowed one additional guest to join you at the ceremony.  If you are having a private ceremony, you are allowed a total of 10 guests.

Private citizenship ceremony

If you would like to celebrate your citizenship in privacy, with your family and friends or prefer not to attend a group ceremony,  we can offer a private ceremony which allows you to bring up to 10 guests. There is an additional fee for private citizenship ceremonies, Monday evenings £130, Tuesday afternoons £100 and weekends £150. 

To arrange a private citizenship ceremony please call the Citizenship team on 020 8496 3000

Naturalisation certificate

A naturalisation certificate proves you’re a British citizen with the right to have a British passport and vote. You will be presented with your certificate at the citizenship ceremony.

Travelling around before or after the ceremony

After the ceremony, you will be required to return your biometric card to the Home Office. It is not advisable that you travel before receiving your UK passport, which can take up to 3 months.

Update: European passport return service (EPRS)

For information about European passport return service (ERPS) please see the GOV.UK website

Contact Register Office

If you need to contact the Register Office, please use the Register a general enquiry form or call us on 0208 496 3000.

Help with completing online forms

For those without computers, you can use a self-service PC in any Waltham Forest Library

Staff there can help you to log in and create a MyAccount.