As Brexit looms, there has been a spike in the number of British citizenship ceremonies being held in Derby. As the country counts down to the ‘Brexit Day’ deadline, the ceremonies, which officially confirm UK citizenship status for foreign nationals, have risen by as much as 80 percent from 2015 to 2016.
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UK Visas and Immigration and the UK Government have provided some details on what will happen to EU citizens in the UK after Brexit. It seems that most will be able to stay in the UK as long as they have arrived in the UK by 31 December 2020. However, some EU citizens are still worried about what will happen after Brexit.
The surge in citizenship ceremonies has been attributed to the uncertainty surrounding the rights of foreigners to remain in Britain in the aftermath of Brexit. In 2015, Derby hosted 275 citizenship ceremonies, increasing to 492 in 2016, according to the most recent Home Office data, representing a 78.91 percent increase – the highest in the East Midlands region.
Across Derbyshire County, citizenship ceremonies were up slightly by 4.14 percent with 169 taking place in 2015, increasing to 176 in 2016. The East Midlands saw a total of 3,282 ceremonies in 2015, but by 2016 this had risen to 4,738 – an increase of 44.4 percent.
Derby a global community
A spokesperson for Derby City Council said: “Derby has so much to offer, and we are pleased that so many people are choosing to call our wonderful city home. We are fortunate to have a huge variety of people living and working in the city. People are coming to Derby from around the globe and contributing to the city and the surrounding area.”
The spokesperson emphasised the importance of British values and culture, which foreigners must immerse themselves in to enable them to integrate effectively and contribute as much as possible to the local economy.
In 2003 the Government introduced a requirement for people applying for naturalisation or registration as a British Citizen to take a citizenship oath and pledge at a Citizenship Ceremony.
“The Citizenship Ceremony is a wonderful way for us to welcome our new residents to the city. So far this year we have had 170 people take part in Citizenship Ceremonies,” the spokesperson added.
Citizenship ceremonies increase across Britain
Up and down Britain, 111,596 ceremonies occurred in 2016, up by more than a third compared with 2015, when 84,721 took place.
To qualify for British citizenship, applicants must complete the obligatory ‘Life in the UK’ exam at one of 60 test centres located across the country. Foreign residents living in Derby can take the test at the Business Advice Direct building in St Peters House, Gower Street. The cost to take the exam is £50.
Like in the UK test
The Life in The UK exam features 24 questions about British life, history and traditions, which candidates will have 45 minutes to complete. A score of 18/24 (75 percent) is needed to pass.
Upon passing the exam, candidates are issued with a ‘pass notification letter’ within five minutes, which certifies that they have passed the test and can be used as part of a citizenship application.
After satisfying initial criteria, applicants can then complete an Application for Naturalisation (AN) form and pay the £1,282 fee in order for the application to be considered. Additional biometric information must also be provided at a cost of £19.20.
The outcome of an application is generally decided within six months and could lead to an interview summons. If an application is successful, a ceremony appointment will need to be booked. Ceremonies take place in groups and can be booked through a local council at a cost of £80.
As part of the ceremony, candidates must pledge to respect the rights, freedoms and laws of the UK and swear an oath of allegiance to the Queen. If the candidate agrees to these conditions, a certificate of British Citizenship will be issued.
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