The big day arrived! The letter came in the mail about two months after I submitted my application: I had been approved for citizenship.
First things first, I had to select a date for my ceremony, which was easy enough. Showing up on the date of the ceremony was nearly as easy. Unprecedented ease!
Ceremonies are held in your local council’s Town Hall, so on the 28th of March, we headed to Islington Town Hall. After signing in and filling out voter registration forms over tea and cookies (biscuits!), we were organized for the ceremony.
The ceremony consists of a few speeches; including one by the Mayor after which each new citizen pledges allegiance to the Sovereign (one can opt to make a religious or non-religious oath), signs the register, and receives a Certificate of Naturalization from the Mayor. After all certificates were issued, we sang the National Anthem, and were released into the wild to resume our usual activities.
We didn’t take pictures during the ceremony, as the paperwork noted that there would be a photographer present who would have pictures available for purchase. Thus, we assumed that being a British citizen was just like going on a roller coaster at Great Adventure and that we would not be allowed to take our own pictures.
FYI: Our assumption was incorrect. The photographer seemed happy to take pictures with his camera and with those belonging to the participants, which was nice to see.
So, now I find I’m being asked lots of questions.. here are a few:
1. Are you relinquishing your American citizenship?
No. I’m very fortunate to have two places to call home, both of which I am very fond.
2. Are you a dual citizen?
Basically, but to each government, I represent myself as a citizen of that country.
3. You look pretty giant in that photo. Were you the tallest person at the ceremony?
Sadly, no… but I’ll wear heels if I’m ever in a similar situation.
4. Do you have a UK Passport now?
That’s a totally separate application, but I am now eligible to apply for one.
5. Does this mean you aren’t ever moving back to the States?
No. I have no clue what’s next. Do you? If so, please email me and let me know.
6. So, your accent hasn’t changed, but do you say “sweater” or “jumper”?
Sweater, but I’ve adopted a lot of words I didn’t think I would, including: motorway, flat, lift, pavement, holiday, driving license, courgettes, aubergines, coriander, petrol, chips, tinned, dodgy, windscreen, queue, rubbish bin, sacked, stroppy, and I’ve even described a cup of tea as, “quite good”. I still spell like an American, but auto-correct is always updating what I’ve typed.