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British Citizenship and Ceremonies

A person resident in the Bailiwick of Guernsey who wishes to apply for British citizenship can do so through the Office of the Lieutenant Governor. Applications are dealt with initially by the Immigration & Nationality Division of the Guernsey Border Agency.  A person may be eligible to either Naturalise or Register as a British Citizen under British Nationality legislation. The applicable law is the British Nationality Act 1981 which applies uniformly throughout each separate jurisdiction in the British Isles

Naturalisation is the customary method by which adults apply for citizenship and is at the discretion of the Lieutenant Governor based on statutory criteria such as residence, language, knowledge of life in the UK and Islands and good character.

Registration is a similar process but mainly for minors and persons who already hold a British nationality other than British citizenship. In some cases there is an entitlement to register.

Applications for Naturalisation as a British citizen can be made after three years residence in those cases where the applicant is married to a British citizen and after  a period of five years residence in other cases.

The process of both Naturalisation and Registration involve a number of stages and can take several months to complete. 

Since 28 October 2013 those persons seeking to apply to naturalise as British citizens are now required  to pass a Citizen Test and have a speaking and listening qualification in English at B1 CEFR (Common European Framework of References for Languages) or higher, or an equivalent level qualification.  Applicants who are nationals of a majority English speaking country or who have obtained an academic degree taught in English are considered automatically to meet the English language requirement.

The new requirements are to encourage those wishing to become British citizens to demonstrate their commitment by learning English and have an understanding of British history, culture and traditions.
The Citizenship Test is based on the handbook 'Life in the United Kingdom' and the Bailiwick of Guernsey supplement.

Successful candidates must attend a Citizenship Ceremony at a sitting of the Ordinary Division of the Royal Court (the Bailiff plus three Jurats).

At the Court hearing candidates for Naturalisation and adult Registration all of whom will have fulfilled the conditions precedent will be required to swear either an Oath of Allegiance to the Sovereign or if a non-religious option is preferred, they may declare an Affirmation of Allegiance to the Sovereign.

Candidates will also be required to make a Pledge to be loyal and respect rights and freedoms and to uphold the democratic values of the 'United Kingdom'. This reference to the United Kingdom requires some explanation. Exceptionally the Nationality Act includes, with the consent of Guernsey, Jersey, Alderney, Sark and the Isle of Man, a legal definition which defines for the purposes of nationality only, the Crown Dependencies.

After candidates have taken the oath or affirmation, taken the pledge and been addressed by the Bailiff the Certificates, to which the newly naturalised or registered British citizen are entitled, will be presented by the Lieutenant-Governor or on his behalf by the Secretary to the Lieutenant-Governor.

For more specific and detailed information regarding the process of Naturalisation or Registration please contact the Immigration and Nationality Division on +44 (0)1481 741400, Email: or in writing to Immigration and Nationality Division, New Jetty, White Rock, St Peter Port, Guernsey, GY1 2LL.

Information and application forms can also be found at the UK Border Agency Website.