Covid-19 (Coronavirus) update

Our services are running at a reduced capacity. Please check our individual pages for updates on what services are running and any restrictions that are in place.

Our terms and conditions have also been updated to show the changes we have in place to keep our building, customers and colleagues safe.

Face coverings must be worn at the Register Office unless you are medically exempt.

National registration system issues

Due to technical issues with the national registration system that are out of our control, registrations may take longer than usual. You may not be able to receive certificates on the day of registration.

We thank you for your patience and apologise for any difficulties this may cause. We hope that this national issue is fixed soon.

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Citizenship ceremonies

We have naturalised over 35,000 new citizens and we have great pleasure in welcoming people officially into our British Family. Please only email us if your enquiry is urgent and your query isn't answered on this page. Reduced resources and increased demand means we may take longer than usual to respond.

Latest update - 25 June 2021

Citizenship ceremonies in Tower Hamlets are virtual until 1 September 2021. Please do not attend the register office.  If you book a group ceremony to take place from 1 September 2021, you will be invited to attend a ceremony with 50 people at our new venue St Georges Town Hall, Shadwell. If there are no limits on social distancing, you will also be able to bring a guest.

All private ceremonies after 1 September 2021 will remain virtual.

The Government easing of restrictions from the 17 May will not affect citizenship ceremonies in Tower Hamlets and we will be continuing to offer only virtual ceremonies until 1 September. 

Certificates

Certificates processed by the Home Office are now at the same rate as pre-pandemic.

Although you have 6 months from when we receive your certificate to attend a ceremony (please ignore the Home Office advice of 6 weeks for now), we actively encourage all our new citizens to book a ceremony as soon as they receive their official invitaion from the Home Office.

On completion of a ceremony your certificate can only be sent to the address provided to us by the Home Office. If you did not have this changed and you have moved, you can ask to collect your certificate instead. We send all citizenship certificates via special delivery free of charge or you can collect from our office the next day.

Group and private ceremonies

Virtual group and private ceremonies must be booked online using the links further down this page. Email confirmations are sent within 1 working day of booking

We hold at least 7 virtual group ceremonies a week on Tuesdays and Wednesdays with a maximum of 10 new citizens per ceremony. We have 15 virtual private ceremonies most Thursdays and 3 on both Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

If you book a group ceremony to take place from 1 September 2021, you will be invited to attend a ceremony with 50 people at our new venue St Georges Town Hall, Shadwell. If there are no limits on social distancing, you will also be able to bring a guest.

The process

We are aware that it can be confusing so please note the process which applies to most applications:

  • The Home Office notifies you via post of a successful application. This is your decision letter, which advises you not to contact a register office. Please do not contact us if you have only received this letter.
  • The Home Office, a number of weeks later, sends your certificate to The Register Office. We then process this onto our database and you can then book a ceremony online.
  • The Home Office, within a week of sending us the certificates, notifies you that you are to attend a citizenship ceremony. This is the Home Office invitation letter. It will ask you to contact us. Before doing so, please note the following:
    • The date on the letter is often two weeks before you receive it. Do not worry.
    • You have six months to attend a ceremony during the pandemic.
    • You do not need to contact us regarding you ceremony- you can book directly online

Virtual group ceremonies

We are currently not holding in-person group ceremonies.

Group ceremonies will involve you waiting in a virtual queue (called a lobby) until you are ready to be seen.

This is due to us protecting your privacy as you'll be required to show your photo ID and Home Office invitation.

You may be waiting alone in the lobby for 40 minutes and for this we apologise. Once seen, the ceremony will last no more than five minutes. Our ceremonies will be like this until we are able to go in-person once more.

You must be physically present in the UK in order to have a virtual ceremony.

Your certificate can only be sent to the address provided to us by the Home Office. If you did not have this changed and you have moved, you can ask to collect your certificate instead.

Book a Virtual Group Ceremony

 

Virtual private ceremonies

We continue to offer private ceremonies for a fee, which allows for a quicker ceremony much sooner.

You may also share the link with your friends and family who may join in the celebration with you. Private ceremonies will also have a longer welcome and a more ceremonial atmosphere should you chose.

You must be physically present in the UK in order to have a virtual ceremony.

Your certificate can only be sent to the address provided to us by the Home Office. If you did not have this changed and you have moved, you can ask to collect your certificate instead.

Book a Virtual Private Ceremony

Further information

All certificates received after August 2020 will be valid for six months after Tower Hamlets Register Office receives them until further notice.

You must be physically present in the UK in order to have a virtual ceremony

Our ceremonies, including payment of fees, are covered by our terms and conditions.

If you are unable to attend a ceremony in Tower Hamlets before this time, please contact the Home Office.

If you have a query not answered here, please email us.