Long wait for British Passport as oath to Queen ceremonies delayed in Suffolk
- Credit: PA
Suffolk residents from foreign countries were unable to meet the last step to become citizens during the pandemic.
Ceremonies, allowing those wanting to be citizens to get a British Passport, have been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic leaving some applicants waiting.
Home Office figures show 339 people attended citizenship ceremonies in Suffolk in 2020 – down 31% from 494 the year before. A total of 8,667 people have gained citizenship in the county since 2004.
An oath of allegiance to the Queen and pledge to respect the rights, freedoms and laws of the UK are part of ceremonies.
Steve Ballinger, director of communications at the think tank British Future, said: “Registrars worked hard but Covid meant many citizenship ceremonies were delayed – and adults don’t get their papers until they have attended the ceremony.
"People were left waiting for the security and sense of belonging that citizenship brings."
A Home Office spokesman said local authorities paused in-person ceremonies to put the health of the public first, but they have now restarted.