‘We are all here for a citizenship ceremony this afternoon, is that correct?’ the council registrar asked. A general mutter of assent. ‘This is a formal occasion so no jeans, no trainers. If you need to go home and change, you can do that now.’ No one had mentioned a dress code. Naturalisation is an arduous process that requires masses of documentation, costs hundreds or even thousands of pounds in legal and Home Office fees, and typically takes years: it seemed a bit tough suddenly to throw up this last hurdle. Fortunately the only inappropriately dressed person was me.
Hugh Miles at the LRB blog.
A bit taken aback. I'm a naturalised British citizen. This did take a long time and a certain amount of interaction with British bureaucracy. But - hundreds or even thousands of pounds? Blimey. At some point it did involve turning up at Lunar House, Croydon at 5am or so to queue to get a ticket to present documentation to someone or other round about 9. Months then went by. At some point I got a letter approving my application, subject to pledge of allegiance in the presence of an appropriate person. If I remember correctly, I'd gone to Oxford to go through the Japanese in my book with a couple of experts, walked into a solicitor's office, got the solicitor to see me through the drill and certify, sent off the papers. I'm not saying it wasn't an ungodly hassle, but
Not to be unkind, I tend to look askance at the people who tell you they'll facilitate this kind of thing. There are plenty of immigration experts who claim to facilitate for a fee. They may do so. For all I know, if you hire the right people, you can skip the 5am queue at Croydon. In my experience, though, at least, it's pretty straighforward to see whether you have right of residence and have been resident for the relevant length of time, get the relevant forms and send them in. You do have to pay a fee. The solicitor also charged some sort of fee (under £50, as far as I can remember). It's really a lot easier than becoming a US citizen: this requires you to prepare for an exam, one most people born in the country couldn't pass to save their life.
[PS A commenter points out that rules have changed, it is now necessary to pass an exam and also to pay a fee of £735. So I'm obviously completely out of touch. ]