Successfully applied to become a British Citizen? Here’s what you must do next!

Congratulations! Your application to become a British Citizen has been successful and you have the Home Office letter to prove it.

You have contacted the local council to arrange your attendance at the citizenship ceremony and invited your nearest and dearest to witness you becoming a British national.

At the ceremony, you will receive your certificate of British citizenship and welcome pack.

And then onto the next step – applying for your British passport. It’s exciting isn’t it?!

Yes. Only there are a few things that you need to be aware of.

After you attend the citizenship ceremony and receive your certificate of British citizenship, your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) is no longer appropriate for your circumstances. That’s because you have formally become British and your BRP does not reflect this.

To address this, the Home Office requires that you return the BRP to them by post within 5 days of attending the ceremony or receiving the certificate of British citizenship.

Did I say ‘require’? It would be better to say ‘insist’ as failure to return your BRP to the Home Office after attending a citizenship ceremony can result in a fine of up to £1,000.

The BRP must be returned to (correct as of today’s date):

POL Returns 
PO Box 195 
BS20 1BT.

The BRP shouldn’t merely be placed in an envelope and posted but should be cut into several pieces and placed in a windowless envelope with a note. That note should contain brief wording such as:

‘I am returning my permit because I have become a British citizen’.

Apart from ensuring that you return your BRP within 5 days of attending the citizenship ceremony or receiving your certificate of British citizenship, it all seems straightforward, right?

Wrong! What happens if you have travel booked or plan to travel but cannot afford to wait 6 weeks to receive your new British passport?

Can you attend the ceremony, receive your certificate of British citizenship, travel with your original overseas passport and re-enter the UK with your BRP? After all, the BRP will show that you are entitled to reside in the UK and hasn’t expired.

The firm answer is no.

Once you have attended the citizenship ceremony or received your certificate of British citizenship you cannot hold onto the BRP and travel with it once you. You will instead need to be in possession of a British passport or Right of Abode Certificate to enter the UK.

If you do have travel booked, in such circumstances, it may be best to delay booking and attending the citizenship ceremony.

Normally, you will have 3 months from receipt of the Home Office letter of your application outcome to book and attend the ceremony. It your travel is booked to take place within that time, it may be best to contact your local council and explain the situation to them.

Council officials are extremely helpful and may possibly arrange for you to attend the ceremony at the latest available date. This may give you sufficient time to complete your travels and return to the UK using your BRP before attending the ceremony. This option will not be available if your certificate of British citizenship has been sent to you instead.

The main thing is that having gone through the process of qualifying for British citizenship, applying and being successful, it wold be a shame to become subject to a fine because you did not return your BRP or at worst, have no way of proving your immigration status when returning to the UK after your travels.

Hopefully, following this short guide will help you focus on what’s important, celebrating the outcome of your application to become a British citizen!

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22 Replies to “Successfully applied to become a British Citizen? Here’s what you must do next!”

  1. Hi Thomas,

    My citizenship ceremony will take place soon. Do I have to apply for my British passport straight away?
    Or if I can wait with sending out my application form for a bit, is there a deadline?

    1. Congratulations Zsuzsanna.

      British citizens are not required to apply for a British passport.

      So there is certainly no rush to apply for a passport.

  2. Hi,
    I did’t know that the BRP card will be sent within five days. In the letter they didn’t mention 5 days. I sent my card 18 days later after ceremony. Will there be any problem?
    Thanks in advance

    1. Hello Derya,

      There are unlikely to be any issues, as the document was returned to UKVI within a reasonable timeframe.

  3. So I’ve got a vignette in my passport for my indefinite leave to remain, not a BRP as I got my visa years ago! So does that mean that I CAN travel home to Canada after the citizenship ceremony while waiting for my British passport?? I don’t have a BRP to surrender and my vignette visa is in my expired passport. I think I’m in a fairly unique situation and can’t seem to find the answer. Thanks a lot!!

    1. Hi Jo-Ann Binns,

      When a person naturalises as a British citizen, they will become free from immigration control and entitled to automatically re-enter the UK.

      If the person holds a BRP evidencing their previous indefinite status, they will be required to cut the BRP into pieces and return it to UKVI. Non-compliance can lead to a fine.

      This is somewhat difficult when the person’s indefinite status takes the form of a visa vignette that was not transferred to a BRP. But the same principle applies – the person is not expected to rely on the visa vignette either.

      By presenting the UK immigration official at the border with a BRP or visa vignette to gain entry to the UK, the person is effectively providing a document to which they are no longer entitled.

      To avoid any issues, we suggest that the person delays attending the citizenship ceremony until after their travel. Alternatively, travel should be booked once the British passport has been secured.

      1. Thanks very much. It’s what I assumed as well. Surely all my details will be on line if I travel abroad, especially since we aren’t required to complete landing cards anymore. I’m going to ring the UKVI to get the full answer before I book anywhere 🙂

  4. Hi I have a question can I travel before booking the citizenship ceremony , as I have received invitation letter can you please tell me

    1. UKVI guidance states that you must book the citizenship ceremony within 3 months of the invitation.

      A person is able to travel before attending the ceremony. Once they attend and officially become a British citizenship, they should apply for a British passport to prove their right to re-enter the UK.

  5. Hi I just got my British citizenship certificate and I’ve got dual nationality Nigeria and Britain can I travel with my Nigerian passport and British citizenship certificate without a visa to the UK

    1. ”Can you attend the ceremony, receive your certificate of British citizenship, travel with your original overseas passport and re-enter the UK with your BRP? After all, the BRP will show that you are entitled to reside in the UK and hasn’t expired.

      The firm answer is no.”

  6. Hello, I have a question. I have a card of 6-pages of the Document Certifying Permanent Residence. Should I send it to the Home Office after i got a certificate of naturalization?

  7. Hello, my certificate of naturalisation was incorrect and have sent it back to be corrected.

    Should I keep my BRP until I receive my amended certificate or should I send it back now?

    1. Hi Patricia,

      Naturalisation is a big step, so well done.

      As soon as a person attends the ceremony and pledged their allegiance, they officially became a British citizen. As such, Biometric Residence Permit is no longer reflective of the person’s status and must be returned to the UL.

      Hope that helps.

      1. Thanks Thomas.

        As I sent my certificate to be amended , do you know how long it can take for it to be change and send back to me?
        Many Thanks

          1. Thanks Thomas, do you know if I should receive a letter from them confirming that the change is in process?


  8. Hi
    Thanks for the info. I have a question though: i have an indefinite leave to remain (refugee status) and my British citizenship has just been approved. I know I need to return my BRP, but do I also need to return my Geneva convention travel document?

    1. Hi M,

      Glad the info is of help.

      In general, a person holding indefinite leave to remain based on their refugee status may naturalise as a British citizen, subject to meeting the nationality requirements.

      As to what happens to the person’s status following a successful application, the Home Office states that:

      ‘… if you are currently regarded as a refugee in the United Kingdom, you will lose that status if you naturalise as a British citizen.’

      See page 3 of the Home Office’s guidance at:

      Hope that helps.

    1. Hi Olga,

      The document certifying your permanent residence status is different from the BRP.

      However, the document evidences that you have ‘settlement’ status in the UK.

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