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!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

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

  1. Hi, we had our citizenship ceremony virtually on the 12 of October, my partner got a call the next day that his father is in critical condition and needs to get to south Africa immediately, we got him on a flight that night. We received our certificates 5 days later. He is returning next week on his residence permit, due to being unable to apply for a passport, is he going to face issues coming in through border patrol?

  2. Hi. Very useful information. I do have a question: I’ve been successful on my British Citizenship application. Do have my ceremony next week. I will have dual citizenship, the British and my original one. Can I still travel on my foreign passport whilst I wait to receive my first British one ?? I know that I need to return my BRP, but will be fine to show my Certificate of British Citizenship (the one I will receive after the ceremony) when re-entering the UK ?? Thanks in advance

  3. Hello
    Hope you are well. Can you please let me know what documents are required for applying for the passport ?
    Thank you

  4. Good morning,
    would you please advise on what should be done if the local authority says that the invitation for naturalisation ceremony is expired though it is less than 6months from the issue date on Home Office letter (1st of September)? thank you

    1. Hello Alina,

      A person that had successfully applied to naturalise as a British citizen must book their citizenship ceremony within 3 months of the date of the Citizenship Invitation Letter.

      Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the deadline for booking the ceremony was extended to 6 months with many local authorities moving the ceremonies from in-person events to virtual ones.

      If for some reason, the person did not book the citizenship ceremony within the time stipulated within the Citizenship Invitation Letter, the person will be required to contact UKVI to explain the circumstances and to resolve the matter.

      If an immigration adviser had assisted with the application to naturalise, that adviser may be best placed to make contact with UKVI.

  5. Hi! I have a question. I recently had my ceremony and got the certificate for citizenship. I was just wondering If I can still use my overseas passport (philippines-valid till 2022) as a proof of identity. I have a exam that need to be book for next month. And I think, if I apply for british passport, I wont be able to get it on time as the processing will takes 6 weeks or even longer.
    Thank you

    1. Hello Jhen,

      Congratulations on your citizenship.

      In general, a settled person may use their passport (or Travel Document) and Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) to re-enter the UK.

      Once the person attends their citizenship ceremony, where they will officially become a British citizen, the BRP will no longer reflect their immigration status.

      As such, the person must return the BRP to UKVI and will be precluded from using the document any further. Instead, they will be expected to produce a British passport at the border.

      Hope this helps.

  6. Hello Michael,

    It is not strictly necessary for UK passport holders to retain their certificate of naturalisation, though some clients prefer to keep the document for their records or for personal reasons.

    If you would like to request a duplicate certificate of naturalisation, you may do so by completing Form NC – see link:

    Applications can also be made online:

    There is a charge of £250.

    All the best.

  7. Hello Thomas,

    I got my citizenship ceremony on the 15th August 2020, both my children took it with me but they’re dates on the certificate is February 2020.

    I did not know I had to return my BRP and my children’s, I’m hoping to return them soon. Will there be any repercussions?

    Thank you

    1. I have been waiting for more the 6 months and I still haven’t got the letter yet please guys can you help me what can I do nexts it’s there possible to contact to home office

  8. Hi there I’ve just got my citizenship certificate and tomorrow I will send my BRP to the relevant address now what I wanna know about the first time passport is what is required cause as usual is super vague about everything like running in circles so here’s what I got

    1: 2 passport pictures = Done
    2: Birth Certificate = Done
    3: My Passport = Done
    4: if I’m born on or after 1 January 1983 evidence of one parent’s British Nationality for example their U.K. Birth or Adoption,Naturalisation or registration certificate (now my father is still a Indian Citizens with indefinite leave to remain in the U.K. so he doesn’t wanna get a U.K. citizenship or a passport and my real mother is a citizen of USA they got divorced long time ago so my step mother is a U.K. Citizen but I don’t see why I have to provide that proof what if I got married to a Woman or a Man U know it’s a different world now then the Stone Age) why should they care about it and the other thing is it says “if these documents relate to your father, you must include the marriage certificate showing when he married your mother” or your New Mother why does it have to be the father it can be you’re mother married you’re new father…. sorry for venting out here cause I should be doing it to the home office people cause they always annoyed me during the whole process..

  9. Hi Thomas
    I got British citizenship in December 2019 through my mom being British (UKM form).
    I have not received back all my original documents, passports and certificates and now am extremely concerned.
    I have tried to request document return on line but this form is not for people outside UK, when I follow steps for Outside UK goes back to the application site and when I call them they tell me they cannot help as they only assist with applications only. I have called several other lines including passport and no one can help??
    I cannot apply for UK passport as they require some of above mentioned documents, and I cannot fly to UK to sort this out as I have no passport as it is sitting in the UKVI offices in Liverpool.

    Please help, in limbo in South Africa.

  10. Hi Thomas,

    Can I travel outside of UK (for a short visit of 15days) after applying for citizenship awaiting the letter from home office? I have ILR.


    1. Hello Raj,

      Much will depend on the basis with which you hold ILR.

      Unfortunately, we cannot provide specific advice in this forum. If in doubt, you may wish to contact UKVI.

  11. Hi Thomas
    I will shortly attend my citizenship ceremony. After this, do i need to do another application for the British passport? I thought all was done online.

  12. Hello Thomas,
    Can you give a brief about the Passport applying procedure after getting my naturalization done?
    Also, I have an ILR for Europen Family Member
    do I need to cut it and return it?


  13. Hi,

    Can one apply for passport and go to travel before it gets passport back proving that new passport will be send to him by friend?


  14. I attended my British Citizen on 14/07/2019 and we were told that we will automatically receive our British passports within four weeks. I am going on holiday first week of September. Am I going to have my passport by then?

    1. Hello Rachel,

      In general, applications for the first British passport can take up to 6 weeks to process.

      This application process is separate to the application to naturalise.

  15. Dear Thomas,

    I became a British citizen yesterday, and I just heard -and read- that BRP must be returned within five days. I do not hold a BRP, however, I do hold a Permanent Residence Permit, which I got last year after 5 years spent here as an EU citizen. Am I correct to assume that I do not need to send back my PRP? Some people have suggested to me that I should do that saying that they phoned Home Office and were told to send it in as if it was BRP.

    What is your take on this? Do you suggest I should send it or keep it? Thanks a lot!

    Best regards

    1. Hello Karoly,

      Congratulations on becoming a British citizen!

      Unfortunately, we cannot provide specific advice in this forum.

      If you have any concerns, we suggest that you contact UKVI on 0300 123 2253 or via email at [email protected].

        1. Hi Samer,

          The Biometric Residence Permit must be cut into several pieces and returned to UKVI.

          Full details can be found above.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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 🙂

    2. I am about to book my citizenship ceremony but travelling to france in sept. Do you know how long it takes to get a passport from there? I think i can still travel in my south african passport.

      1. Hello Jade,

        Applications for the first British passport can take up to 3 weeks.

        Once a person attends the Citizenship Ceremony, and becomes a British citizen, they will no longer be entitled to use their Biometric Residence Permit to re-enter the UK.

        As such, some people find it helpful to wait until their return from their travels, before attending the Citizenship Ceremony.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.”

  21. 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?

  22. 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?


  23. 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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *