(this post is an edited version of something I wrote on my personal (i.e. not public) Facebook, that friends & family seemed to enjoy so am sharing it here)
Last week, ten years (technically ten years and twenty-nine days) after moving to the UK, I was sworn in as a British citizen.
Hold your Brexit jokes, please. Despite the current government and political climate, I’m incredibly proud of the UK and to be a citizen.
I do feel that citizenship is not just a right, but a responsibility and it is an honour and privilege to officially be part of this country. I’m also very aware that there are people who are literally dying for a chance to live here, so I don’t take it lightly.
In case you’re curious, a few FAQs…
What took you so long? The biggest hold up has been the sheer volume of paperwork, namely documenting every trip I’ve taken within a three year window. As may know, I travel a lot…so that was a daunting task that just had to get done.
Did I take the (Life In The UK) test? Yep, I did. I actually enjoyed the process, but it’s a bit like cramming for an exam. You hold it all in your head for about 48 hours and sadly much of the info has slipped away.
Was there a ceremony? Oh yeah. It was all very official, held in the main chambers of Camden Council. I think there were about fifty of us, from at least thirty different countries, including Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Russia, USA, Australia, and of course, Canada.
Do I have to give up my Canadian passport? Nope. The UK allows dual citizenship. And since technically the Queen is the head of state for Canada, it’s an easy transition.
Did I swear allegiance to the Queen? Yes. In fact, there were two recitations. The first was: “I Jeffrey Norton do solemnly and sincerely affirm that on becoming a British Citizen I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Her Heirs and Successors, according to law.”
The second was a pledge: “I will give my loyalty to the United Kingdom and respect its rights and freedoms. I will uphold its democratic values. I will observe its laws faithfully and fulfil my duties and obligations as a British citizen.”
Who is that standing with you? Not too sure, actually…she totally photo bombed. 🙂 That’s the mayor of Camden (which is a large borough in London). Her name is Nadia Shah and she presided over the ceremony.
Did they check for a British accent? No. But I am looking forward to the first raised eyebrow at the UK Border when I give them my (soon to be delivered) UK passport with a friendly Canadian/American “good morning.”