Drop in citizenship ceremonies in Fife blamed on pandemic
Fewer people in Fife became British citizens last year after participating in special citizenship ceremonies, figures show.
The think tank British Future said many ceremonies have been delayed across the UK due to the coronavirus pandemic, leaving applicants waiting for the security that citizenship provides.
Home Office figures show 109 people attended citizenship ceremonies in Fife in 2020 – down 36% from 169 the year before.
It means that since the figures were first published in 2004, 2,389 people have gained citizenship in the area.
The events are the final step in the process to full citizenship and being able to obtain a British passport, but were suspended for large parts of 2020 due to Covid-19.
Participants are asked to make an oath of allegiance to the Queen and pledge to respect the rights, freedoms and laws of the UK.
They are then presented with a certificate of British citizenship and a welcome pack.
Madeleine Sumption, director of the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford said: “During the pandemic, the process of becoming a British citizen has been slower and more uncertain than in the past.
"This is partly because of the difficulty scheduling a citizenship ceremony, which remained a requirement even though many local authorities were not offering ceremonies due to Covid-19."
A Home Office spokesman said local authorities paused in-person ceremonies to put the health of the public first, but they have now restarted.
He added: “We continue to work closely with local authorities to ensure anyone who requires a British citizenship ceremony can attend one as quickly as possible."