New legislation now makes it compulsory for all new British citizens to receive their citizenship papers at a local ceremony conducted by the Council's registration service.
The form of the ceremony itself comprises certain core elements including the oath of allegiance and a pledge of citizenship.
A welcome is given to the new citizen by the registrar which will acknowledge the new citizen, welcome them into the British community and remind them of the privileges of citizenship and the right and responsibilities that go along with this.
The registrar will then invite the new citizen to swear an oath of allegiance to Her Majesty the Queen.
Thereafter the registrar will invite the new citizen to take the new citizenship pledge.
The registrar arranging the ceremony may invite local dignitaries to attend and make a congratulatory speech and welcome the new British citizen into the local community in Moray.
Thereafter new citizens will be presented with certificates of citizenship.
Any person making an application needs to provide evidence that they not only speak the English language but also that they can demonstrate knowledge of life in the United Kingdom. This evidence can be obtained in one of two ways dependent on the standard of the applicant's English.
For more information about the criteria for obtaining British nationality, please visit the UK Border Agency website.
Applicants with a reasonable knowledge of English will be able to take a short new computerised test at one of 90 Life in the UK Test centres. This will be a little like taking a theory-driving test. The questions will be based on the information contained in Chapters 2, 3 and 4 of the handbook "Life in the United Kingdom: A Journey to Citizenship" which is available from bookshops and The Stationery Office for £9.99. Successful completion of the test will testify the language requirement as well as the knowledge of life requirement.
Further details about the tests are available on the Citizenship website.
At present only five centres in Scotland at Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness will be available for candidates to undertake the tests. Some delay in the approval process for new citizens will be inevitable, as will an increase in costs, both with regard to the fee for the test and in travelling to a test centre.
Alternatively, applicants whose English is not so good will need to complete an ESOL with citizenship classes which are language courses that include learning information about life in the UK.
Elgin Registration Office
240 High Street
Tel: 01343 554600