There were smiles all round when Luton burns survivor Shamiam Arif’s parents became British citizens recently.
Mum Tahira said: “It’s the day we thought we’d never see.
“Now Shamiam’s future in this country is assured and we won’t have the worry of applying for medical visas every three years.”
The family came to Britain when 16-year-old Shamiam was a baby. She suffered devastating burns after a candle fell into her cot in Pakistan.
The tiny tot’s life was saved at St Andrews Centre for Plastic Surgery and Burns in Chelmsford with renowned surgeon Peter Dziewulski giving his services for free.
She subsequently went on to become a popular figure in Luton where her family settled. She’s currently studying media at Barnfield College .
A council spokesman said: “After the amount of support Shamiam and her family have received from the people of Luton, we are delighted that they chose to hold their citizenship ceremony in the town that has taken them so much to their hearts.
“The ceremony was conducted by registrar Carmel Osborne and celebrant staff from the Luton Register Office were in attendance to confer the honour of citizenship upon them.
“The family affirmed an oath to the Sovereign, made a pledge of commitment and were presented with certificates of naturalisation.”
> The fee for Naturalisation is £1,330 per adult and each applicant needs to have lived in the UK for at least five years to be eligible. A sufficient level of the English Language is required and applicants have to pass an online Life in the UK test, together with a Trinity College speaking and listening test.
Group ceremonies are held in Luton each month at Hart House Business Centre while private ceremonies are at the Register Office and total approximately 1,000 each year.