Do I Need to Say “Ashhadu” When Converting to Islam?

Do I need to say “ashhadu” when converting to Islam?
Dear questioner,
May Allah bless you and increase you in good.
A person who believes in Islam as the true religion from God is a Muslim.
A Muslim is anyone who believes in One God (Allah), believes in the Prophet Muhammad as the Messenger of God, and accepts the guidance that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) came with as true.

The Utterance of the Shahada

The utterance of the actual shahada is good and should be performed for practical purposes and public benefit [i.e., marriage, inheritance, hajj, etc.]
There is a slight difference of opinion among the scholars concerning the actual words of ” ashhadu” or I bear witness. It is more cautious to say “Ashhadu,” or I bear witness, for both testimonies [La ilaha ill Allah and Muhammad Rasulullah] to avoid the difference of opinion. However, it is also acceptable if it is uttered without the words of “ashhadu.”
Please also refer to this answer about this topic:
Also, see this article about converting to Islam:
[Imam] Yama Niazi
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani