Neuronal cilia that are formed at the dendritic endings of sensory neurons are essential for sensory perception. However, it remains unclear how the centriole-derived basal body is positioned to form a template for cilium formation. Using fluorescence time-lapse microscopy, we show that the centriole translocates from the cell body to the dendrite tip in the Caenorhabditis elegans sensory neurons. The centriolar protein SAS-5 interacts with the dynein light-chain LC8 and conditional mutations of cytoplasmic dynein-1 block centriole translocation and ciliogenesis. The components of the central tube are essential for the biogenesis of centrioles, which later drive ciliogenesis in the dendrite; however, the centriole loses these components at the late stage of centriole translocation and subsequently recruits transition zone and intraflagellar transport proteins. Together, our results provide a comprehensive model of ciliogenesis in sensory neurons and reveal the importance of the dynein-dependent centriole translocation in this process.