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British Citizenship Test (A Guide!)

A mandatory requirement when applying to naturalise as a British citizen is that applicants pass the British citizenship test, as well as having a language qualification in English at B1 CEFR or higher, or its equivalent.


Is the British citizenship test different to the Life in the UK test?

The British citizenship test and the Life in the UK test are the same; they both refer to the mandatory assessment of the applicant’s knowledge of British culture, geography, history and politics required for to make an application to naturalise as a British citizen. The test is sometimes also referred to as the Britishness test or the UK nationality test.


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What is the British citizenship handbook?

You will be tested on information in the official handbook for the Life in the UK Test.

The handbook has information about:

  • UK history
  • The British government
  • UK geography
  • Local culture


All questions in the test are taken at random from the handbook. It also contains sample questions and answers, as well as study guides that can help you pass the test. Practising questions from the handbook is effective in improving pass rates.

British citizenship test practice questions are widely available online and you are encouraged to practise to prepare for the test.


How many questions are on the British citizenship exam?

There are 24 multiple choice questions about British customs, traditions, laws and the political system.


How long does the test last?

You will have 45 minutes to answer all 24 questions. You should allow two hours for being at the test centre, to allow time to arrive, verify your ID documents, to sit the test, await the results and receive your pass/fail certificate.

You will find out the result after the test and will be issued either a pass or fail certificate.

In total, you should allow 2 hours for the entire process, including identity checks on arrival and 45 minutes for the test itself.


What score do you need to pass the British nationality test?

You have to answer at least 18 questions correctly to pass – ie you will need to score at least 75% to pass the test.


What are the British citizenship test exemptions?

Anyone applying for British citizenship or to settle in the UK must take the Life in the UK test, unless you qualify under one of the following exemptions:

  • You are under 18 or over 65
  • You have a long-term physical or mental condition, which you must confirm with a letter from a doctor.


Do ILR holders have to sit the British citizenship test?

If you passed the Life in the UK test as part of your ILR application, it won’t be necessary to take the test again for your citizenship application.

You will instead submit your Life in the UK test certificate as proof you have satisfied the mandatory requirement.


How much is the British citizenship test?

The British citizenship test costs £50 to sit.

This fee is non-refundable if you fail, or if you attempt to book at a test centre that is not local to your home address.


Where do I take the British citizenship test?

There are around thirty test centres in the UK. You will be asked to select one closest to where you live. You must bring proof of your address to the test.

If the centre is not close to where you live, you will not be allowed to sit the test and you will not get a refund.


How do I book my British citizenship test?

Book the test online at least three days in advance of the date you want to take it. In order to book, you will need to provide a valid email address, debit or credit card and an acceptable form of ID:

  • passport; or
  • UK photocard driving licence – full or provisional; or
  • convention travel document (CTD), certificate of identity document (CID) or stateless person document (SPD); or
  • EU identity card; or
  • immigration status document endorsed with a UK residence permit that has a photo; or
  • biometric residence permit.


What happens if I pass the test?

If you pass, you will be able to use your Life in the UK certificate to proceed with your application for ILR or citizenship.


Does the British citizenship test certificate expire?

This certificate has no expiry date, and can be used for all future UK immigration applications. Keep the certificate in a safe. If lost or misplaced, you may have to take the test again if your application requires.


Can I retake the British citizenship test?

Yes, if you fail the test you will be permitted to resit. You will need to wait seven days to take the test again, and you will have to pay the fee each time you sit the test. There is no limit to how many times you can resit the test.


Do you need help applying to get British citizenship?

DavidsonMorris is a law firm specialising in UK immigration. We help individuals through the naturalisation process and provide guidance on completing the form and compiling supporting documentation. If you have a question about an application for British citizenship, please contact us.


Last updated: 30 October 2020

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