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Life in the UK Test: What’s Involved?

If you are applying for British Citizenship or Indefinite Leave to Remain, in most cases you first have to pass the Life in UK test.

Also known as the British Citizenship test, the Life in UK test is used to verify that applicants have the adequate knowledge of British customs, traditions, laws and political system, as required under the UK’s immigration rules.

You cannot apply for naturalisation or settlement until you have passed the life in the UK test. If you fail the test, you will lose your test fee, and you will have to retake the test in order for your application to progress.

With so much at stake, it is important to prepare well for the test, and to understand what happens on the day and what you could be asked to maximise your chances of passing.

 

Why do you need to take the Life in the UK test?

UK immigration laws require those applying to settle in the UK or to naturalise as a British citizen to prove their knowledge of the English language and of life in the UK. These are known as the KoLL requirements, which stands for Knowledge of language and of life in the UK. The life in the UK test is used to meet the life in the UK element of the KoLL requirement. The English language requirement is assessed separately.

 

Who has to take the Life in UK test?

Most people applying for British citizenship or to settle in the UK through Indefinite Leave to Remain must take the Life in UK test, unless an exemption applies (see below).

 

Do you have to take life in the UK test if you have EU settled status?

If you have EU settled status and are applying to naturalise as a British citizen, you will be required to pass the life in the UK test unless one of the exemptions applies (see below).

 

Exemptions to the Life in the UK test

You may be exempt from the life in the UK test if you:

  • Are under 18 or over 65.
  • Have passed the test before; for example if you passed the test as part of your ILR application, you don’t need to take the test again for your citizenship application.
  • Have a long-term physical or mental condition which is confirmed in writing by a medical professional.

 

What is classed as a ‘long-term physical or mental condition’?

To claim an exemption from the life in the UK test on medical grounds, you will need an exemption form to be completed on your behalf by a qualified medical professional. You should then include this form in your settlement or naturalisation application for consideration by the caseworker.

The Home Office guidance for caseworkers states that: “There is discretion to waive the knowledge of language and life in the UK requirement if, because of a person’s physical or mental condition, it would be unreasonable for them to meet it”, as set out in Appendix KoLL of the Immigration Rules for settlement applications and paragraph 2(e) of Schedule 1 to the British Nationality Act 1981 for naturalisation applications. The official advice is that discretion must be exercised if the applicant:

  • is suffering from a long-term illness or disability that severely restricts their ability to learn English or prepare for the life in the UK test
  • has a mental condition which prevents them from speaking or learning English to the required standard

 

The guidance also advises caseworkers that even where it would be unreasonable to expect an applicant to satisfy the life in the UK test due to medical reasons, it does not automatically mean it would be unreasonable for them to meet the English language requirement, due to the way the language requirement is assessed. This means medical exemptions should be assessed on a case-by-case basis and on its own merits.

If you are uncertain about whether you qualify for a medical exemption to the life in the UK test, take advice to avoid issues or delays with your application.

 

What is the format of the life in the UK test?

The life in the UK test lasts 45 minutes. You take the life in the UK test on a computer at an authorised test centre (see below).

You will have to answer 24 multiple choice questions about British customs, traditions, laws and the political system.

You have to answer at least 18 questions correctly to pass – a pass mark of 75%.

You will find out the result at the end of the test.

If you pass, you will be able to proceed with your application for ILR or citizenship.

Applicants taking the test in Wales can opt to sit the test in Welsh, and those taking the test in Scotland can sit the test in Scottish Gaelic.

 

How much is the life in the UK test?

The life in UK test fee is £50 for each attempt.

The fee is non-refundable if you fail the test or if there are errors when booking your test. For example, you should double-check that the name you give for the test booking is exactly the same as the name on your ID documentation – including middle names.

Refunds can only be requested if you cancel your test booking with at least 3 days’ notice.

 

How to book the life in the UK test

You book the life in the UK test online through the .gov website. While there are many providers offering test practice support services, only the official government booking system can be used to take the test for your Home Office application. Currently, the authorised test is operated by PSI.

You have to book your test at least 3 days in advance.

When you book the test, you should have the following to hand:

  • Your email address
  • Payment details, eg debit or credit card
  • An accepted form of ID such as:
    • passport
    • UK photocard driving licence – full or provisional
    • convention travel document (CTD), certificate of identity document (CID) or stateless person document (SPD)
    • EU identity card
    • immigration status document endorsed with a UK residence permit on a passport with a photo or
    • biometric residence permit

 

If you have a disability

To discuss your needs and to request additional assistance, such as extra equipment or help accessing the centre, call the life in the UK Test Helpline when you are booking your test: 0800 015 4245.

Having a disability will not necessarily cause you to be exempt from the requirement to pass the life in the UK test. In some cases, applicants may still be able to do the test even if they produce evidence of a disability. Take advice if you believe you qualify for a medical exemption.

 

Where are the life in the UK test centres located?

There are over 30 test centres across the UK.

Note that the test centre locations are subject to change; you will be presented with the available options when you make the booking on the .gov website. You will be given a choice of the five closest test centres to your address, you have to choose a test centre from this list of five.

 

Life in the UK test centre location

Address

Aberdeen PSI at Aberdeen College
North East Scotland College, Ground Floor,
Gallowgate,
Aberdeen,
Scotland,
AB25 1BN
Belfast People 1st Belfast
Ormeau House, Suite 1,
91-97 Ormeau Road,
Belfast,
Northern Ireland,
BT7 1SH
Birmingham PSI Birmingham
Gateway House, 3rd Floor,
50-53 High Street
Birmingham,
B4 7SY
Blackburn Community Training Portal Blackburn (Kings Court)
Kings Court, 33 King Street,
Suite 14/15, 2nd Floor
Blackburn,
Lancashire,
BB2 2DH
Brighton MTS at VP Brighton
Vantage Point, 7th Floor,
New Rd,
Brighton,
BN1 4GW
Bristol PSI Bristol
Creswicke House, Ground Floor,
9-11 Small Street,
Bristol,
BS1 1DB
Cardiff PSI Cardiff at Bizspace Trafalgar House
5 Fitzalan Place, 5th Floor,
Cardiff,
Wales,
CF24 0ED
Coventry PSI Coventry
101 Lockhurst Lane, 3rd Floor,
Coventry,
CV6 5SF
Croydon PSI Croydon
Grosvenor House, 8th Floor,
125 High Street,
Croydon,
London,
CR0 9XP
Edinburgh MTS Edinburgh
40 Sciennes,
Newington, Ground Floor
Edinburgh,
Scotland
EH9 1NJ
Exeter PSI Exeter
Brittany House, 2nd Floor,
New North Road,
Exeter,
EX4 4EP
Glasgow PSI Glasgow
Adelphi Centre, 1st Floor,
12 Commercial Road
Glasgow,
Scotland,
G5 0PQ
Hounslow Computer Learning Centre
65 Kingsley Road,
Hounslow,
Middlesex,
London,
TW3 1QB
Ilford PSI Ilford
2 Caxton Place, 2nd Floor,
London,
Ilford,
IG1 2AH
Ipswich PSI at The Hub Business Centre Ipswich
2 Civic Drive,
Room 16a, 2nd floor,
Ipswich,
IP1 2QA
Iranian Association 222 King Street
London,
W6 0RA
Leeds PSI Leeds
Oxford House, Part 4th Floor,
Oxford Row
Leeds,
LS1 3BE
Leicester PSI Leicester
60 Charles Street, 5th Floor,
Leicester,
LE1 1FB
Lewisham PDA (Training) Ltd Lewisham
107 – 109 Lewisham High Street,
Lewisham,
Greater London,
SE13 6AT
Liverpool PSI Liverpool
1 Union Court, 4th Floor,
Cook St,
Liverpool,
L2 4SJ
Luton Community Training Portal Luton
378 Leagrave Rd,
Luton,
LU3 1RG
Maidstone Synod Solutions Ltd
114 Kestrel House, First Floor,
Knightrider Street,
Maidstone,
Kent,
ME15 6LU
Manchester PSI Manchester
Boulton House, 6th Floor,
17-21 Chorlton Street
Manchester,
M1 3HY
Milton Keynes MTS at Gloucester House
Gloucester House,
MTS Ground Floor,
399 Silbury Boulevard,
Milton Keynes,
MK9 2AH
Newcastle PSI Newcastle
Arden House, 4th Floor,
Regent Centre,
Gosforth,
Newcastle,
NE3 3LU
Norwich PSI at Sackville Place Norwich
Sackville Place, Ground Floor,
Room 23-24,
44-48 Magdalen Street,
Norwich,
NR3 1JU
Nottingham CTP Nottingham
6 Sherwood Rise,
Nottingham,
NG7 6JF
Oxford PSI Oxford
Unit A, Watlington House,
Watlington Road
Oxford,
OX4 6NF
Peterborough PSI at Online Exams Peterborough
Sefton House,
Adam Court,
Newark Road,
Peterborough,
PE1 5PP
Plymouth PSI Plymouth
Cobourg House, 3rd Floor,
32 Mayflower Street,
Plymouth,
PL1 1QX
Portsmouth PSI Portsmouth
102 Clarendon Road,
Portsmouth,
Southsea,
PO4 0SY
Preston Preston Test Centre
38-40 Ormskirk Road,
Preston,
PR1 2QP
Reading PSI Reading
Highline, 6th Floor,
30 Greyfriars Road
Reading,
RG1 1PE
Sheffield PSI at Bank Street Sheffield
The Synergy Building, Bank Street Entrance,
Bank Street,
Hartshead,
Sheffield,
S1 2EL
Stratford PSI Stratford
Boardman House, 2nd Floor
64 Broadway
Stratford,
London,
E15 1NT
Swansea PSI at Computeraid Swansea
11 – 12 Wind Street, 4th Floor,
Swansea,
Wales,
SA1 1DP
Watford CTP Watford
45-47 Vicarage Road
Watford,
WD18 0DE
Workington PSI at CPTT Workington
High Street
Workington,

 

How long will you be at the test centre?

You should allow around two hours to be at the test centre.

It’s advisable to arrive around 15 minutes before your time slot. You will then need to take the security checks, before sitting the test. You will have 45 minutes to complete the test. The results are generally given straight away.

 

What happens at the test centre?

You should avoid bringing anyone with you to the test centre; this includes children or other family members. Most test centres do not have waiting areas for people to accompany you and there will be no childcare facilities. If you require additional support due to a disability, contact the UK Test Helpline when booking your test: 0800 015 4245.

When you arrive at the venue, you will be asked to provide the same identification you used when you made the test booking. You should also bring recent proof of address, dated from within 3 months prior to the date you are taking the test. This could include a council tax or utility bill, your photocard drivers’ licence or a bank or credit card statement. The document must be the original.

You will also have your photograph taken to verify your identity.

If you do not comply with the requirement to have your photo taken, or if you do not have with you the ID used to make the test booking, you will not be permitted to sit the test, and you will lose your test fee.

You are not allowed to bring electronic devices, written materials or notes or bags into the test room. Test centres usually have locker facilities for you to safely store personal items while you take the test.

The test centre staff may do a quick check to confirm you do not have any prohibited items on your person when you go into the test room.

Once in the room, you will be taken to a desk with a computer. You should display your ID on your desk.

There will be instructions for you to read on the desk about how to take the test on the computer. Once all test candidates have gone through the ID checks and are at their desks, you will be given a brief practice test of 4 questions to answer. Use this to familiarise yourself with the layout of the test and how to select your answers and move on to the next question.

You must remain silent during the test.

After the practice round, you will be told when the actual test is starting and the 45 minutes begins.

Once you have completed the full test, you will need to press ‘finish test’ and your answers will be submitted.

If you finish the test before the 45 minutes, you should be able to raise your hand and ask to leave the room.

You can then wait at the test centre for your result to come through. Your life in the UK online account will be updated as to whether you have passed.

 

If you pass the test

If you score more than 75%, you will have passed the test. Your life in the UK account will be updated with your unique reference number (URN), which you should use to progress your ILR or citizenship application.

When processing your application, the caseworker will cross-reference the code you provide with the details they have on the system – including your test results and the photograph taken of you at the test centre – to confirm that you have met the life in the UK requirement.

Note that there is no expiry date on passing the life in the UK test. However, this makes it important to keep a record of your unique reference number, in case you need to rely on this for future applications.

 

Do you get a pass certificate?

Prior to December 2019, applicants were issued a printed pass notification letter as evidence they had passed the life in the UK test.

Under the current system, applicants access their results online, from their LitUK account, in the form of a URN. You need to provide your URN in your Home Office ILR or naturalisation application.

 

If you fail the life in the UK test

If you answer fewer than 18 questions correctly, you will fail the test. You will also not be able to claim a refund.

You will not be able to make an application for naturalisation as a British citizen or for indefinite leave to remain until you pass the Life in UK test. In order for your application to progress, you will need to rebook and retake the test. You have to wait seven days between failing the test and booking a new test.

You may also have to seek alternative leave to remain however need to legalise your stay by applying for further leave to remain if your current leave to remain has expired or is close to expiring.

There are no limits to the number of times someone can sit the life in the UK test – you can keep retaking the test until you pass.

 

 

How can I prepare for the life in the UK test?

You will be tested on information in the ‘Life in the United Kingdom: A Guide for New Residents’ handbook (3rd Edition). Every question in the test will be based on the facts and information in this book.

Applicants are advised to prepare well by learning the material in the book, which covers UK history, the British government, UK geography, culture & customs.

The questions are randomly generated so they may vary in difficulty. Some questions may also ask for multiple answers, so be sure to read the questions carefully and provide the correct number of answers that you are being asked to give.

 

Mistakes to avoid

Common errors to avoid include:

  • Not including your middle names in your booking details – the given names must match the names on the identification.
  • Typos – the details on your booking information must match exactly the details on your identification documentation.
  • Not taking the correct ID or documentation with you to the test centre – you have to bring the ID you used when making the booking as well as bringing recent proof of your address.

 

Tips for taking the test

Learn the material

Most people fail the test because they haven’t learned the material. Read and re-read the handbook until you are comfortable with the information.

 

Practice, practice, practice

Take plenty of practice tests to get used to the format of the online test.

 

Don’t be late

Make sure you know exactly where your test centre is and you give yourself plenty of time to get there. If you are late, it’s likey your test will be cancelled and you will lose your fee. You will also have to boom another test.

 

Use the toilet before the test

Test test is managed under controlled conditions so you are advised to use the restroom facilities before you go into the test room.

 

Take your time

Those who have taken the test generally give the same advice – take your time. YOu have 45 minutes to answer the 24 questions – that equates to just under 2 minutes per question.

 

Re-read the question

Re-read the question to be sure you understand its meaning and think back to your preparation and the questions you’ve practised and answers you’ve learned. Also be sure that you are doing what the question is asking – some may ask for you to select more than one answer. You will lose points if you don’t provide all the answers asked for.

 

Answer all the questions 

You need to score 18 out of 24 to pass, so if you don’t know the answer to a question, you should still select an answer.

You can go back and check and change your answers if you have time – your test is only complete and submitted once you press the ‘finish test’ button.

 

Example life in the UK test questions

Here some example questions to illustrate the type of material you could be tested on:

 

  • What is the most famous rugby tournament?
    • The Six Nations Championship
    • The Wimbledon Championship
    • The Super Bowl
    • Royal Ascot

 

  • Where does the Grand National horse racing event take place?
    • Ayr
    • Aintree
    • Aberdeen
    • St Andrews

 

  • In 1901, Ireland became unified with England, Scotland and Wales after the Act of Union of 1900.
    • False
    • True

 

  • What currency is used in England?
    • Rupee
    • Euro
    • Pound
    • Lira

 

  • Which of the following flowers is associated with Wales?
    • Shamrock
    • Thistle
    • Daffodil
    • Lilly

 

  • Can the public listen to debates in the Palace of Westminster?
    • Yes
    • No

 

  • Who were the first people to arrive in Britain in what we call the Stone Age?
    • Farmers
    • Hunter-gatherers
    • Warriors
    • Pirates

 

  • The Commonwealth has no power over its members and it cannot suspend their membership:
    • True
    • False

 

  • Which of the following statements regarding the Black Death is NOT true?
    • One third of the population of England died and a similar proportion in Scotland and Wales
    • It was one of the worst disasters ever to strike Britain
    • It affected children and old people only
    • Following the Black Death, there were labour shortages

 

  • Who was reigning in England when Wales became formally united with England by the Act for the Government of Wales?
    • Henry VIII
    • Henry VII
    • Elizabeth I
    • James I

 

  • How old is the Elizabeth Tower (sometimes called Big Ben)?
    • Over 800
    • Over 450
    • Over 150
    • Over 300

 

  • What medal was introduced during the Crimean War?
    • The Elizabeth Medal
    • Medal of Honour
    • The Victoria Cross
    • Elizabeth gold

 

Cancelling or rearranging your life in the UK test booking

To cancel your test booking, you need to sign in to your life in the UK test account. Under ‘confirmed tests’, you select ‘cancel tests’. You can then book another date.

If you cancel at least 72 hours before the test date, you can get a refund on the booking fee. The £50 fee will be credited back automatically onto the card you used to make the booking.

If you cancel within three days before your test date, you will lose your booking fee.

 

Requesting a refund

If the test centre cancels your test, you can claim a refund by contacting PSI to ask for your money back:

support@lituk.psionline.com
Telephone: 0800 015 4245
Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm

You have three months from the date of the test to request the refund.

 

When is the booking fee non-refundable?

You will not be eligible for a refund of the test booking fee if you:

  • Are ill and miss your test date
  • Arrive late to the test centre
  • Did not bring the correct ID or documentation with you to the test centre
  • Refuse to have your photograph taken at the centre
  • Are abusive to test centre staff, which may also result in police being called.
  • Cheat during the test

 

In some cases, misconduct such as abusive behaviour or cheating may result in you being barred from retaking the life in the UK test, impacting your application.

 

Need assistance? 

DavidsonMorris are UK immigration specialists. We support individuals with all aspects of UK visa and nationality applications, including guidance on applications for Indefinite Leave to Remain and British citizenship. For advice, contact us.

 

Life in the UK Test FAQs

How hard is the life in the UK test?

You need 75% to pass the life in the UK test. You can prepare for the test by learning the information in the 'Life in the United Kingdom: A Guide for New Residents' handbook.

Can you take the life in the UK test online?

While the life in the UK test is a computer-based test, it has to be taken at an authorised test centre so that your ID can be confirmed before you take the test.

What is asked in the life in the UK test?

Questions are based on and taken at random from the 'Life in the United Kingdom: A Guide for New Residents' handbook.

How many questions are in the life in the UK test?

You will be asked 24 multiple choice questions. You have to score 18 or above to pass.

How can I check my life in UK test result?

You can log into your life in the UK account on the .gov website and check under the 'results' tab. If you have passed, you will be issued a unique reference number (URN).

Last updated: 5 July 2022

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