Also known as the British Citizenship test, the Life in the UK test was introduced to ensure applicants have a good knowledge of British customs, traditions, laws and the political system, as well as the English language.
You are unable to apply for naturalisation or settlement until you have passed the Life in the UK test.
With so much at stake, the Life in the UK test can be stressful, but preparation is the most effective way to pass the test.
Who has to take the Life in the UK test?
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.
If you passed the test as part of your ILR application, you will not need 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.
What happens during the test?
The test is computer-based and lasts 45 minutes.
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 – ie a pass mark of 75%.
You will find out the result after the test and will be issued either a pass or fail certificate.
Remember to take proof of identity and address with you to the test centre.
In total, you should allow 2 hours for the entire process, including identity checks on arrival and 45 minutes for the test itself.
Where can I take the test?
There are around 60 test centres in the UK. You are able to select one of the five closest to where you live. You are not able to take the test outside of these centres.
How can I prepare for the test?
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.
Ensure your technique on the day sees you reading the questions carefully.
What happens if I fail the test?
If you fail the test, you will lose your test fee. You can retake the test after 7 days, and there is no limit on the number of resits you can take.
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 the UK test.
If your current leave to remain has expired or is close to expiring and you have yet to pass the test, you may have to seek alternative leave to remain to ensure you remain lawfully present in the UK and avoid overstaying.
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. This certificate has no expiry date, and can be used for all future applications.
How much does it cost to take the test?
See here for the latest Home Office fees. The fee is non-refundable if you fail the test.
How do I book?
You book the Life in the UK test online.
You must book your Life in the UK Test online at least 3 days in advance.
To book, you will need to confirm your ID using either your:
- 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
You will need to take the ID document you used when booking with you when you sit the test.
Do you need help applying to get British citizenship?
Attaining British citizenship is a life-changing process. You gain the right to vote and access public services and funds and also to apply for a British passport.
With so much at stake, and given the cost of making a naturalisation application, ensuring your submission is complete, comprehensive and accurate will be critical to avoiding delays or even refusal. A common area of confusion for example is the supporting evidence that should be submitted.
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.