History matters – Home Office asked to change the British citizenship and Indefinite Leave to Remain Life in the UK test

Immigration solicitors have long been sceptical of the benefits of the Home Office asking applicants for Indefinite Leave to Remain or British citizenship to sit the Life in the UK test, partially because of the randomness of the questions and the apparent lack of correlation between the Life in the UK test questions and the reality of settling in the UK in 2020. However, campaigners are now urging the government to change the Life in the UK test to ensure that the questions and answers are historically and factually accurate. 

British citizenship and settlement solicitors  

If you need advice about your UK settlement options and the Life in the UK test call the British citizenship and settlement solicitors at OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or complete the online enquiry form. Appointments are available through video conferencing, skype or by telephone appointment. 

History and the Life in the UK test

Over 175 historians have reportedly asked the Home Office to remove the history element of the Life in the UK Indefinite Leave to Remain or citizenship test because they say that the history content of the test is misleading and makes false representations about the empire. 

The Life in the UK test is based on an official handbook. It is this handbook that historians say paints an inaccurate view of UK history. In an open letter to the Home Office, the leading historians don’t shy away from stating that in their expert option the official handbook published by the Home Office is misleading and in places false because the manual paints the empire and the abolition of slavery in a positive way from the UK perspective whereas historians say that the history was more complex and darker than that depicted in the manual.

One example of where historians say that the Life in the UK official handbook glosses over reality is that the manual says that there was an ordered transition from empire to Commonwealth to independence but without reference to the violence that in part brought about the changes.

The historians are asking for the historical part of the Life in the UK test to be withdrawn until the official handbook is rewritten whilst some immigration solicitors suggest more radical reform and a fresh rethink of what the life in the UK test is achieving as part of the Indefinite Leave to Remain or British citizenship application process to give the test real purpose and relevance.

What is the Life in the UK test?

If you are contemplating settling in the UK either through applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain or British citizenship then you need to know about the Life in the UK test, whether or not you agree with the principle of sitting a test to settle in the UK or you agree with the historical questions in the Home Office official booklet. 

Indefinite Leave to Remain and British citizenship solicitors

For advice on your UK settlement options call London based Indefinite Leave to Remain solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or complete our online enquiry form. Appointments are available through video conferencing, skype or by telephone appointment.

When do you need to take a Life in the UK test?

Unless you meet one of the limited number of exemptions from the requirement to pass the Life in the UK test you will need to take and pass the Life in the UK test if you want to settle in the UK by either applying for:

When don’t you need to take the Life in the UK test?

You don’t need to take the Life in the UK test if:

  • You are applying for limited leave

  • You are applying for settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme

  • You are applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain or for British citizenship but you meet one of a limited number of exceptions.

Am I exempt from having to sit the Life in the UK test?

Under the Immigration Rules you don’t need to sit the Life in the UK test if you are:

  • Under the age of eighteen or

  • Over the age of sixty five or

  • You fall within other limited exemptions, for example, you are suffering from a long term illness or a disability and that illness or disability means your mobility is restricted. If you need to claim an exemption from sitting the Life in the UK test on the grounds of having a disability you will need to provide medical evidence of your long term disability.

Applicants for Indefinite Leave to Remain based on the ten or twenty year route to settlement sometimes question why they need to take the Life in the UK test when they are clearly already familiar with life in the UK. However, the Immigration Rules are clear. If you are applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain or making a British naturalisation application you have to sit and pass the test however long you have lived in the UK for and however integrated you are in UK society.

Indefinite Leave to Remain solicitors

If you need advice about your application for Indefinite Leave to Remain or if you’ve had an application for ILR refused and want expert advice about your ILR options call London based OTS Solicitors on [telephone: telephone] or complete our online enquiry form.

What is the purpose of the Life in the UK test?

The Life in the UK test is meant to assess an applicant for Indefinite Leave to Remain or an applicant for British citizenship and their knowledge of life in the UK. The test is thought to be a necessary part of the UK settlement application process by the government as it ensures that applicants have commitment to the application process and some knowledge of the UK.

Critics of the Life in the UK test, including immigration solicitors, question whether the test is fit for purpose because of the apparent random nature of the questions that don’t appear to bear much relevance to the sort of information needed to help a person settle into the UK. Historians now raise concerns about the accuracy of the historical information whereas other critics and Immigration solicitors question whether a test involving the history of the UK (whether the test questions and official handbook are factually accurate or not) is the best indicator of whether an applicant for Indefinite Leave to Remain or for British citizenship will make a good candidate for settlement in the UK.

What happens if I fail the Life in the UK test?

If you fail the Life in the UK test then it doesn’t mean that you won't make a great citizen. Immigration solicitors say that it just means that you have to sit the test again. You can take the test as many times as necessary until you achieve the pass rate.

As you can't secure Indefinite Leave to Remain or British citizenship until you have passed the Life in the UK test immigration solicitors do say that it is best to prepare for the test by studying the Home Office official booklet, even if you don’t agree with the necessity for a test or the questions contained in the test. You also need to pay a fee to re-sit the test and that is another good reason why you should study for the test.

Do I need to sit separate Life in the UK tests for Indefinite Leave to Remain and British citizenship?

The Life in the UK test is the same whether you are applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain or making a British naturalisation application. If you secure Indefinite Leave to Remain and decide that you want to go on and apply for British citizenship then you don’t need to sit the test again.

If there is a delay between sitting and passing the test and your settlement application then it doesn’t matter as the test is not time limited. 

British citizenship and Indefinite Leave to Remain solicitors

Applying for settlement in the UK is a complicated process that is best to get right first time. Passing the Life in the UK test is the first step in securing Indefinite Leave to Remain or British citizenship. For expert advice on your eligibility to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain or British citizenship call OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or complete our online enquiry form. Appointments are available through video conference, skype or by telephone appointment.    

OTS Solicitors are experts in immigration law. The solicitors in the UK settlement team have substantial experience in applications for Indefinite Leave to Remain, in challenging refusal of ILR applications and securing British citizenship.

London based OTS Solicitors are Legal 500 and Chambers Guide to the Legal Profession recommended Immigration lawyers and have Law Society accredited solicitor status as trusted specialists in Immigration law.

For fast and friendly advice on your planned application for Indefinite Leave to Remain or your best UK settlement options call OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 to speak to one of our experienced London immigration solicitors or complete our online enquiry form.

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