What is the Life in the UK Test or British Citizenship Test?
According to a recent House of Lords committee report, the Home Office life in the UK test is a ‘random selection of obscure facts’. That’s hardly a ringing endorsement but immigration solicitors say that, not before time, the test is being reviewed. In the meantime, most people who want to secure indefinite leave to remain or British citizenship will need to sit and pass the life in the UK test.
Contact our team of London immigration solicitors today on 0203 959 9123 to find out how we can help you.
The life in the UK test
If you want to settle in the UK, you have probably already jumped hoops to get entry clearance. The thought of sitting a test to prove how committed you are to the UK can be off putting. Most ILR applicants stress about whether they will pass the test and what happens if they don’t do so. Our indefinite leave to remain lawyers answer your frequently asked questions on the life in the UK test.
The life in the UK test – your FAQ
Do I need to sit the life in the UK test?
Most applicants for indefinite leave to remain or British citizenship need to sit two separate tests:
- The English language test and
- The life in the UK test
Some people are exempt from the life in the UK test. For example, if:
- You are under 18
- You are over 65
- You are applying for British citizenship and you have already taken the life in the UK test as part of your indefinite leave to remain application
- You have a long term physical or mental condition (and have evidence of the condition and exemption form completed). The condition must be long term and severely restrict your ability to learn or speak English or to prepare for the life in the UK test
Contact our team of London immigration solicitors today on 0203 959 9123 if you have questions about whether you are exempt from sitting the test.
Is the life in the UK test different to the British citizenship test?
People, including immigration lawyers, use the terminology ‘life in the UK ‘ and ‘British citizenship’ test but they are the same test. You do not need to sit an enhanced British citizenship test when you apply to move from indefinite leave to remain status to British citizenship.
How do you pass the life in the UK test?
The life in the UK test is intended to assess whether you have sufficient knowledge of British customs, traditions and laws to settle in the UK. Some struggle to pass the test because the questions are quite specific. In addition, immigration solicitors argue knowledge of British history doesn’t make you a good British citizen; it just shows you have a good memory. However, you need to pass the test if you want ILR or British citizenship.
The life in the UK test consists of 24 multiple choice questions. You need to get 18 questions right. That equates to a 75% pass. The test is not an ‘open book test’. That means you can't use notes or your smartphone when sitting the test.
The test has to be taken online but carry only be conducted at an approved centre by an approved tester. There are test centres across the UK. The test has to be booked online through a government website so you cannot attend a centre and get a ‘walk in’ appointment. When booking the test, you will need to prove evidence of your identity so you will need documents, such as your passport or biometric residence permit.
Proving your identity at the test centre
Proving your identity is necessary before you can go ahead and sit the test. Therefore, you will need to go through an identification process on arrival using the same identification documents used to book the online appointment. You will also need documents (original not photocopies) to prove your address.
Can I prepare for the life in the UK test?
The test questions are based on information in the ‘Life in the United Kingdom: A Guide for New Residents’ handbook. The questions you are asked are randomly created so don’t expect the questions to be the same as a friend or family member were asked. After reading the handbook a few times it is best to take some online trial tests so you are familiar with the format of the test and the type of questions you may be asked.
How much is the life in the UK test?
The life in UK test fee is £50. If you fail the test and have to take the test again the £50 fee is payable for each test you take.
When do you get the life in the UK test results?
The test isn’t like waiting for exam results. You will normally be told straight away if you have passed or failed. If you have failed you can take the test again as many times as you need to do so but indefinite leave to remain lawyers say it is best to try to prepare for the test to try and ensure you need to only take it once.
What happens if I pass the life in the UK test?
If you pass the test by scoring at least 75%, you will be allocated a unique reference number (URN). The URN is evidence that you passed the test and needs to be included in your indefinite leave to remain or British citizenship application. You won't get a paper certificate so immigration solicitors recommend keeping a record of the URN.
Does my life in the UK test pass expire?
Some British citizenship applicants sat their life in the UK test years ago and assume they will need to take a new test. That isn’t necessarily right as the test results are not time limited.
What happens if I fail the life in the UK test?
If you fail the test, because you get less than 18 questions right, you can retake the test BUT you can't do so straight away. You have to book a new test online and you have to wait seven days between failing the test and booking your next test.
If you don’t pass the test you can't proceed with your application for indefinite leave to remain or your application for British citizenship. Whilst there won't be as many time pressures with a British citizenship application, you may be concerned that your work visa or family visa is due to expire and you can't apply for indefinite leave to remain without passing the life in the UK test. You should not just leave things as you risk becoming an overstayer.
Contact our team of London immigration solicitors today on 0203 959 9123 if you have failed your test and you are worried about your immigration status and options to discuss how we can help you.
Indefinite leave to remain lawyers say it is best to give yourself plenty of time to pass the life in the UK test so you can submit your ILR application before your visa leave expires.
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