Life in the UK Test - What is it and when is it required?
A Life in the UK test is ordinarily required for both ILR and citizenship applications.
The Life in the UK test was introduced in 2005 for citizenship applications and 2007 for ILR applications. The plans were first introduced in 2002 by the then Home Secretary David Blunkett.
You do not need to take the test if you:
- are under 18;
- are 65 or over;
- have passed it before, many will have already completed the test when they applied to settle in the UK; or
- have a long-term physical or mental condition.
If an individual has a physical or mental condition they must provide either a form or a letter from a Doctor confirming the condition.
Booking the Life in the UK test
It is important to note that there is only one official government service through which the Life in the UK test can be booked.
The test is an online one and must be booked at least 3 days in advance.
When first introduced the cost was £34, this has now risen to £50.
There are around 60 test centres in the UK. When an individual books a test they are able to choose one of the 5 closest centres to where they live.
In order to book the test taker will require an email address, a debit/credit card number and a form of ID. A passport and immigration status document used for identity purposes can be out of date.
The name given on the test booking must match exactly the name on the ID used to book. This must include middles names. If it does not match the test cannot be taken and there is no refund.
A refund can be given if an individual cancels a test 3 days or more before the date of the test.
The Life in the UK test
The test taker will need to take the ID which was used to book the test and they must bring proof of address, dated within 3 months.
The test consists of 24 questions about British traditions and customs. The test taker has 45 minutes to answer.
In order to pass an individual must score 75% or more.
When passed the test taker will be given a ‘pass notification letter’. They will then be required to send the original with either the settlement or citizenship application.
Only one copy of the letter is given, there is no replacement, but if the certificate cannot be located an individual can contact the Home Office on a designated line and will be assisted further.
The test does not expire.
Preparing for the Life in the UK test
There is only one official handbook, which contains the learning material which may be of assistance in passing the test.
Failing the Life in the UK test
If an individual fails the test they will need to wait 7 days before taking the test again. There is no restriction on the number of times an individual can take the test, but they will be required to book and pay again each time.
Recent Investigation into the Life in the UK
On 4 February 2019 the BBC aired a programme which reported on the tests using secret filming. The programme focused on how people were being assisted to cheat in the tests, aided by ear pieces which gave them the correct answers. A BBC researcher used a gang operating in East London to assist with the test. If it is established that this type of cheating has been widespread, there can be no doubt in the light of previous scandals, that the consequences will be potentially damaging for many. An allegation of deception could result in deprivation of citizenship or revocation of ILR.
A Home Office spokesperson said: “We take any form of cheating during the Life in the UK test extremely seriously.
Instances of attempted cheating are exceptionally rare and Life in the UK test centres are required to put in place stringent measures ……… Where we have evidence that a test centre is failing to uphold our standards, we will investigate and take appropriate action”
Developments for the future
Recent plans have been announced for citizenship reform, set out in a statement by the Home Secretary on 2 October 2018:
“The reforms include tougher English language requirements for people applying for British citizenship and proposals to reform the Life in the UK test to give greater prominence to the British values and principles expected of those wishing to call the UK their permanent home.
A public consultation will be brought forward on the Life in the UK test, which is the test an individual is required to take as part of their application for British citizenship or settlement in the UK, and accompanying handbook. The proposals would ensure that the test is more relevant to daily life and culture in the UK.”
Contact Our Immigration Barristers
For expert advice and assistance with a settlement or nationality application contact our Barristers on 0203 617 9173 or complete our enquiry form below.