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Life in the UK Test

If you want to become a British citizen through naturalization or gain Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), you need to pass the Life in the UK test. This is also called the British Citizenship test. It is designed to test your knowledge of UK life – from its geography and history to its popular culture and food.

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What is the Life in the UK Test?

For those who wish to settle in the UK either through Indefinite Leave to Remain or applying for British citizenship, they must first complete a Life in the UK test. This test will consist of 24 multiple choice questions focused on all things British including language, history, culture, food, holidays, etc. This is a computer-based test and you must score at least 75% correctly (at least 18 questions correctly) or you will fail the test. The goal of this test is to see it you can properly assimilate into the British customs and culture of the UK.

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How do I book the test?

To take the test, you must first book an appointment online at least 3 days in advance and pay the £50 fee. In order to book online, you will need the following information:

  • A valid email address to send a booking confirmation to
  • debit or credit card to make an online payment with
  • an accepted form of ID (Biometric Resident Permit or a passport) to show when you arrive at the testing center

It should be noted that the name you give on your online booking should exactly match the name of your ID. If you have a disability and need to make special requests, you can do so at the time of online booking.

After you have booked your testing appointment, you will be given a designated time to take it along with the address of a local accredited testing center. You can only choose one of the five centers which are closest to you.

Who doesn’t need to take the test?

Not everyone needs to take the test. You are exempt from taking the test if you qualify as the following:

  • Are under 18 years old
  • Are 65 years or older
  • Have already passed the exam
  • Have a long-term physical or mental condition that prevents you from adequately taking the test. If this is the case, you will need to provide either a form or a letter from a doctor confirming your medical condition.

What happens on the day of the test?

After you have booked a testing appointment online, you will need to go to an official UK test center assigned to you. You cannot bring in visitors with you (this includes children and family members), so please arrive alone.

Make sure that you arrive early so that you are on time to take your test. If you arrive late, you may be denied your test-taking slot and you will not be refunded the 50£ testing fee.

When you arrive at the testing center, you will be asked to show your ID. Again, make sure that the name and details on the ID match the details you submitted in the online booking.

After your identity is confirmed, your photo will be taken prior to the test. It is very important to know that when you take the test, you can not bring in any written material or handbook, electronic devices such as a mobile phone, wristwatches, or anything else that could help you cheat on the test.

As a result of this policy, you will be given the opportunity to place your valuables into a locker before you take the test. Anyone caught bringing in electronic devices with the purpose to cheat will have those devices confiscated.

The test will start out by giving you some practice questions to test you on. This is to help you settle yourself in and familiarize yourself with how to answer the questions in the computer format. Don’t get stressed out if you answer any of these questions incorrectly as it will not count against you.

After the practice question, you can then start the test. The test will consist of 24 questions varying in topics. In order to pass it by 75%, you will need to answer 18 questions correctly. If you are unsure of an answer, you can simply flag it and then come back to answer them later.

It is important to be as quiet as you can in the test room so that you do not cause a disturbance and distract others. If you find yourself in need of assistance, try to flag down or wave to a test attendant for help.
Once the test is completed, you will return to the waiting room where you will await your result. After a small wait, your name will be called and you will be informed on whether or not you passed your test.

Why it is important to not cheat on the Life in the UK test

The Home Office takes cheating very seriously. If you are caught cheating or attempting to cheat, you will be reported to the Home Office and the police which will negatively affect your immigration application. You may be prosecuted, refused a refund, and not allowed to book any more tests. According to UK Visas and Immigration, cheating includes the following:

  • Taking the test for another person or asking another person to take the test for you
  • Using any materials (electronic or printed) during the test
  • Copying any part of the test (electronically or in writing) and removing it from the test center
  • Offering bribes to test center staff to influence your result
  • Trying to intimidate test center staff to get help or to influence your test result
  • Speaking to other candidates during the test
  • Looking at other candidates’ screens during the test
  • Using any electronic communications devices
close up of person taking a test

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

It is important to prepare yourself for the Life in the UK test and not simply rely on the general information that you already have.  To help you prepare for this test, you should read and study the official handbook for the Life in the UK test.  The handbook is available as a book, an eBook, an e-Learning subscription, or in audio formats. Again, this test will ask you random questions about UK history, the British government, UK geography, and local culture and all of the questions are taken from the official handbook.

To further help you prepare, you can take free practice tests online, read up on some UK history, watch historical or British travel documentaries or even go on Youtube and watch tutorial videos about what to expect and what to study.

On the day of the test, make sure that you arrive early to get through all necessary checks in time for your testing slot.  Try to get a good night’s sleep before so that you have a clear head and eat before so that you are not distracted by hunger pains. Another good tip is to use the bathroom before taking the test as once you leave the test, you can not return to it.

Try your best to remain calm and collected during the test process and read the questions carefully.  Anxiety can sometimes get the best of you especially when it comes to taking exams so it is very important to center yourself and calmly answer each question.  Take your time with this test. If you find that you want to go back and change any answers that you feel are incorrect, you can do that.  Just make sure that you changed them first before pressing the ‘Finish Test’ button. After that button is pressed, your test is finished.

What happens if I pass my Life in the UK test?

Once you have finished your test, raise your hand or get the attention of a staff member to let them know that you are finished. This staff member will then ask you to go to the reception area nearby where you will wait until your name or number is called.
When your name or number is called, you will then go to a desk or office where you will be notified whether or not you have passed the Life in the UK test. If you passed, you will then receive a ‘unique reference number’ (aka Test ID number) along with a ‘Pass Notification’ certificate which you will need to sign. Do not leave without obtaining this pass notification otherwise, it will be deemed invalid and destroyed. You will need to submit this original certificate to the Home Office when you apply for ILR or British citizenship as proof that you passed the test, so keep it safe!

person throwing papers in the air

What happens if I lose my Pass Notification?

It is very important to keep the original pass notification as you will be submitting it to the Home Office when you apply for ILR or British citizenship. If, however, this document is lost, damaged, or stolen, you will need to have it replaced. To do this, call the Home Office at 03001 232 253 and they will let you know what your options are for replacing it.
It should be noted that you may need to re-take the exam if you can not find either your pass notification certificate or test ID number. So be sure to make copies of that information to use as a backup in case of an emergency.

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

If you took the test and failed, you will be notified that you did not pass and what questions you answered incorrectly. It is important to take note of what types of questions you got wrong so that you can go back and study that area of knowledge or topic for the next time you take the test.

If you failed the test, you will then need to wait at least 7 days before you can take the test again. You can take the test as many times as you need to but you will need to book it online and pay the £50 fee each and every time. Since the whole test-taking process involves an estimated 2 hours in total, it is recommended to study up and try to pass it the first time. This will help you save time and money.

How long is the Life in the UK certificate valid?

Once you have passed the test and received your Pass Notification certificate, you will never need to take another test again. The Life in the UK certificate is valid for life and does not need to be renewed no matter how you progress with your UK immigration journey.

smiling person gives paperwork

What can IAS do for me?

Passing the Life in the UK test is a very important step for whatever your immigration journey is next.  IAS is here to help you navigate the complexity of the UK immigration system with whatever you need. As the UK’s leading immigration experts, we have an exceptional track record in these types of applications:

Please do not hesitate to contact one of our immigration lawyers using our online contact form or call +1 844 290 6312 for more information on ILR visas or applying for ILR.

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Frequently Asked Questions

You must take the Life in the UK test if you are applying for either Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) or British Citizenship.

If any of the following situations apply to you, you will be required to take the test:

  • You are applying for settlement after five years of being in the UK on a settlement visa (e.g Tier 2 Visa)
  • You are applying for settlement as the partner or spouse of a British citizen/settled person
  • You are applying for settlement after living for 10 years in the UK

If any of the following situations applies to you, you will not need to take the UK citizenship test:

  • You are under the age of 18
  • You are over the age of 65
  • You have taken and passed it before (this may apply if you are applying for citizenship after previously gaining ILR)
  • You have a long-term physical or mental condition which prohibits you from taking the test. This must be proven with a note from your doctor.

In the test, you will be asked a series of multiple-choice questions. The topics of these questions will be split into the following areas:

  • UK values, principles and traditions
  • UK geography
  • British history
  • Social and popular culture
  • British government and politics

When studying for the test, you are advised to revise these key areas. There are several resources out there, such as the Life in the UK website, for example, which will provide you with example questions and practice tests.

Our lawyers advise you not to try and memorise specific questions when you are revising. This is because the questions are changed regularly and learning set questions may throw you off when they do not come up in the test. Instead, revise the key areas so that you have a good understanding on British life, which you can draw upon when answering the questions.

More information on what to do after a Spouse Visa curtailment.

Our lawyers can advise and support you before you take your Life in the UK test. They will work with you to help you prepare for the test and can also assist with booking and revision materials if you need.

Call us on +1844 290 6312 to find out more about the Life in the UK test.