English Citizenship: What is the Life in the UK test?

As you may know, foreign nationals can apply for British citizenship after a minimum stay required by the English government. For that, it is necessary to fulfill some requirements, among them, the Life in the UK test. Have you heard about this test before? If not, then get ready! In this article, we’ve organized everything you need to know about this test.


The process of obtaining British citizenship starts when you get permission to stay in the UK indefinitely. This is known as the Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) and is the equivalent of having a permanent resident visa.

Most people get ILR after working in England for at least five years. If you have a British citizen as your life partner, other rules apply to you. For example, you only had to be in the country for three years to apply for English citizenship.

If you would like more information on how to apply for ILR, see the UK government website.

If you already have ILR, you can think about applying for British citizenship. Before applying, make sure you fulfill the following conditions :

  • You are over 18 years old
  • You have ILR for at least 12 months
  • You have lived in the UK for at least five years in total and have been abroad for a maximum of 450 days during this time.
  • You haven’t spent more than 90 days abroad in the past year
  • You have a “good character” which basically means you were not involved in any criminal activity, didn’t breach any visa rules etc.
  • You have good command over English.
  • You have passed a knowledge test about Great Britain.

Life in the UK Test: What’s is this?

The Life in the UK test comprises 24 multiple choice questions related to tradition and history, the laws and values ​​of the United Kingdom. You have 45 minutes to answer 18 of these questions correctly. The test assesses your knowledge of the law and life in the UK.

Who should perform Life in the UK?

All foreigners wishing to obtain British citizenship or permanent residence in the United Kingdom. Children under 18 or over 65 do not need to take the Life in the UK test. People who have already taken the test during the permanent stay and naturalization process are also exempted from taking the test again.

How to apply?

The Life in the UK test is offered exclusively by the UK Border Agency, i.e. the British Home Office. The registration fee is £50. Confirmation of registration with the place, date and time of the race is sent by email. The test is performed via computer at one of the 60 test centres spread across the UK – Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales. At the time of registration, you must choose at least 5 locations to take the test.

Study Tips

Before the exam

We recommend practising uAcademy’s FREE life in the UK test to improve your chances of passing the test. uAcademy has been featured in the BBC, go check out that article too, it’s an interesting read.

On exam day

On the day of the test, you must present a photo ID and proof of address – it can be a bank statement or a water, electricity or gas bill.

Please arrive at least 15 minutes in advance. Even if you have answered all questions in the exam before 45 minutes, it is necessary to remain in the waiting room for the other candidates to also complete the test.

After that time, the results are reported. Unfortunately, it is not revealed which questions you have hit or missed. You only find out if have passed or not.

After the exam

After successfully clearing the test, be very careful with the passing certificate: it is delivered only once. Candidates pass on correctly answering at least 18 questions.

If you fail to clear the test on your first attempt, don’t lose your heart as you can reschedule the test after 7 days. But beware: passing the Life in the UK test is no guarantee that your application for permanent residence or British citizenship will be approved too.

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