The UK Citizenship Test Process: What You Need to Know

If you want to become a UK citizen through naturalization, or a permanent resident with indefinite leave to remain status, you need to pass the UK citizenship test; otherwise known as Life in the U.K test. The purpose of the citizenship test is to evaluate your English skills and knowledge of the United Kingdom in general.

To prepare for the UK citizenship test, you must be familiar with the application process; or at least read about it so nothing catches you off guard. We’ve covered some of the things that you need to know in this article.

Qualification Criteria

UK Citizenship Test ProcessFirst, you need to have lived in the U.K for 12 months after receiving permanent residency or indefinite leave to remain (ILR) status before you qualify for the citizenship test. However, to become a permanent resident or an immigrant with indefinite leave to remain status, you ought to have lived in the U.K for 5 years.

Beyond that, you’re eligible to take Life in the UK test if you’re over 18 years but under 65 years of age. Also, you need to prove that you’re fluent in English before sitting for the UK citizenship test. To demonstrate your English knowledge, you should at least have a B1 level qualification from an accredited test center that offers English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) certification.

However, if you’re from a native English speaking country or you possess a degree that was taught in English, you’re exempted from taking the English qualification test.

Certainly, you need to have a clean record with no serious crime for your citizenship test application to be considered by the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) department.

Note: If you’re disabled or mentally incapacitated to the extent that the condition interferes with your ability to study and take the test, you don’t need to sit for life in the U.K test to become a British citizen.

The Application Process

Once you’ve met the qualification criteria, you can apply for the UK citizenship test online via the UK government website. To do so, you need to fill a form with your details and supporting documentation. Some of the identification requirements that are accepted include a passport, biometric residency card, travel documents, and biometric residency permit.

Additionally, applicants are required to submit their biometric details, proof of residency, employment status, and biographical data. Keep in mind that a certain stage during the application process, your documents need to signed by two referees for verification purposes.

Later, you are required to pay a processing fee to book the citizenship test. Applicants are given at least 3 or more days after applying to prepare for the citizenship test; you can also choose the nearest test centre where you prefer to sit for the test.

Note: If you have a disability but you can take the test, you can request special assistance when booking the test.

Life in The UK Test

Before Life in the UK test, you’re required to bring your identification documents and proof of address that you used to register for the exam. If you forget to bring the necessary documents, you risk having your exam cancelled without a refund.

The invigilator will explain the rules and you will be asked to switch off your phone or any devices before you enter the exam room. If you’re caught trying to cheat or talking to other candidates, that could be grounds for exam cancellation. However, if you need any guidance, you can request the supervisor.

The test is done on a computer and it consists of 24 questions of which applicants are required to correctly answer 18 questions to pass. You can choose to read the questions and multiple choices on the screen or you can listen to an audio recording. The exam duration is 45 minutes.

All the questions from the citizenship test are sourced from the official guidebook – Life in the U.K: A guide for new residents. In no particular order, the test will cover U.K history, politics, traditions and cultures, U.K government and law, and your responsibilities as a British citizen.  

After completing the exam, you will be notified if you’ve passed or failed. Successful candidates are issued Life in the U.K certificate as proof that they passed the test. But if you fail, you can re-sit the citizenship test as many times as you want. Nevertheless, you need to wait at least 7 days to book a re-sit and you have to re-pay the test fees.

The Ceremony

The ceremony is the last step before you become a U.K citizen, but you have to seek approval from the Home Office. Usually, you need to send another application to the Home Office and wait for 3 to 6 months to receive an invitation to appear at a citizenship ceremony.

After you recite the oath of allegiance during the citizenship ceremony, you will officially become a U.K citizen.