The Life in the UK Test

by | Aug 14, 2020 | British Citizenship, Indefinite Leave to Remain, UK Immigration

To live in the UK as a permanent resident (known as indefinite leave to remain or enter) or as a British Citizen, you must demonstrate that you have the required level of knowledge of British Customs by passing the Life in the UK Test.

The test is a multiple-choice examination, and you will have 45 minutes to answer a total of 24 questions. You need to book the test online, and all the items are based on the official British Citizenship Handbook, released by the UKVI.

Along with the Life in the UK Test, you will be required to pass an English language test at one of the Home Office’s approved test centres. 

Do I need to take the Life in the UK test?

If you are applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain after living in the UK for a length of time, you may need to take the Life in the UK test. 

You will need to take the test if you are:

  • Applying for legal residence after 5 years in the UK, for example, on a Tier 2 work visa;
  • Applying for legal residence as the spouse or partner of a British citizen or settled person;
  • Applying for legal residence after 10 years in the UK.

Topics covered in the Life in the UK test

The test covers different topics such as the history of the UK, customs and traditions and the UK’s laws and political systems. 

In preparation for the test, you must be aware of the following:

  • Questions are randomly chosen by the computer
  • The minimum pass mark is 75%
  • Total time for the test is 45 minutes
  • The entire test comprises of 24 questions 
  • The cost to book and take the test is £50

Prepare for the Life in the UK test

All the questions in the test will be taken randomly from the official handbook released by the UKVI. 

This official handbook includes sample questions and answers that you can use to practice the test. The exam will cover the following topics and the questions are split into five different categories:

  • UK values and principles
  • Geography of the UK
  • History of the UK
  • Society in the UK
  • UK Government and your role within this

Book the Life in the UK test

You can only reserve your place online on the GOV.UK website. The test must be booked at least 3 days in advance.

There are over 30 accredited centres in the UK, but you can only choose one of the five centres which are closest to where you live.

It is important to check that the name you have used on the booking is the same as on the ID you will be taking with you – if they do not match exactly, you may not be able to take your test or receive a refund. 

UKVI also advises, “If you have a previous gender (including a different name) that you do not want the test centre staff to see or for it to show on your test result, email [email protected] before booking your test”.

Those with disabilities (e.g., requiring wheelchair access) can make special requests when submitting their Life in the UK Test booking to ensure these are catered for on your arrival at the test centre.

Bookings must be made at least three days before the test.

Cost of the Life in the UK test

The Life in the UK Test fee is £50 (as of May 2021), although this can increase at any time, so it is important to check the fee when you are ready.

How to prepare for the day of the test

You will have to bring one of the accepted forms of identification (such as your valid passport or your Biometric Residence Permit BRP) and a valid recent proof of address. The proof of address must show your name and your postcode and must be dated within three months of the day of the test If you fail to present these documents, you will not be able to take the test.

Do I need to take any supporting documents with me to the test centre?

In addition to a form of photographic ID, you need to take an official document that clearly states your name as well as your current address and postcode. The supporting documentation must be an original rather than a photocopy and no older than 3 months prior to the date of your test. Examples of acceptable documents include:

  • bank statement
  • utility (gas/water/electricity) bill
  • council tax bill
  • UK photocard driving licence
  • letter from the Home Office with your name and address on it

You will not be able to take the Life in the UK Test without one of the above documents, so please ensure you bring it with you.

Can the Life in the UK Test only be taken in the English language?

Yes, but with a couple of exceptions. If you’re taking the test at a test centre in Wales or Scotland, you will have the option of sitting your test in Welsh or Scottish Gaelic.

I’m not comfortable with using a computer. Can I take a written test?

No. The Life in the UK Test is entirely computer-based and must be taken on a computer at an official test centre. Only basic computer skills are required to complete the test.

Passing marks for the test

You must get at least 18 correct answers out of the 24 questions, i.e. 75%.

What happens after the test

Once you finish the test, you must remain in the building until the results are available. If you have passed the exam you will receive a Pass Notification, which you will be required to sign. Your results will be invalidated if you leave prior to the results being released. 

If you don’t pass the test, you will be unable to progress with your settlement application.

You can retake the test after seven days, and you can resit it as many times as is needed.

When does Life in the UK pass test expire?

Once you get it, your pass certificate will be valid for life. In other words, you will never need to take the test again, even if you decide to progress with your immigration journey and apply, after 12 months on ILR, for British citizenship.

Can I be exempt from the Life in the UK test?

If you meet any of the following requirements, you will be exempt from the Life in the UK Test:

  • are under 18 or over 65
  • have passed it before – for example, if you’re applying to become a citizen and already passed it as part of your settlement application
  • have a long-term physical or mental condition – you must provide either a form or letter from a doctor confirming your physical or mental condition

Can I get a replacement for a lost life in the UK pass letter?

To make your application for ILR or citizenship, you don’t need the pass letter, rather you will just need to enter the ‘unique reference number’ you receive when you pass. It is this number that the Home Office uses to verify that you have passed.

The Home Office advises that if you have lost your letter/reference number to “send a letter explaining that you have lost it with your citizenship or settlement application”. It is advisable to include any information you do have with your covering letter, such as the date and location of your test. From this information, UKVI will be able to locate your test results and verify you have passed.

How can I meet the English language requirement?

Alongside knowledge of life in the UK, you will also need to demonstrate knowledge of the English language. Applicants can prove knowledge of the English language by either having:

  • An English qualification at B1, B2, C1 or C2 level
  • A degree taught or researched in English
  • There are a few exceptions to the knowledge of the English language requirement. Applicants over 65, or anyone who is unable to take the test as the result of a long-term physical or mental condition, will not have to provide this evidence. You will need to provide a doctor’s note confirming your condition.
  • If you are a resident of any of the following countries, you will be automatically exempt from the English language requirements, but you will still need to pass the Life in the UK Test:
  1. Antigua and Barbuda
  2. Australia
  3. The Bahamas
  4. Barbados
  5. Belize
  6. Canada
  7. Dominica
  8. Grenada
  9. Guyana
  10. Jamaica
  11. New Zealand
  12. The Republic of Ireland (for citizenship only)
  13. St Kitts and Nevis
  14. St Lucia
  15. St Vincent and the Grenadines
  16. Trinidad and Tobago
  17. USA.

How can I cancel the Life in the UK Test?

  • Log in to your Life in the UK test account
  • Click on ‘Confirmed tests’
  • Select the ‘cancel test’ option

Getting a refund on your test

  • If you are eligible for a refund, £50 will get refunded to the same account you initiated the payment.
  • Once you get a refund, you can book another test.
  • You have full right to seek a refund for the test if the centre cancels the test.
  • You are not eligible to ask for a refund for any other reason; for example, if you brought the wrong ID, you were ill and missed your test, you reached late at the centre, you did not bring the correct documents, or you refused to have your photo taken.
  • You must ask for a refund within 3 months of the test date, if applicable. 
  • The fee will be refunded to the account you used to book the test. 

How to complain about the Life in the UK Test

If you wish to make a complaint regarding the Life in the UK test for some reason, then you must make a complaint within 3 months of the test date. 

The complaint is addressed to PSI at [email protected].

It generally takes up to 10 working days to get a response.

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