The Life in the UK test forms one of the requirements that must be met when an applicant is applying for British nationality or settlement in the UK, unless certain exceptions apply to them. The test is 45 minutes long and consists of 24 questions about British customs and traditions. An applicant is successful if they answer 75% of the questions correctly.
From 17 December 2019, applicants who sit the Life in the UK test will no longer receive a letter containing a ‘test reference ID’. Instead, applicants will now receive a ‘Unique Reference Number’ (URN) electronically, which will be required as part of the application process for naturalisation or settlement.
Recent updates have also been published in relation to the identification (“ID”) documents required when taking the test. The Home Office have published a document listing the suitable forms of ID that can be used, and this can be found here.
When an applicant attends to take the test, they will be required to show their ID and have a photograph taken in order to confirm their ID. If satisfactory ID is not provided, the applicant will not be able to sit the test and will not receive a refund of the £50 fee incurred when booking the test.
The test has received a lot of criticism over the years for not only containing factual errors, but also for being considered to be irrelevant to British life. More recently, a petition was started which called for the test to be reviewed. The petition stated:
The Life In The UK Test must be passed to gain British citizenship, with a pass mark of 75%. The test comprises questions about British history that most lifelong citizens would struggle to answer.
It is not a test of good citizenship nor of an understanding of contemporary UK life. It must be changed. The Government must review the test and update it by making it about contemporary UK life.
This petition was closed early, on 6 November 2019, due to the General Election. However, it is likely to be reinstated when the new Petition Committee is in place.
In October 2018, Sajid Javid (then Home Secretary) described the test as a ‘pub quiz’ that was not fit for its intended purpose. Over 2 million tests have been taken since the launch of the Life in the UK test in 2005, with one applicant known to have sat the test 64 times.
There is currently no indication from the government that the test is to be reformed, but it is possible that when the petition reignites, we could see changes in how the test determines whether an applicant really is knowledgeable about life in the UK.
Gherson has over 30 years’ experience in UK immigration and nationality law. If you have any questions relating to the Life in the UK test or have any queries relating to naturalisation or settlement issues, please do not hesitate to contact us.
The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.
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