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What is the Life in the UK Test?

The Life in the UK test is part of the eligibility requirements for an application to settle in the UK or for British citizenship. Our guide will walk you through what the test is, how it works, and the process of taking it.

If you are a South African national that wants to apply for indefinite leave to remain, settled status or British citizenship in the UK, our guide is here to help you with more information about the Life in the UK test you will need to take.

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    What is the Life in the UK Test?

    To demonstrate your commitment to British customs and creating a life in the UK, you will be expected to pass the Life in the UK Test as part of any application for indefinite leave to remain or British citizenship.

    The test itself comprises 24 multiple choice questions that you will need to answer in 45 minutes.

    You can only book the test online and you must do so at least three days in advance. You will take your test at a registered test centre, and you can choose where you would like to take your test when you apply.

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    Are there any instances when I will not have to take the test?

    According to official Home Office guidance there are a few reasons why you may not need to take the Life in the UK Test. These include the following:

    • You are under 18
    • You are over 65
    • There is a doctor’s letter or medical form confirming you have a long-term physical or mental condition that makes you exempt

    Your pass result is valid for life, meaning if you have taken the test once you won’t have to take it again. Therefore, if you have applied for indefinite leave to remain and have taken the test, your original test results will be valid if you wish to apply for British citizenship.

    How do I prepare for the test?

    As with any exam, preparation is always key; the pass rate for the test is 75%. Ensure you give yourself enough time before booking the test to revise. Bear in mind, you will need to have passed the Life in the UK Test prior to making any applications for settlement or citizenship, as you will need it as part of your supporting evidence. Make sure you leave enough time to do this before you need to make any applications, so your visa does not run out.

    All of the questions on the test are based on information in the Life in the UK handbook, which you can buy online. It covers topics such as history, customs and government. Study guides are also available to purchase. New editions are released each year, so ensure you are buying the most up to date version.

    These guides are available in print format or in digital formats and can be purchased online.

    IAS can help guide you through the Life in the UK Test revision process to help ensure you pass the test first time. Reach out to us on 0333 305 9375 for further information on how we could help you.

    We offer immigration advice sessions as face to face appointments at all of our offices, or via the phone. Learn more

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      What does the test cover?

      There are numerous topics that are covered by the Life in the UK Test, most of which are about the UK’s history, modern society and its politics.

      All of these topics can be found in the official Home Office Life in the UK Test handbook, which is the only official Life in the UK Test study guide written and endorsed by the Home Office.

      The book includes five chapters, each of which focuses on a different topic area such as the UK’s historical past, modern society and customs, the guiding principles of the UK, and its political systems:

      1. Chapter 1: Values and Principles of the UK
      2. Chapter 2: What is the UK?
      3. Chapter 3: A Long and Illustrious History
      4. Chapter 4: A Modern, Thriving Society
      5. Chapter 5: The UK Government, the Law and your Role

      You may well likely be tested on any or all of these topic areas, so it’s important to revise every chapter carefully and thoroughly before your test.

      How do I book a test?

      You will have to book a Life in the UK Test through the official gov.uk website. This is the only way to book a test slot.

      As part of the process, you’ll have to give a range of personal information, including the following:

      • Your name, address and date of birth
      • An eligible form of photo ID, such as biometric residence permit, passport, EU identity card or travel document
      • A valid credit or debit card to pay the test fee
      • A valid email address
      • Details of any special accommodations you may need when taking the test, such as disability accommodations

      After providing your information, the site will show the five nearest test centres to your location. You’ll be able to pick and choose which centre you’d like to attend to take your test.

      You’ll also be given a choice of optional services for your test, such as the ability to take a test with short notice (24-72 hours), a Sunday test, or closed test session if you need additional privacy. Note that these will normally incur additional charges, however.

      You must normally book your Life in the UK Test at least three days in advance.

      What happens on the day of the test?

      You will need to arrive to the test centre on time, if not slightly before your allotted appointment time. You will be greeted at the centre by security before you register – be aware if you need to go to the bathroom this will be the only time you are allowed to go.

      You will need to have the ID you used to book your test with you and document showing proof of address. It is important that all your personal details match. If your ID does not match your booking information, you will not be able to take the test.

      A locker can be provided for all of your belongings except your identifying document. You will then be logged into a computer for you to begin your test. Practice questions will come first, to give you an idea of what to expect.

      Once you have completed the test, you will be able to go back to the waiting room to await your results. The receptionist will call you up to tell you if you have passed or failed.

      What happens if I pass?

      Well done! If you are notified that you have passed the Life in the UK Test, you will receive a Pass Notification letter. You will only receive one copy of this, which you will be requested to sign. Your Pass Notification letter is a key part of your document checklist for indefinite leave to remain.

      If you leave the test centre before being told your results, your result will be invalidated and you will have to take the test again.

      What happens if I fail?

      Commiserations, but don’t worry too much. You can resit the test as many times as you need to before you pass, however you must wait seven days between each attempt before booking again. Furthermore, you will need to pay each time you take the test.

      Get in touch with our expert immigration lawyers to learn more about the Life in the UK Test. Contact us

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        How can IAS help?

        The Life in the United Kingdom Test is a key step in the application process for UK permanent settlement or citizenship.

        If you’re applying for either of these routes and require any additional assistance for the Life in the UK test or with any other part of the application process, IAS South Africa can help.

        IAS are a dedicated team of legal experts and advisers who work both in the United Kingdom and internationally. We provide a wide range of packages and services to help you achieve your immigration goals, such as our Application Package to help take the stress out of applications for you, and our Document Checking service for when you need extra peace of mind that your supporting documents adhere to standards.

        We also offer one-on-one advice sessions to ensure that you get bespoke, tailored advice for your specific situation.

        For more information about the services we provide and how we can help you, reach out to us to book an advice session today. Call us on 0333 305 9375 or contact us online.

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