About Life in the UK Test


The Life in the UK Test is a compulsory step for anyone who wish to settle in the UK, or apply for British citizenship.

The aim of the ‘Life in the UK test’ is to ensure that people applying for settlement are well known with the life in the United Kingdom and the English language. The questions in the test are in multiple choice format and cover a number of topic from local customs and traditions, to the laws and political systems that govern the country.

This section provides information about who needs to take the Life in the UK Test when applying for settlement.

Knowledge of language and life requirement for skilled workers

According to new law, Skilled and Highly Skilled Migrants would now have to take the life in the UK Test in order to fulfil the ‘knowledge of life and language (KOL)’ requirement for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK.

The following is the list of visa categories that need to take test to apply for settlement and is not otherwise exempt.

  • Tier 1 (Exceptional talent)
  • Tier 1 (General)
  • Tier 1 (Entrepreneur)
  • Tier 1 (Investor)
  • Tier 2 (Intra company transfer)
  • Tier 2 (General)
  • Tier 2 (Minister of religion)
  • Tier 2 (Sportsperson)
  • work permit holder
  • highly skilled migrant (excluding those covered by the HSMP ILR Judicial Review policy document)
  • representative of an overseas newspaper, news agency or broadcasting organisation
  • representative of an overseas business
  • overseas government employee
  • minister of religion, religious missionary, or member of a religious order
  • airport-based operational ground staff of overseas-owned airlines
  • person intending to establish themselves in business
  • innovator
  • person intending to establish themselves in business under the provisions of EC Association Agreements
  • investor
  • writer, composer or artist

This list is updated in April 2011. It implies that migrants in these categories can no longer meet the KOL requirement by passing an English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) qualification.


Who needs to take Life in the UK Test - Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)


The Life in the UK Test is must for almost all but not all people who wish to apply for british citizenship or ILR (Indefinite Leave to Remain. We intend to provide all information you need to know as to who needs to and who needs not to take the test for settlement.

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)

If you have legally lived in UK for two to five years depending on your visa category than you are eligible to apply for permanent residency in UK for which you must take the Life in the UK Test. Visa categories that permit you to apply for settlement in UK are as follows;

  • Legal residence – people living in this can apply after five years (for example, time spent on a Tier 2 visa)
  • Long residency – if you have spent ten years under legal residency, or 14 years as a combination of illegal and legal residency illegal and legal residency
  • HSMP- Highly Skilled Migrant Programme visa holders can apply for settlement after five years (or after four years if HSMP is achieved before 3 April 2006)
  • Marriage or partner of a British citizen, or a person settled in the UK can apply after two years (Note: there are new language requirements for applicants in this category, details can be found on The United Kingdom Border Authority (UKBA) official website).

Changes to Tier 1 and Tier 2 , anyone applying for ILR from one of the following categories will also need to take the Life in the UK test:

  • Tier 1 (Exceptional talent)
  • Tier 1 (General)
  • Tier 1 (Entrepreneur)
  • Tier 1 (Investor)
  • Tier 2 (Intra company transfer)
  • Tier 2 (General)
  • Tier 2 (Minister of religion)
  • Tier 2 (Sportsperson)
  • work permit holder
  • highly skilled migrant (excluding those covered by the HSMP ILR Judicial Review policy document)
  • representative of an overseas newspaper, news agency or broadcasting organisation
  • representative of an overseas business
  • overseas government employee
  • minister of religion, religious missionary, or member of a religious order
  • airport-based operational ground staff of overseas-owned airlines
  • person intending to establish themselves in business
  • innovator
  • person intending to establish themselves in business under the provisions of EC Association Agreements
  • investor
  • writer, composer or artist

It is worth noting that for spouses, civil partners and unmarried same-sex partners can achieve leave to enter the UK for 27 months and can apply after completion of two years residence. But this is different for fiances and proposed civil partners who are given leave to enter the UK for two years and can apply for ILR by or near the end of this period, before the completion of two years residence.

Exceptions

In some cases people do not need to take the test . The United Kingdom Border Authority (UKBA) official website provides all the required information for these exceptions. But to sum up the core exception, you don’t need to take the test if:

  • You are under 18 years of age
  • You are over 65 years of age

For people who are applying for permanent residency only and not opting for full UK Citizenship, there are then some special exemptions who do not need to take the test;

  • Foreign and Commonwealth citizens on discharge from HM Forces (including Ghurkhas where the qualifying period has been met)
  • Spouses of foreign and Commonwealth citizens on discharge from HM Forces (including Ghurkhas)
  • Bereaved spouses, bereaved unmarried partners and bereaved civil partners
  • Victims of domestic violence, who have leave to remain as a spouse or partner of a person settled or naturalised in the UK
  • Parents, grandparents and other dependent relatives living in exceptionally compassionate circumstances, who are joining a person already present and settled in the UK
  • Retired persons of independent means
  • Spouses, civil partners, unmarried or same sex partners of British citizens or persons settled in the UK, who are permanent members of HM Diplomatic Service; staff members of the British Council on a tour of duty abroad; and staff members of the Department for International Development

· EEA/EU nationals: nationals from a country in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland can apply to the Border Agency for affirmation of their permanent residence if they have lived in the UK continuously for five years. In addition not necessarily to appear in the life in the UK test, they do not even have to demonstrate a level of English language. But they have to have been employed, studying or otherwise financially self-sufficient. They should also not have been away from the UK for more than six months in every year - exceptions are made in the case of compulsory military service, pregnancies, serious illness, vocational training, or posting overseas.

  • Turkish business people
  • Refugees who have spent five years in the UK with permission
  • People who have spent six years in the UK under discretionary leave
  • People who have spent four years in the UK with exceptional leave to remain
  • People who have spent five years in the UK under humanitarian protection.
  • Health condition - If you’re certain physical or mental condition prevent you from permanently studying or taking the test or studying for an ESOL qualification than you can be an exempt. But if your condition responds to treatment that you will be expected to take the test. Please note that a visual or hearing impairment does not apply as an exemption from the test.

Who needs to take Life in the UK Test - Citizenship

The Life in the UK Test is a compulsory requirement for most people wanting to apply for British citizen. This article covers who needs to take the Life in the UK Test when applying for citizenship.

Exemptions

Applicants under following are not to take test to apply for the citizenship.

· People over 65 years of age are exempted.

· Anyone who satisfies the settlement-stage requirements to have sufficient knowledge of language and life in the UK do not have to do it again.

If you’re certain physical or mental condition prevent you from permanently studying or taking the test or studying for an ESOL qualification than you can be an exempt. But if your condition responds to treatment that you will be expected to take the test. Please note that a visual or hearing impairment does not apply as an exemption from the test. Temporary conditions such as stress and depression are not normally grounds for exemption. You will need to support any applications for exemption with evidence from your doctor.