Life in the UK Test

What is it?

The Life in the UK test is required for anyone between the ages of 18 and 65 when they are applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain or British citizenship.  The test does not test a person’s English language abilities, although a working knowledge of the English language is required to pass the test.

The test focuses on issues which are deemed essential for a person to have knowledge of if they are looking to remain permanently in the UK.  This includes matters that affect your daily life such as the government and the law and about getting involved in the local community.  Other topics covered also include traditions and culture from around the UK and events and people that have shaped the UK’s history.  These may not seem to be essential things for a person to know when they are looking to remain in the UK but they are deemed important as by learning about these topics, applicants are showing a willingness and ability to integrate into British society.

Do I need to study for it?

Yes.  No matter how confident you are in your abilities in English, you will have to study.  The test is not designed to be easy.  In fact, most people who were born and raised in the UK and have lived nowhere else in their lives would struggle to pass without any prior study.

The official Life in the UK test book can be bought online at:

It is important that you buy an up to date version as the materials can change.

In addition, there are many websites which have practice questions, see links below.  There are also preparation classes available which you could attend if you are not confident in your ability to teach yourself the course.

How long does the test last?

The test is 45 minutes long.  You will have to answer 24 questions in this time.  You must score 75% to pass.

Does it cost to sit the test?

Unfortunately, yes.  The current cost of the test is £50.  This will not be refunded if you do not pass the test.

How do I book?

You must book online at:

What if I fail the test?

You will have to re-sit it.  You will have to wait 7 days before you sit the test again.  There is no limit on the number of times that you can sit the test.  If you do fail, remember to keep the fail notification letter.

I don’t think that I will be able to pass the test.  Is there any other way?

If you are between the ages of 18 and 65, you must pass the test, unless you have a physical or mental condition which prevents you from doing so.  If you do, you will need to have medical evidence from a medical practitioner which clearly states the condition from which you are suffering and explains why it is unreasonable to expect you to take the test or learn English.  Even if an applicant is illiterate in their mother tongue, this alone is not enough to qualify for an exemption, unless the illiteracy is due to a medical condition which prevented them from learning to read and write.

In certain circumstances, you can qualify for an exemption if you have been residing lawfully in the UK for at least 15 years.  If this sounds like you, or someone you know, we would recommend that they seek advice about this as there are various criteria that would have to be met and specific evidence that is required.

In Summary…

It may seem like a daunting prospect but all it requires is a bit of dedicated study and anyone with a basic grasp of English should be able to pass the test. It may take a few attempts, but you can do it!

Case Study

Mr F had been resident in the UK for a number of years as a work permit holder.  He was unable to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain when he became eligible because he was unable to satisfy the Knowledge of English language and Life in the UK requirement.  His previous representatives assisted him in submitting an application to attempt to extend his leave to remain, however this was refused as it was not the correct thing to do, at which point he enlisted our services.  An appeal was lodged to protect his position.  Mr F had made strong efforts to try and satisfy the Knowledge of English language and Life in the UK requirement, however to no avail.  He had been regularly attending English classes for a number of years and had sat the Life in the UK test repeatedly without success.  His English teacher suspected that he had learning difficulties, however he was unable to be tested and officially diagnosed as everyone he approached said that they could not carry out a dyslexia examination on a person who had no knowledge of English, even with an interpreter.  We managed to find a company who specialise in such examinations and who are well practiced in carrying out learning assessments on non-English speakers, without the aid of an interpreter.  Mr F was examined and the result was that he did have learning difficulties which prevented him from being able to pass the B1 test and Life in the UK test.  This report, along with evidence from his English teacher was submitted with his ILR application and the exemption was applied to him.  Mr F is now settled in the UK and free from immigration restrictions.

Since Mr F, we have assisted several clients in similar situations obtain ILR when they previously thought they had no hope as they could not be assessed for learning difficulties due to the language barrier preventing assessment.  If this sounds like you, or someone you know, please do get in touch with us and we can arrange for a learning assessment to be carried out.

Useful Links

Practice Questions:

Preparation Courses: