Britain is a fantastic place to live: a modern, thriving society with a long and illustrious history. Our people have been at the heart of the world’s political, scientific, industrial and cultural development. We are proud of our record of welcoming new migrants who will add to the diversity and dynamism of our national life.
Applying to become a permanent resident or citizen of the UK is an important decision and commitment. You will be agreeing to accept the responsibilities which go with permanent residence and to respect the laws, values and traditions of the UK. Good citizens are an asset to the UK. We welcome those seeking to make a positive contribution to our society.
Passing the Life in the UK test is part of demonstrating that you are ready to become a permanent migrant to the UK. This handbook is designed to support you in your preparation. It will help you to integrate into society and play a full role in your local community. It will also help ensure that you have a broad general knowledge of the culture, laws and history of the UK.
What you need to understand:
- The origin of the values underlying British society
- The fundamental principles of British life
- The responsibilities and freedoms which come with permanent residence
- The process of becoming a permanent resident or citizen
- What are the values and principles of the UK?
- How to become a permanent resident?
- How to take the Life in the UK test?
- How to use our guide to pass the test?
- Where to find more information?
What are the values and principles of the UK?
British society is founded on fundamental values and principles which all those living in the UK should respect and support. These values are reflected in the responsibilities, rights and privileges of being a British citizen or permanent resident of the UK. They are based on history and traditions and are protected by law, customs and expectations. There is no place in British society for extremism or intolerance.
The fundamental principles of British life include:
- The rule of law
- Individual liberty
- Tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs
- Participation in community life
As part of the citizenship ceremony, new citizens pledge to uphold these values. The pledge is:
‘I will give my loyalty to the United Kingdom and respect its rights and freedoms. I will uphold its democratic values. I will observe its laws faithfully and fulfil my duties and obligations as a British citizen.’
Flowing from the fundamental principles are responsibilities and freedoms which are shared by all those living in the UK and which we expect all residents to respect.
If you wish to be a permanent resident or citizen of the UK, you should:
- respect and obey the law
- respect the rights of others, including their right to their own opinions
- treat others with fairness
- look after yourself and your family
- look after the area in which you live and the environment.
In return, the UK offers:
- freedom of belief and religion
- freedom of speech
- freedom from unfair discrimination
- a right to a fair trial
- a right to join in the election of a government.
How to become a permanent resident?
To apply to become a permanent resident or citizen of the UK, you will need to:
- speak and read English
- have a good understanding of life in the UK.
This mean you will need to:
- Pass the Life in the UK test
- Produce acceptable evidence of speaking and listening skills in English at B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference. This is equivalent to ESOL Entry Level 3.
There is a fee for submitting an application, which is different for the various types of application. All of the forms and a list of fees can be found on the UK Border Agency website, www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk
How to take the Life in the UK test?
This guide will help prepare you for taking the Life in the UK test. The test consists of 24 questions about important aspects of life in the UK, based on ALL parts of this online guide. The 24 questions will be different for each person taking the test at that test session.
The Life in the UK test is usually taken in English, although special arrangements can be made if you wish to take it in Welsh or Scottish Gaelic.
You can only take the test at a registered and approved Life in the UK test centre. There are about 60 test centres around the UK. You can only book your test online, at http://www.lifeintheuktest.gov.uk. You should not take your test at any other establishment as the UK Border Agency will only accept certificates from registered test centres.
If you live on the Isle of Man or in the Channel Islands, there are different arrangements for taking the Life in the UK test.
When booking your test, read the instructions carefully. Make sure you enter your details correctly. You will need to take some identification and proof of your address with you to the test. If you don’t take these, you will not be able to take the test.
How to use our guide to pass the test?
Everything that you will need to know to pass the Life in the UK test is included in this online guide. The test questions will be based on the whole book, including the following chapters:
- How to become British? (this section)
- What is the UK?
- What is the UK’s history?
- What is the UK’s society?
- What is the UK government, the British law and your role as citizen?
We’ve also created a glossary that contains some of the most important key words and phrases, which you might find helpful.
Where to find more information?
You can find out more information from the following places:
- The UK Border Agency website (www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk) for more information about the application process and the forms you will need to complete
- The Life in the UK test website (www.lifeintheuktest.gov.uk) for more information about the test and how to book a place to take one
- uk (www.gov.uk) for information about ESOL courses and how to find one in your area.