How to Prepare for Life in The UK Test
Applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) is a nerve-wracking time for many applicants. You may be unsure if you will be accepted, whether the paperwork submitted was correct, or whether any other problem may occur. Add to this the requirement to sit and pass the ‘Life in the UK test’, and it is easy to see why many ILR applicants may feel more than a little nervous about the process of seeking UK permanent residence. As those who have been through the ILR journey and have successfully passed the Life in the UK test will tell you, if you carefully prepare, you will pass with flying colours.
How best to study for the Life in the UK test
There is no real shortcut to making sure you will be able to pass the Life in the UK test (LITUK). Don’t just rely on your current general knowledge, as some questions can even confuse those born and raised in the UK.
LITUK is as much an exercise in how much you can remember as understanding UK history and culture.
LITUK mock tests
According to one applicant, Alessandro Morandi, who wrote about his experience and advice of passing LITUK on Medium.com, completing as many mock tests as possible is invaluable. As he says, the best source of the types of questions you will encounter are contained in the Home Office’s own publication, entitled, ‘Life in the United Kingdom Official Practice Questions & Answers which costs £7.99. The book also has a companion app which you can use on your mobile phone or tablet.
Alessandro also recommends using YouTube during your preparations. For example, he mentions the Kings and Queens series of videos, which cover the Normans, Middle Ages, Tudors, Stuarts, Georgians, and Moderns.
In addition, simply by searching ‘LITUK’, you will find many useful videos
How to book the Life in the UK test
Booking for the LITUK is completed online. Before booking, ensure you have all the information you will need, including:
- Your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) – the website confirms that if you don’t have a valid BRP yet, you can use your passport
- Your address (including postcode)
- A debit or credit card details
- Your email address
When completing the booking form, make sure that your name matches and is in the same order as your name on your BRP/passport (i.e. title, first, middle, and surname).
What can I expect on the day of the test?
Your test will be completed at an official UK test centre, of which there are over 30 across the UK, and you can expect to be there for around two hours in total. You will need to arrive at the time outlined in your confirmation email.
On arrival, you will have your ID checked, i.e. your BRP/passport. You must also take an original document showing your name and address (this must be no more than three months old) – any of the following may be used:
- a letter from the Home Office which includes your name and UK address
- UK photocard driving licence
- utility bill – e.g. gas/electricity/water
- council tax bill
- bank or credit card statement (a printed copy of a bank statement is acceptable, however it must have been stamped and signed by the issuing branch)
Make sure that the name and address shown on your proof of address matches the details you entered when you booked the LITUK.
Once you have had your identity confirmed, your photo will be taken prior to the test.
Before entering the test room, you will have an opportunity to place all of your valuables into a locker. Remember, you will not be allowed to take any written material, electronic devices including a mobile phone, or a wristwatch into the test room, hence it is best to leave all of your items in one of the lockers provided.
On arrival in the test room, your ID will be checked again, and you will be seated at the computer ready to complete the LITUK.
The test starts by providing four practice questions (it doesn’t matter if you get these wrong), after which you will complete the 24 questions provided. If you are unsure of an answer, the system allows you to simply flag these to be answered later in the test. Once completed, you will be asked to return to the waiting room.
After a small weight, your name will be called, and you will be told if you have passed or failed. If you pass, you will be given a ‘pass notification letter’. Do keep this letter safe, as you will need to provide this to the Home Office as proof that you have passed the test.
How much does the exam cost?
The current Life in the UK Test fee is £50 (as of May 2021), although this can increase at any time, so it is important to check the fee when you are ready (the test was originally £34).
What do I need to take the Life in the UK test?
UKVI advises that those taking the Life in the UK test should bring the same ID they used when booking their test to the test centre. They will also take your photo on the day of the test.
What happens if I fail the Life in the UK test?
If you fail the test, it can be repeated as many times as necessary to pass. That said, you will have to repeat the whole process outlined above and pay the test fee of £50 each time. You will also have to wait seven days before taking the test again. Your notification letter will tell you which questions you answered incorrectly, and hence may suggest areas that you need to study more before redoing the test.
Recommended reading: Who needs to take the Life in the UK test to qualify for UK Citizenship?
What happens after passing the Life in the UK test?
If you are successful, you will receive a ‘unique reference number’ to prove that you have passed the Life in the UK Test. This number can then be entered into your application form in the appropriate section.
How long is the Life in the UK certificate valid?
Thankfully, there is no expiry date on the Life in the UK Test, meaning that once you have passed the test, you will not need to take it again.
Can I get a replacement for a lost life in the UK pass letter?
To make your application for ILR or citizenship, you don’t need the pass letter, rather you will just need to enter the ‘unique reference number’ you receive when you pass. It is this number that the Home Office use to verify that you have passed. The Home Office advises that if you have lost your letter/reference number, to “send a letter explaining that you have lost it with your citizenship or settlement application”. It is advisable to include any information you do have with your covering letter, such as the date and location of your test. From this information, UKVI will be able to locate your test results and verify you have passed.
The LITUK test is only one aspect of the application process for indefinite leave to remain, but it is the one that many applicants fear the most. In practice, such worry is misplaced. Failure of the LITUK does not mean failure of your ILR application; you can simply repeat the test as many times as needed. There are many resources available for those taking the LITUK, in the form of books, e-books, sample tests, websites, videos, and mobile apps. Find a method of learning that works for you personally; you may prefer learning by listening, rather than reading. We wish you the best with your LITUK test and with your ILR application.