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The British Citizenship Test

By: Joanne Walker BA (hons) - Updated: 29 Dec 2012 | comments*Discuss
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The British citizenship test is a new test introduced in 2005, which people who want to become British citizens have to take. The test is designed to make sure that people who want to become full British citizens and hold a British passport know a suitable amount about the country they are adopting, its customs and cultures.

The test itself is a 45 minute test on the history, society and culture of the UK. Applicants can prepare for it by reading Life in the UK, a special handbook which is given to all applicants.

Who is the Test For?

The test itself is for those people who want to be given indefinite leave to remain in the UK or be granted citizenship and given a British passport. But to take the test, the person’s level of English must be above a certain level. The immigration office will be able to inform you of what this level is.

If your English is not sufficiently good, then before you can sit the citizenship test, you will have to attend and English course and bring your language skills sufficiently up to scratch before you can sit the citizenship test. The test needs to be taken before a person applies for indefinite leave to remain in the UK, which is known as naturalisation, or before an application for citizenship is made.

The Test Itself

The test itself comprises 24 questions. The questions will about life in general in the UK and not be specific to any local variations. There may, however, be questions about the countries which make up the UK. The test must be sat at an approved centre – the immigration office will tell you where the nearest one is.

As well as the official book which will help you to prepare for the test, there are plenty of other study guides on the market to help you revise. The immigration office also has a website where practice questions are available to help applicants to prepare and get a feel for what the test will be like.

When You Pass or Fail

The pass mark for the test is 75 per cent and you will be informed of whether you have passed or failed after the test. If you have passed, then you will be given a letter which must be kept safe. When the application for citizenship is made, you will need the letter as proof that you have passed the test. If you fail – do not be discouraged.

Although you cannot apply for citizenship if you have failed, you can take the test again. You will need to wait for seven days but after that you are free to take it again, although you should look at why you failed and work on that before you do apply for another test.

The British Citizenship test is nothing to be afraid of. It is simply a tool whereby the authorities can make sure that the people who are granted citizenship understand what it means to be a part of British society. If you have lived in the UK for a while and feel you understand the country and its customs, then the test should be fairly straightforward and be a simple matter of getting it passed so you can then apply for citizenship.

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