Everything you NEED to know about the British Citizenship Test in 2019

british citizenship test

PART 1 – What is the British Citizenship Test in 2019?


#1 What is the British Citizenship Test?

The British Citizenship Test (also known as the ‘Life in the UK Test’) is a multiple-choice test taken on a computer at a test centre near you.  This test is generally required if you are applying for settlement (‘indefinite leave to remain’ or ‘permanent residence’) in the UK or British Citizenship.

It consists of 24 multiple choice questions on British culture.  

You have 45 minutes in total to answer these questions and there is a pass rate of 75% (which is at least 18/24 correct answers).

#2 Do I need to sit the British Citizenship Test?

Everyone is required to take the test, unless you:

  • Are under the age of 18 years; or
  • Are 65 years of age or over; or
  • Cannot take the test due to a long term medical condition – in this case you will need to produce either an exemption form or a letter from a doctor confirming you are unable to take the test for said medical reasons.
  • Have previously passed the test.  For example, if you included the test as part of your indefinite leave to remain application, you do not need to sit the test again.

There are a few further exemptions:

  • If you are the spouse of a British citizen/person settled in the UK and you have been a victim of domestic violence or your spouse has died.
  • If you are an adult dependant relative; and
  • If you are a spouse of a foreign and commonwealth citizen on discharge from HM forces (including Gurkhas).

Unfortunately, most people have to take the test!

#3 How difficult is the official British Citizenship Test?

The general pass rate for the current British Citizenship test is 70% (as stated in a study conducted in 2014).

The general pass rate for EU nationals was 86%, whilst the general pass rate for non-EU nationals is 68%.

#4 How much does the British Citizenship Test cost?

The test costs £50 at the moment.  If you do find yourself paying more than this, it is because you are paying a third party to book the test for you (this is not essential!).

#5 What topics are examined in the British Citizenship Test? 

The topics, as listed in the official book, are titled:

  • The values and principles of the UK
  • What is the UK?
  • A long and illustrious history
  • A modern, thriving society
  • The UK government, the law and your role

british citizenship test book

PART 2 – The British Citizenship Test Book in 2019: Preparing for the Exam


#1 What is the British Citizenship Test Book?

It is called Life in the United Kingdom: A Guide for New Residents (3rd Edition)”. The questions in the British citizenship test are based on this book.

This is the only official British citizenship test book available and can be bought on Amazon from £9.99-£12.99 by clicking here.

#2 Should I focus completely on memorising the practice questions?

Not at all.  

The best thing you can do is make sure you understand what you are learning.  

You should be able to reiterate what you have been learned in your own words.

Unfortunately, there is no alternative to studying the official text in depth – it is a huge oversight on the part of those who simply just practice the questions!

booking british citizenship test

PART 3 – Booking the British Citizenship Test in 2019


#1 How do I book the British Citizenship Test?

You should always book the British citizenship test through the official government page.  

It should be booked online at least 3 days in advance.  

Be wary of third parties charging you more than £50.

#2 I have a disability – should I let the test centre know beforehand?

Yes you should.  

It would be best to call the test helpline number on 0800 015 4245.

#3 What documents do I need to book the test?

Any of the below listed ID may be used to book the test:

  • Passport – this may be expired, but it MUST NOT be cancelled.
  • UK Driving Licence – this must be current and not expired.
  • Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) – this must not be expired.
  • European ID Card – this must be current and not expired.
  • A stateless person document, certificate of identity document (CID) or a convention travel document (CTD).

Note: If you are in possession of a BRP, this MUST be used as evidence of your identity in order to take the test.

You can find more details on the identification rules by clicking here.

If you are not in possession of any of the listed documents, you should email nationalityenquiries@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk.

#4 Do I need anything else to book the test?

The official gov.uk states that you will also need:

  • An email address
  • A debit or credit card to pay the £50 fee

#5 British Citizenship Test Centres – Which one should I book?

There are around 60 test centres in the UK.  

However, you should ONLY attend one of the test centres which are closest to you and appear during the booking stages.  

If you do happen to attend a test centre which is not near you, you will NOT be given permission to take the test and will NOT be given a refund.

There is no variation of test difficulties between the test centre – just so you are aware!

#6 I have more questions, who can I call?

You can call the British citizenship test helpline on 0800 015 4245 if you have any further questions.  

They are open between 8am to 4pm from Monday to Friday.  To find out how much the call may cost, click here.  

All of the questions that may be covered in the British citizenship test can be found in the official book we have mentioned above.

You should make sure you are well prepared before booking the test.  It would be a shame to waste your time taking the test and £50!

taking british citizenship test

PART 4 – Taking the British Citizenship Test in 2019


#1 What do I need to bring with me to the test?

If you do not bring the ID that you used to book the test, you may not be given permission to sit the test.

You will also require to bring proof of your address that has your full name and postcode on it.  

This must be no more than 3 months old on the day of your test.

One of the following documents can be provided as proof of your address:

  • Personal bank account statement
  • Official Home Office letter with your name and address on it
  • Council tax bills
  • Utility (gas, water or electric) bill

Any document provided must be an ORIGINAL document.

Bank statements printed by yourself may not be accepted unless you can get every page certified by the bank (stamped on every page by an official at your local branch).

#2 Arriving at the test centre

When you book your test, you should receive an email advising you what time you should turn up at the test centre.  

You should prepare well in advance and plan your journey in good time.  Aim to be there 15 minutes before your allocated time.  

If you are late, your test may be cancelled and you will not get a refund!

Once you have arrived at the test centre, you must register your attendance.  This could take some time, so again, it is always recommended to take this in to consideration and arrive early.

As you will not be permitted to take anything in the test, you will be given a locker, where you can store your personal property.  You cannot bring the following items in to the test room:

  • Wristwatches
  • Electronic devices (such as mobile phones)
  • Any written material, including the handbook.

Another important matter to keep in mind is that you will be questioned on the identity documents, your address, and your reasons for taking the test.  This is standard practice – so do not let this alarm you!

#3 The Exam Room

When you enter the exam room, a staff member will show you to your computer.  You will also be asked to display your ID on the desk by you.  You will then be provided with instructions on what you can expect during the test and told how to sit the test.

As soon as everyone taking the test has had their ID verified, you will be allowed to start the test.

There is an option to take a short practice test 5 minutes prior to the test.  We would highly recommend this as it allows you to become accustomed to the test software.

You have 45 minutes to finish the test.  Once you have completed the test, you should press the “Finish Test” button.  Be careful not to click this button by accident – once you have done so, the test is over!

Once you have finished answering the questions, we would advise you to spend the remaining minutes of your test checking your answers.  However, you can raise your hand to let a staff member know that you have finished.  You will then be provided with a number and will need to wait in the reception area for your test result.

You will be provided with a Pass Notification Letter, if you pass the test.  You will need to sign this and make sure you do not leave the test centre without it or lose it!  This is what you will need to send with your settlement or British citizenship application.

#4 How long will the whole thing last?

Although the test is only 45 minutes long, we would advise that you give yourself roughly 2 hours in the test centre.  Registration and ID verification can be a lengthy process sometimes!

#5 Can I try to cheat the exam?

Yes, but it would be extremely ill advised!  

If you are caught, not only will you fail your test, but you may be prosecuted and reported to the Home Office.  

You may not be allowed to book any more tests – making getting British citizenship almost impossible!

results british citizenship test

PART 5 – I sat the test – what now?


#1 If you passed the test….

You should be given a letter as evidence of your successful completion of the test.  

You need to keep this letter very safe! You will require to submit it with your application.

If you do lose the certificate, you can call the official number 03001 232 253.

In this case, the Home Office will also be sent an electronic version of your pass certificate.  You should submit your application as soon as possible in this case, as the Home Office do not keep the electronic version indefinitely – only for a reasonable period of time.

#2 If you failed the test….

You can rebook the test after 7 days, if you failed the test.  

There is no limit set by the Home Office on the number of times you can take the test.  Of course, each time the questions will be different, it will cost you £50 and time that you will not get back!

brexit british citizenship

BONUS – British Citizenship Test & Brexit


#1 How does Brexit affect the British Citizenship Test?

The way the British citizenship test is structured may change at any time.  However, the Home Office will always provide notice so you are able to check that you are studying the latest materials.  It is essential that you check this!

#2 What is the impact of Brexit on me?

The UK is due to leave the EU on 29 March 2019.  If you have obtained British citizenship or indefinite leave to remain by this time, your immigration status will not be affected by the changes.  This is why it is usually recommended that you acquire settlement and/or British citizenship if you can.

Watch the Home Office video below that discusses the impact of Brexit:


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