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Who Needs to Take the Test – Citizenship

This article covers who needs to take the Life in the UK Test when applying for citizenship. If you are applying for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) then please see Who needs to take the test – Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).

The Life in the UK Test is a compulsory requirement for British citizenship and very few exemptions apply.

If you meet the standard requirements for naturalisation then you are likely eligible to apply for citizenship.

Normally, you are only eligible to apply for British citizenship twelve months after you are granted ILR as this is when you become ‘free from immigration time restrictions’. This means that achieving British citizenship takes an extra year compared to ILR.


There are very few exemptions when applying for citizenship –  if you were exempt when applying for settlement, you may now have to take the test. The requirement to demonstrate knowledge of life and language in the UK is stated in the law and very few considerations are allowed.

People under 18, and over 65 years of age are exempted. Also, demonstrated their knowledge of language and life in the UK at the settlement stage do not have to do it again.

There are no exemptions for long residence. There are no exemptions if you have certain qualifications, or have invested a certain amount of money in the UK.

You are also not exempt if you come from an English speaking country, although this may mean you are exempt from the requirement to have an English language qualification.

Health and disabilities

If you have a ‘long-standing, permanent’ physical or mental health condition you may be exempt. This condition must prevent you from studying for or taking the test permanently. To be exempt you must:

  • be suffering from a long-term illness or disability that severely restricts your mobility and ability to attend language classes; or
  • have a mental impairment which means that you are unable to learn another language.

You will have to provide evidence from a medical practitioner to confirm this disability.

Conditions such as stress and depression are not grounds for exemption. There are also no exemptions on the grounds of illiteracy.

If you have a visual or hearing impairment then this will not necessarily exempt you from the test. Physical conditions like this are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Most test centres are well equipped to assist people with such disabilities. Check with your local test centre to see if they can accommodate you. If they can not, then contact the Home Office for guidance on completing your application for settlement or citizenship.