What is the Britishness Test?

As of November 1, 2005, those who are applying for UK naturalization must pass a ‘Life in the UK test’ or the Britishness Test before they could submit the application for UK citizenship. In fact, as of April 2, 2007, the same criteria have been extended to include those applying for permanent residence as well. The UK government has proposed the Britishness test to ensure that all aspiring citizens of the country are knowledgeable about the heritage and culture of UK in general. The questions in the Britishness test can be anything from UK culture, law, history, and demography, to tenets of parliamentary democracy, employment issues, shifts in youth culture and even science and technology.

One must take the Britishness test just before applying for the naturalization as a British citizen, provided he/she meets all other requirements. The requirements also include passing ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) if you are not strong enough in English. You can assess your level of English proficiency from a local further education college. Those passing the Britishness test will be issued a letter stating that you have passed the test successfully, and it has to be produced along with the application for UK citizenship. However, it should be kept in mind that this letter of pass is the only document you have to prove that you have indeed passed the Britishness test. If you lose it, then you’ll be left with no other choice but to take the test one more time again.

For those who are not used to with the culture of UK, it is advisable to read ‘Life in the United Kingdom: A Journey to Citizenship’. The same is also prescribed for those who have once failed in the exam before them rescheduling the dates for yet another attempt.

The Britishness test is usually a 24 question, multiple choice online exam based on the 2, 3, and 4th chapters of ‘Life in the United Kingdom: A Journey to Citizenship’ book. The exam must be completed within 45 minutes. But that is usually plenty of time and there is no need to rush through the exam. In fact, every candidate will get more than enough time to review the answers and make corrections if necessary. The pass rate is 75%. Finally, those suffering from various medical conditions will be allowed more time to complete the test, however the applicant must mention his/her illness while scheduling the test date itself. No change of status will be allowed thereafter.

Among the items that have to be produced at the test center in order to submit to the supervisor for verification include either a passport; full or provisional UK photo card driving license; immigration status document endorsed with a UK Residence Permit, bearing a photograph of the holder; any of these Home office documents: Certificate of Identity Document, Stateless Person Document, or Convention Travel Document. Take care not to sign on any photograph as it is not acceptable as per the current test rules.

You could catch more information on the British citizenship test from the Home Office (website) or from various immigration consultant websites. The exam costs £34.