All adults who want to become a British citizen will need to demonstrate their knowledge of life in the UK by successfully completing the new Life in the UK nationality (citizenship) test from tomorrow.
In addition to the existing English language requirement, applicants will now need to pass the Life in the UK test or successfully complete the new English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Skills for Life course.
Applicants who already possess a good standard of English (ESOL Entry 3 or above) will take the Life in the UK test.
They will be given 24 multiple choice questions designed to test their knowledge of life in this country. The questions will focus on all areas of UK society – on a range of topics – from UK traditions to the laws that govern us.
Applicants whose English is below ESOL Entry 3 standard can take a specially developed ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) with Citizenship course. This will combine language skills with information about life in the UK. Applicants who successfully pass an ESOL with citizenship course will have met both the language and the knowledge of life in the UK requirements for naturalisation. The tests were thoroughly trialled before being introduced and feedback from those who took them was good.
Home Office Minister, Tony McNulty said:
"Becoming a British citizen is a milestone event in an individual’s life – we have recognised the importance of the event by introducing citizenship ceremonies which celebrate the act of becoming a British citizen. An understanding of the British language and our way of life is vital. We must maintain and further develop a society in which new citizens feel welcome and where there is a clear understanding of the expectations of all residents – new and old.
"The measures we are introducing today will help new citizens to gain a greater appreciation of the civic and political dimension of British citizenship and, in particular, to understanding the rights and responsibilities that come with the acquisition of British citizenship. This will enable new citizens to play a full part in their wider community and will benefit both our society and economy."
1) The Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 included provisions requiring those seeking naturalisation as British citizens to demonstrate that they have a sufficient understanding of English (or Welsh or Scottish Gaelic) and a sufficient knowledge of life in the UK. The provisions are being brought fully into force on 1 November, although applicants have had to demonstrate knowledge of English since July 2004.
2) The Life in the UK test was developed for the Home Office by Ufi Ltd and piloted in June 2005 at 8 test centres across the country.
3) Applicants aged 65 or over or who have a physical or mental impairment may not have to meet with the language requirement or the knowledge of Life in the UK requirement.
4) The handbook "Life in the United Kingdom: A Journey to Citizenship" is available from bookshops or from The Stationery Office.
5) The fee for the test will be £34.
6) The ABNI (Advisory Board on Naturalisation and Integration) was set up in November 2004 as an independent public board to provide advice to the Government on the integration of migrants to the UK on the principles set out in the Report The New and the Old, published in 2003 by an independent group chaired by Professor Sir Bernard Crick. The ABNI has monitored and advised the implementation of these provisions and overseen the progress on developing a curriculum.
7) There will be around 90 test centres across the UK.