The UK has a couple of residence status that pertain to me: pre-settled (meaning you can stay for a defined period) or settled (meaning you can stay permanently). My status is pre-settled and expires in 2024. Once you have settled status for a year, you can apply for British citizenship. I think that it would be nice to have dual citizenship: USA and British. There are a number of pre-requisites to complete before you can apply for citizenship. One requirement is to pass the Life in the UK test.
Seems like it should be simple – especially after living in the UK for 5 years. But, it’s notoriously difficult.
I bought the online book and study guide. There are 24 questions and you get 45 minutes to answer them all. The questions are drawn from five topics: the values and principles of the UK, what is the UK, UK history, society and culture, and the UK government and laws.
The topics don’t sound too foreboding until you start studying and taking the practice tests. You need to know all of the kings and queens, what significance they played, and what century they lived in. You also need to know the same information about other important historical figures such as politicians, inventors, sculptors, artists, composers, and playwrights. For example, who acted as head of state and head of government in the mid 17th century? Anyone?
Then we move into the society area. Now you need to know the names of some of the most accomplished athletes from some sports you may or may not follow. These names include British gold winners in the Olympics and Paralympics. for example, which Paralympic swimmer won two gold medals in 2008 summer Olympics? Am I the only one that didn’t know this right off?
Then you need to understand the differences in the legal systems and courts in the UK, the evolution of voting rights, the evolution of parliament and the House of Lords. For example, what year did both men and women have the right to vote at 30 years old? The current voting age is 18 in the UK so I wasn’t prepared for that question (but I got it right).
I’m happy to report that I passed it on my first try. Now I need to complete the application form and put my documents together. The difficult part is providing mine and my partner’s original passports. I’m always afraid that I’ll need them.
Wish me luck!