The UK Border Agency has announced that there will be changes to the knowledge of life and language in the UK requirements for those who are applying for settlement (indefinite leave to remain) or naturalisation as a British citizen.

These changes are due to take place from October 2013 which means that all those who apply after this date must meet the new requirements.

From 28 October 2013, applicants who are applying for settlement or naturalisation will need to:

  1. Pass the Life in the UK Test; AND
  2. Have a speaking and listening qualification in English at B1 Common European Frame of Reference, or an equivalent level of qualification.

Those who are from a majority English speaking country or have a degree which was taught in English will not be required to sit a speaking and listening qualification but they will still be required to sit the Life in the UK Test.

Some exemptions still apply and these include children under the age of 18 years old, individuals aged 65 years and over, and those have a physical or mental condition which severely restricts their ability to learn English and/or take the Life in the UK Test.  There are also some specific applications for settlement that do not need to meet the knowledge of life and language in the UK, such as refugees, victims of domestic violence and those on discretionary leave to remain in the UK.

There are only specific tests which will be accepted by the UK Border Agency, and further changes could be made in the future, so please ensure that you have checked your position before submitting an application to the UKBA for settlement or naturalisation.

To discuss your current position before the changes take place, please contact a member of our Immigration Team and speak to a solicitor for further advice.