If you are pursuing UK immigration, and you are applying as an applicant for certain immigration categories, including indefinite leave to remain (IRL) and British citizenship, you may need to fulfill a requirement known as a Knowledge of Life in the UK (known as KOL UK). Applicants for UK immigration who need to satisfy this requirement can do this by taking an official test, called a KOL test. Read on for more information about how to demonstrate Knowledge of Life in the UK. If you are wondering how to demonstrate my Knowledge of Language and Life in the UK, this blog will answer that question, as well as help you understand other related topics, such as what is the purpose of the life in the UK test. 

Knowledge of Language and Life in the UK

  • Applicants for more permanent immigration categories in the UK must demonstrate a degree of English language fluency as well as a basic understanding of UK culture and history. Collectively, this is known as “Knowledge of Language and Life in the UK”.
  • The “Knowledge of Language and Life in the UK” can be broken into two categories “Knowledge of Language” and “Knowledge of Life”; both elements are therefore part of one general requirement. You must meet both requirements collectively in order to be eligible for any form of UK immigration categories with KOLL requirements. Today’s blog will focus on the first element (Knowledge of Life); a later blog will address the topic “How to demonstrate my knowledge of language in the UK”.

What is the Knowledge of Life in the UK Test?

  • A KOL test is an examination that applicants must take in order to demonstrate their “Knowledge of Life in the UK,” and therefore fulfill an eligibility requirement for certain avenues of UK immigration.
  • Please note that a passing score on the KOL test is meant to demonstrate that you have achieved ½ of the “Knowledge of Language and Life in the UK” requirement (the language requirement is separate).
  • The KOL test consists of 24 questions about the country’s heritage and cultural life. The questions are related to British history and government, cultural and religious traditions, architecture, the monarchy, etc.
  • The test is based on content derived from “The Official Life in the United Kingdom – A Guide for New Residents (3rd edition) handbook.” Applicants should purchase the book prior to sitting for the exam, in order to be familiar with the information it contains. The handbook can be purchased online, here.

Who needs to take the KOL Test

  • Most applicants for UK immigration who are applying for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) need to fulfil the KOL requirement. 
  • Most applicants for UK immigration who are applying for naturalization (i.e. those applying for British citizenship). 
  • Certain types of applicants, such as domestic violence victims, highly skilled migrants, and other categories of individuals are exempt from the requirement).

What is the purpose of the Life in the UK Test?

  • The purpose of the KOL tests is to determine whether you have a basic understanding of “Life in the UK” i.e. that you have a basic understanding of the country’s heritage and cultural life. Whether you do or not (i.e. whether or not you pass the test) will be used to determine whether or not you are a good candidate for immigration. 
  • According to the logic behind the KOL test requirement, those who have a basic understanding of UK cultural norms and history are more likely to be “successful” candidates for UK immigration. 
  • Your knowledge and understanding of the country you are applying to settle permanently in is therefore an element of your immigration eligibility. Failure to demonstrate adequate knowledge about the UK will result in your being denied the opportunity to settle there permanently. 

Exceptions

  • Certain types of applicants are exempt from the KOL UK requirement. If you can be described as one of the following, you will not need to demonstrate your Knowledge of Life in the UK:
    • Cannot fulfill the requirement due to a mental disorder or physical disability that exempts you.
    • 0-17 years old.
    • 65+ years old.

How much does it cost?

  • The Knowledge of Life in the UK test fee is £50.
  •  You must pay for the test in order to sit for it. Payment will be collected when you register for the test online, in the form of either credit or debit. 
  • Please note that certain additional services are available at an additional fee. For example, applicants who wish to sit for a test on Sunday or register for a last-minute test may pay £15.00 to do so. Additionally, certain candidates may reserve a private test center for an undisclosed fee (call directly to find out specific pricing). 

How to take the test

  • KOL tests are administered throughout Britain. Applicants should register for the test online, at a minimum of three days prior to the day they intend to take it in person.
  • You can register for the test online, through this link.
  • In order to be eligible to sign up for a test, applicants must have access to their email, complete home address, and a (valid) official photo ID.
  • After you successfully register online (a process which includes paying the testing fee), you will receive an email informing you of what time you should show up to the exam facility. Failure to arrive by your mandated time could result in your being denied a test  (in the event that you miss your exam, you may also be denied a refund).
  • Prior to sitting for the test, the testing authorities will take your photo. Please note that this is mandatory for all test takers.

What to bring to the test

  • In order to take your test, you must present the following upon your arrival to the testing facility: 
    • Photo ID (In order to sit for the test, you must present the same ID that you used to register for the exam to your testing site).
  • Please note that you will not be able to bring any documents/materials, phones, watches, or any electronic devices into the examination room. If you do bring these items into the facility, you will be asked to store them in a locker prior to entering the examination room. This requirement is meant to discourage cheating during the exam. Please note that if you are caught cheating, your test will be cancelled, and your immigration application could be jeopardized.  
  • Please note that you should also avoid bringing to the center anyone who is not taking the test with you. 

How long does the test take?

  • The test takes 45 minutes to complete. 
  • While the test is only 45 minutes, please expect to be at the testing facility for a maximum of two hours. 

When will I know the results?

  • You will be informed of your score on the same day you take the test, at the testing facility. 
  • After you learn of your score, you will be provided a Unique Reference Number (URN), which corresponds to your results. You will use this number to access your results on the LitUK account. 

How to prepare for the test

  • You can study for the Knowledge of life in the UK test by thoroughly absorbing all of the content in the official handbook (mentioned above). 
  • In addition to studying the handbook, applicants may also sit for a practice exam. Applicants who wish to sit for a practice exam will do during the same appointment at which they take the official test.  

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