Citizenship and Life in UK test
On this page:
11 May - The Life in the UK test is now available in Germany
Updated 18 Jan - Applying for Citizenship from Germany
16 Feb - Citizenship for children
I am an EEA national married to a British soldier, can I apply for Citizenship?
The test is a requirement for any soldier or spouse wishing to apply for Citizenship.
The KOL test is not easy – pre study is vital. It is recommended that you read the official study guide, copies are available at the AECs or you can buy a copy from the TSO SHOP. Free sample tests can be taken online here: www.ukcitizenshiptest.co.uk
- Registrations are completed online including the test payment fee, currently £50.00. Ensure all details are correct. Click here to go to the booking form
- All applicants must register on line a minimum of 7 days before the test date
- Proof of ID will be required for all persons booked to sit a test and it must be the same ID document used for the online registration
- Persons are required to attend the test centre 30 minutes before the test start time to complete the registration process
- Failure to attend means another fee payment
- Resits will incur an additional £50.00 fee for each test
- Test dates are the 3rd Monday of every month
- 42 AEC staff contact details: 94877 2505 (0049 5051 962 2505). The staff are fully trained and welcome calls about the registration process and pre- study etc. They cannot assist with queries about test questions
- ESOL courses (to improve your level of English) are run by Fallingbostel AEC.
- Tests dates are 3rd Tuesday and first Friday of every month.
- 51 AEC contact tel Mil:73 3413 Civ: 05241 843413
- Preparation Course – Run in the AEC, free to soldiers, 60Euros for dependants. Full –time for one week (0930-1700 Mon-Fri).
- ESOL entry level 3 courses also available, full-time, 2 weeks. Free to soldiers, 120Euros for dependants.
Remember that the Life in UK test pass certificate is only one of the requirements for applying for British Citizenship. For more information about making an application for Citizenship click here.
**The Life in UK test is not the same as the English Language test required for spouses of British Citizens who need a ‘settlement visa’ to enter the UK. For further information on this click here.Back to top
From 16 July 2012 if you are applying for British nationality from outside the UK you must send your application form to:
UK Border Agency
New Hall Place
From 16 July you cannot submit your application for British nationality to the British High Commission or British Consulate in your country.
If you are applying to naturalise as a British citizen, your nearest British High Commission or British Consulate will contact you about your citizenship ceremony, if applicable, and completing the process of naturalisation. You will be presented with your citizenship certificate at your citizenship ceremony.
As a result of the consulate in Dusseldorf closing in July 2012, your application will no longer be checked prior to being sent to UKBA and your documents will no longer be returned within 2 weeks of sending off your application. It is therefore imperative that you
- Double check the requirements to ensure that you are eligible to apply. Read the guide AN very carefully and phone the Nationality Helpline if you have any questions.
- Are not due posting within the next 6 months. UKBA will not usually return your documents until a decision has been made on your application. Applications take on average between 4-6 months to process. Certified copies of documents are not acceptable. If you are in this position you must inform your unit who should raise the issue to HQ BFG.
- Inform UKBA of your change of address. If they cannot contact you they may cancel your application and you will lose your money.
Serving Commonwealth soldiers: The requirements for applying for Citizenship from Germany if you are a serving soldier are the same as those when applying within the UK. You do not need to complete section 4 of the form as you are not making a Crown Service application. Click here for all information on how to apply.
You have two options when applying for Citizenship:
- Normal route – you have ILR or ILE: The guidance produced by UKBA is clear that all time spent overseas on an assignment is counted as residence in the UK. Click here for all information on how to apply for Citizenship using this route.
- Crown Service route – you don’t have ILR or ILE: The route allows spouses of HM Forces to apply for Citizenship even if they do not meet the residential requirements and the requirement to have ILR. New guidance introduced in 2012 now states that it is no longer necessary for the spouse to have been married for 3 years. The main requirement is that the soldier is a British Citizen already and that he/she was recruited in the UK*. The guidance also states that it is no longer necessary for the unit to provide a letter in support of the application, only that ‘the employing organisation should be asked what it knows about the applicants general character and suitability’. It is therefore recommended that if you wish to make a Crown Service application, you enclose the following document which details this new guidance so that the caseworker understands the rules you are applying under. Any problems with Crown service applications, please contact the F&C specialist. Click here for the Crown Service requirements doc.
*Spouses of ex-Gurkhas - Only spouses of soldiers who were enlisted in the UK are eligible to apply using the Crown Service rules. This means that spouses of Gurkhas who have transferred to the wider Army are not able to apply. AFF has raised this issue and it has been discussed at top-level MOD/UKBA meetings. Unfortunately we have been informed that although UKBA agree this is an unfair rule, to change this will mean a change in primary legislation which realistically is not going to happen when this affects a relatively small number of people. In the meantime, it is not recommended that a spouse of an ex-Gurkha apply for Crown Service, as it is likely that the application will be refused.Back to top
Citizenship for babies born to Foreign & Commonwealth families in Germany
On January 13th 2010, British Nationality law changed to allow the children of F&C personnel born outside the UK while their parent was on assignment to apply for British Citizenship. They need to meet the following requirements:
- they were born to a Foreign and Commonwealth member of the UK Armed Forces
- and that parent was serving outside the UK at the time of birth
- and both parents consent to the registration.
If your child is eligible you should make this application as soon as possible. If you are posted at short notice and your child does not have a passport he/she will be unable to travel.
UPDATE - Children born before January 13th 2010: UKBA have confirmed that ALL children (under 18) born whilst the soldier was on an overseas assignment are eligible to be registered under section 3(1) of the British Nationality Act 1981. Follow the guidance below but in section 1, question 1.1 you will need to write ‘section 3(1)’. As UKBA guidance has not yet been updated to reflect these changes, it is advisable to enclose this notice with your application.
Please note: the child’s mother does not have to have been accompanying the soldier on the overseas assignment in order to be eligible to register. If the child was born in Ghana for example whilst the soldier was in Germany, he/she would also be eligible to register. However if the child was born in Ghana whilst the soldier was serving in the UK, then it would not be eligible to register!
Passports: Your child will not be eligible for a British Passport until they have first been registered as a British Citizen.
How to apply: To register your child you will need to complete application form MN1, to download the form and guide, click here. In section 1, question 1.1 you are asked to indicate the section of the British Nationality Act 1981 under which you would like the application considered, you need to write ‘Section 4D’. As well as two passport photos, you will need to include the child’s full birth certificate*, passports of both parents and a letter from the soldier’s unit to confirm that one of the parents is currently in Crown Service. The letter should also confirm the date and place of birth of the child (this will cross-reference with the data on the child's full birth certificate) and the date and place of recruitment of the soldier.
*To get a birth certificate you need to register the birth first. This should be done within 6 weeks of birth. Speak to your UWO for more information.
From 16 July 2012 if you are applying for British nationality from outside the UK you must send your application form to:
UK Border Agency
PO BOX 306
Citizenship for children not born on an overseas assignment or the UK
If your child was not born in the UK or whilst the soldier was on an overseas posting, it may still be possible for them to apply for Citizenship but it will be necessary for either both parents to have Citizenship or for one to have Citizenship and the other to have ILR. AFF is aware of a couple of cases where children’s applications have been refused even if one parent is a British Citizen, because the child is not resident in the UK. Unlike spouses, children cannot make an application under the Crown Service rules, UKBA will be looking to see that the child’s future clearly lies in the UK, that the reason they are abroad is due to a parent being in Crown Service. For a full list of criteria that are considered for such applications, click here - click on chapter 9 and scroll down to pages 39-51. You will also see a list of suggested supporting documents on page 50. To register your child you will need to complete application form MN1, click on the link above. In section 1, question 1.1 you are asked to indicate the section of the British Nationality Act 1981 under which you would like the application considered, you need to write ‘Section 3(1)’. For payment and posting details see above.
Passport applications from country of origin
If you cannot or don’t wish to apply for British Citizenship for your child born in Germany, then the following information about applying for a passport from your country of origin may be useful.
HQ BFG recently issued the following notice, click here.
You should contact your local embassy as soon as possible to find out what the requirements are for getting a passport. A simple ‘google’ search will help you find your nearest embassy. Some countries will require you to register the child first even if you already have a British birth certificate, others may require you to return to your country of origin in order to apply.Back to top
There is no automatic entitlement to Citizenship. If you are a national of a country which is a member state of the EEA or Switzerland, you will automatically have ‘permanent residence status’ after exercising EEA free movement rights in the UK for any continuous period of five years ending on or after 30 April 2006, and therefore will not have to apply for indefinite leave to remain prior to applying for Citizenship. However you will only be considered to have been exercising free movement rights if you were either working, seeking work, studying or were economically self sufficient (which includes having comprehensive sickness insurance) for the five years. Information about exercising free movement rights and how you prove this can be found by clicking here. Click on the guide EEA for all information.
I have also recently been informed that you will not be able to count time overseas on accompanied assignments towards the five years residency period so you have to start the qualifying period from the moment you are posted to the UK.
For all information about applying for Citizenship if you are an EEA national, click here then click on the Guide and Booklet AN on the right hand side. You will find information about applying as an EEA national on pages 9-10.
If you are unsure as to whether you qualify to apply, you should contact the EEA residency enquiries contact centre on 0845 010 5200.
If you are in Germany, you have two further options:
1. You make an application for Citizenship based upon the soldiers Crown Service (see above). The main requirements are that you have been married for three years and that you can get a letter from the soldiers unit stating that it is in the best interest of the Army for you to become a British Citizen.
This may not be easy, as an EEA national you do not need a visa to enter and live in the UK, unlike Commonwealth spouses. It is easy for the unit to agree that it is in the best interests of the Army for a Commonwealth spouse to gain British Citizenship because it saves them a lot of time and money, but this is not necessarily the case for an EU spouse. I have known units to refuse to write such a letter for EU spouses, your application will not be successful without this letter.
2. If your unit will not write a letter then your other option would be to apply for a ‘settlement’ visa on posting back to the UK. You don’t actually need a visa but it would be the quickest route to British Citizenship, you would be granted a two year spouse/probationary visa at the end of which you could apply for ILR and then following that, Citizenship. You would probably have to pay for the cost of the visa, the unit is unlikely to pay as you don’t actually need one. This information is included on the UKBA website:
EUN1.11 Do family members of EEA nationals have to apply under the EEA regulations?
No, they can choose to apply under the immigration rules. One advantage of applying under the Immigration rules would be obtaining indefinite leave after a probationary period of 27 months, for example. It takes longer to obtain permanent residency under EU law.