Exemption from the 'knowledge of language and life in the UK' requirement
This page explains how you may be exempted from needing to demonstrate your knowledge of the English language and life in the UK when you apply for naturalisation as a British citizen.
Changes to 'knowledge of language and life' requirements and application detailsRequirements for applicants for settlement or naturalisation changed on 28 October 2013, along with important information regarding the date of naturalisation.
If you are aged 65 or over, or you have a long-term physical or mental condition that prevents you from learning English or being tested on your knowledge of life in the UK, you may not need to meet either the language requirement or the knowledge of life in the UK requirement. You can apply for exemption by ticking the appropriate box at section 1.20 on the application form.
Physical or mental illness will not automatically exempt you from this requirement. If your illness responds to treatment, we will expect you to prepare yourself to meet the requirement. We will not consider exempting you from the requirement unless your condition prevents you permanently from learning English or about knowledge of life in the UK. Temporary illnesses, such as depression or stress, will not normally be grounds for exemption. You will need to provide proper evidence from your doctor. You will not be exempted on grounds of illiteracy.
Long residence is not a reason for exemption. People often ask whether they can be exempted from the test on the basis of their qualifications, or the fact that they are from an English-speaking country. The requirement to demonstrate knowledge of life in the UK is specified in law, and these are not grounds for exemption.
Knowledge of language and life in the UK became a requirement for settlement in 2007. If you were exempted from this requirement when you applied for settlement, you must now pass a test or take an ESOL course before applying for naturalisation, unless the previous exemption was agreed on grounds of your age or a physical or mental impairment. If you satisfied the settlement-stage requirements to have sufficient knowledge of language and life in the UK, you do not have to do it again.