The Values and Principles of the UK

The first section of this Charter focuses on the fundamental values and principles of being a UK citizen, providing an overview of the responsibilities and freedoms that apply to anyone living in this country.

The second section of Chapter 1 examines the requirements that you must fulfil if you want to become a permanent resident or citizen of the UK. Finally, the last section of this Chapter serves as a guidance on what test involves, how you can book your Life in the UK Test, how to use the ‘Life in the UK Handbook 3rd Edition: A Guide for New Residents’ as well as a section of useful contacts where you can find information on any other questions that you may have about your application to become a permanent resident or British citizen or about your Life in the UK Citizenship Test.


Britain is a fantastic place to live: a modern, thriving society with a long and illustrious history. Our people have been at the heart of the world’s political, scientific, industrial and cultural development. We are proud of our record of welcoming new migrants who will add to the diversity and dynamism of our national life.

Applying to become a permanent resident or citizen of the UK is an important decision and commitment. You will be agreeing to accept the responsibilities which go with permanent residence and to respect the laws, values and traditions of the UK. Good citizens are an asset to the UK. We welcome those seeking to make a positive contribution to our society.

Passing the Life in the UK test is part of demonstrating that you are ready to become a permanent migrant to the UK. This handbook is designed to support you in your preparation. It will help you to integrate into society and play a full role in your local community. It will also help ensure that you a have a broad general knowledge of the culture, laws and history of the UK.

The values and principles of the UK British society is founded on fundamental values and principles which all those living in the UK should respect and support. These values are reflected in the responsibilities, rights and privileges of being a British citizen or permanent resident of the UK. They are based on history and traditions and are protected by law, customs and expectations. There is no place in British society for extremism or intolerance.

The fundamental principles of British life include:
  • Democracy
  • The rule of law
  • Individual liberty
  • Tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs
  • Participation in community life.
As part of the citizenship ceremony, new citizens pledge to uphold these values. The pledge is:
‘I will give my loyalty to the United Kingdom and respect its rights and freedoms. I will uphold its democratic values. I will observe its laws faithfully and fulfil my duties and obligations as a British citizen.’

Flowing from the fundamental principles are responsibilities and freedoms which are shared by all those living in the UK and which we expect all residents to respect.

If you wish to be a permanent resident or citizen of the UK, you should:
  • Respect and obey the law
  • Respect the rights of others, including their right to their own opinions
  • Treat others with fairness
  • Look after yourself and your family
  • Look after the area in which you live and the environment
In return, the UK offers:
  • Freedom of belief and religion
  • Freedom of speech
  • Freedom from unfair discrimination
  • A right to a fair trial
  • A right to join in the election of a government

Becoming a permanent resident

To apply to become a permanent resident or citizen of the UK, you will need to:
  • Speak and read English
  • Have a good understanding of life in the UK
This means you will need to:
  • Pass the Life in the UK test
  • AND
  • Produce acceptable evidence of speaking and listening skills in English at B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference. This is equivalent to ESOL Entry Level 3

The requirements for citizenship applications may also change in the future. Further details will be published on the UK Border Agency website and you should check the information on that website for current requirements before applying for settlement or citizenship.

Taking the Life in the UK Test

The Life in the Uk test handbook will help prepare you for taking the Life in the UK test. The test consists of 24 questions about important aspects of life in the UK. Questions are based on ALL parts of the handbook. The 24 questions will be different for each person taking the test at that test session.

The Life in the UK test is usually taken is English, although special arrangements can be made if you wish to take it in Welsh or Scottish Gaelic.

You can only take the test at a registered and approved Life in the UK test centre. There are about 30 test centres around the UK. You can only book your test online, at You should not take your test at any other establishment as the UK Border Agency will only accept certificates from registered test centres. If you live on the Isle of Man or in the Channel Islands, there are different arrangements for taking the Life in the UK test.

When booking your test, read the instructions carefully. Make sure you enter your details correctly. You will need to take some identification and proof of your address with you to the test. If you don’t take these, you will not be able to take your test.

Where to find more information

You can find out more information from the following places:
  • The UK Border Agency website ( for more information about the application process and the forms you will need to complete
  • AND
  • The Life in the UK test website ( for more information about the test and how to book a place to take one

Check that you understand

  • The origin of the values underlying British society
  • The fundamental principles of British life
  • The responsibilities and freedoms which come with permanent residence
  • Expert-created content and resources
  • The process of becoming a permanent resident or citizen