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Chapter 1: The Values and Principles of the UK

Illustration of British Values and Principles

The beginning of this chapter talks about the key beliefs and rules of being a UK citizen. It explains the rights and responsibilities for everyone living in the UK.
The next part of Chapter 1 looks at the things you need to do to become a permanent resident or citizen of the UK. Finally, the last part of this Chapter gives advice on what is in the test, how to arrange your Life in the UK Test, how to use the 'Life in the UK Handbook 3rd Edition: A Guide for New Residents', and offers a list of useful contacts. You can use these contacts to find more information about how to become a permanent resident or British citizen, or to learn more about your Life in the UK Citizenship Test.

Starting Off

The UK is a wonderful place to live, filled with history and diverse cultures. Its people have played a big part in many of the world's political, scientific, industrial, and cultural developments. We are proud of our tradition of welcoming new people who add to the mix and energy of our national life.
Choosing to become a permanent resident or citizen of the UK is a big decision and commitment. When you do this, you agree to accept the responsibilities that come with living here permanently, and to respect the UK's laws, values, and traditions. We greatly value good citizens and warmly welcome those who want to contribute positively to our society.
Passing the Life in the UK test is a key step in showing you're ready to become a permanent resident in the UK. This handbook is here to help you get ready. It will assist you in becoming part of society and taking an active role in your local community. It will also make sure you have a good general understanding of the UK's culture, laws, and history.

UK's Core Values and Principles

The UK society is founded on key values and principles that everyone living in the UK should honor and uphold. These values reflect the duties, rights, and benefits of being a British citizen or a permanent resident of the UK. They come from our history and traditions, and are protected by our laws, customs, and the expectations of society. There is no room for extremism or intolerance in UK society.

Key principles of life in the UK include:

  • Democracy
  • Respect for the rule of law
  • Personal freedom
  • Acceptance of people with different religions and beliefs
  • Involvement in community life

"I will be loyal to the United Kingdom and respect its rights and freedoms. I will support its democratic values. I promise to follow its laws faithfully and carry out my duties and obligations as a British citizen."

From these core principles come responsibilities and freedoms that are common to all people living in the UK and are expected to be respected.

If you want to be a permanent resident or citizen of the UK, you should:

  • Respect and follow the law
  • Respect the rights of others, including their right to have their own thoughts
  • Treat others fairly
  • Take care of yourself and your family
  • Take care of the place where you live and the environment

The UK promises to provide:

  • Fair and just laws
  • Respect for everyone's rights, including their right to their own thoughts
  • Freedom of belief and religion
  • Freedom to speak openly
  • Freedom from unfair treatment
  • The right to be treated fairly in court
  • The right to participate in voting for a government

Applying to be a permanent resident

If you want to apply to be a permanent resident or citizen in the UK, you need to:

  • Be able to speak and read English
  • Understand well about life in the UK

To achieve this, you will need to:

  • Pass the Life in the UK test
  • Show proof that you can speak and understand English to a certain level. This is known as B1 level in the Common European Framework of Reference. It is the same as ESOL Entry Level 3.

The things you need to apply for citizenship may change in the future. It is best to check the UK Border Agency website for the newest information and current needs before you apply to live permanently or to become a citizen.

How to Take the Life in the UK Test

The Life in the UK test handbook is there to help you get ready for the test. The test has 24 questions that are about important things about life in the UK. The questions come from ALL parts of the handbook, and the 24 questions will be different for each person taking the test at that time.
Usually, the Life in the UK test is in English, but if you want, you can make special plans 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 in the UK. To book your test, go to the official website at It's very important to take the test only at registered test centres, because the UK Border Agency will only accept certificates from these centres. If you live in the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands, different rules apply.
When you book your test, read the instructions carefully and make sure you put in your details correctly. You will need to bring something to show who you are and proof of where you live to the test. If you do not bring these documents, you will not be able to take the test.

About the Life in the UK Test Handbook

All the things you need to know to pass the Life in the UK test are in the 'Life in the United Kingdom: A Guide for New Residents' handbook. The test questions come from the whole book, including this introduction, so it's important that you study the whole book very carefully. The handbook is written in a way that anyone who can read English at ESOL Entry Level 3 or higher should find it easy to understand.
The sections called 'Check that you understand' are there to help you see specific things that you need to understand. But, just knowing the things in these sections will not be enough to pass the test. It's very important that you understand everything in the book, so please read the information very carefully.

Where to Get More Information

You can find more information from these places:

  • The Home Office website has information about how to apply and the forms you need to fill out.
  • The Life in the UK test website has information about the test and how to book a place to take it.
  • has information about ESOL courses and how to find one near where you live.

Make Sure You Understand

  • Where the values that are the foundation of British society come from
  • The most important principles of life in Britain
  • The responsibilities and freedoms that come with living permanently in the UK
  • How to become a permanent resident or citizen