New rules for UK permanent residence on 2 April 2007

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The Immigration and Nationality Directorate plans to release new rules for people wishing to make the United Kingdom their home. The new rules will require applicants to show that they have a sufficient knowledge of language and life in the UK in order to qualify for settlement.

Since November 2005, applicants for citizenship have been required to take the "Life in the UK" test, and now the government wants to extend that requirement to people requesting permanent residence. They hope this will encourage people to learn the English language and to find out about UK structures, laws, democratic processes and traditions at the earliest opportunity. They believe this will help them to better realize their ambitions and become full and active citizens.

There are two ways to go through the process:

• If you are at or above ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) Entry 3, you can take a specially developed test called "Life in the UK Test".

• If you have not achieved ESOL Entry 3, you will need to get this qualification through attending an ESOL course at a local college.

The new rules are only required for applicants aged 18-65. A person may also be exempt if they have a mental or physical impairment that prevents them from taking the test or studying an ESOL course. People with permanent residence status who want to go through the citizenship process will not have to repeat the test if they have already taken it during their settlement requirements.

We have more detailed information about the Life in the UK Test, which we will be updating as needed.


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