It’s not a citizenship test. I don’t know why this bothers me as much as it does, but I get so goddam irate when I hear politicians, media, everyone calling it a citizenship test and no one challenging it or correcting them.
I’m not quite sure how well my experience generalizes, so I’ll just tell you how it worked for me. As a non-EU citizen marrying a British person, I got a spouse visa. This was stressful, expensive and sucky in itself, but I won’t go into it here. The visa lasts for two years, and you’re responsible for having the next thing in place by the time it runs out.
The next thing is called Indefinite Leave to Remain. You send off an application with all kinds of bank statements, bills proving you both live in the same place (this is their idea of proving you’re still married), photos of both of us, my passport…oh yeah, and a lot of money.
Up until a month or two before I needed to pay it, the fee had been something like £350. When I did it, they’d more than doubled it to £750. This was about a month’s income for me, and a lot more disposable income than we had at the time, and it made me stressed and angry and crazy. But what can you do? They know they have a captive audience. It’s not like you can go to the other British government down the street and get a better deal.
And you have to send a pass score from the Life in the UK Test.