At the beginning of this year, new Brexit-related rules went into effect in the UK and the EU. They’ll have a big impact on immigration and travel – including on how people will be able to move to the UK to live, work and study.
If you’re an EU citizen—and started living in the UK before 2021—immigration rules won’t change for you until June. But after that, you might have to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme to stay in the country.
More than 4.3 million people have been approved for the scheme already. And, they’re on the path to receiving a British passport. With the EU Settlement Scheme, EU citizens can apply for British citizenship after 12 months.
In this blog, we’ll explore more about the scheme and how to apply for citizenship. We will also look at the English language requirements you’ll need to keep in mind as an EU citizen.
Keep in mind: We aren’t immigration agents. For the latest information and official updates, please visit the GOV UK website.
First, what is the EU Settlement Scheme?
The EU Settlement Scheme is a program set up by the UK government. It allows EU, Swiss, and EEA citizens to keep living in the UK after June 2021. It’s free to apply, and once you do, you’ll be granted either:
- Settled status – You’ll get this if you’ve lived in the UK continuously for five years. You will be able to stay in the UK indefinitely provided you don’t leave the UK for 5 years consecutively.
- Pre-settled status – You’ll get this if you’ve lived in the UK for less than five years. With pre-settled status, you’ll only be able to stay in the UK for another five years but can always apply for settled status later if you want to settle permanently.
With settled status, as we mentioned, you’ll also have the opportunity to apply for British citizenship. Although, many people have decided to apply for citizenship right away instead of going through the scheme – for example, if they have a British parent or spouse.
With citizenship, you’ll have the right to live permanently in the UK with a British passport, which means you’ll no longer be subject to immigration controls. You’ll also be able to work and study in the UK, sponsor your family members to migrate, access NHS healthcare, access public benefits and pensions – and of course, vote in elections.
How to apply for British citizenship
If you’re interested in applying for British citizenship, there are a few ways to do so. For example, you could be eligible if you:
- have a British civil partner or spouse;
- were born in the UK;
- have a British parent;
- have settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme.
The requirements for citizenship are often different, depending on why you’re applying and how you’re eligible. But if you’re applying under the EU Settlement Scheme, in most circumstances you’ll have to show you:
- have been living in the UK for more than five years and will continue to do so;
- are of good character;
- have passed the Life in the UK Test, which consists of 24 questions on British traditions;
- are knowledgeable in English, Welsh, or Gaelic. You will also need to take an approved English test for UK citizenship.
Learn more about how to apply for British citizenship with the scheme here.
What English test do I need for British citizenship?
If you want to settle in the UK – and you don’t speak Welsh or Gaelic – you’ll need to prove you have at least a B1 level of English. You can do this by taking a B1 English exam for citizenship – PTE Home is a UK government-approved English test for British citizenship.
PTE Home B1 English test is computer-based, secure, and approved by the UK Home office for citizenship applications. Millions of people around the world take the test each year. Why? Let’s take a look at the benefits:
PTE Home takes less than 30 minutes to complete
Here’s what you need to know about the test:
- PTE Home is a pass-fail test and assesses just two skills – speaking and listening.
- The exam has about 30 questions; test takers are asked to repeat sentences, describe an image, and answer comprehension questions out loud after listening to audio recordings.
- PTE Home includes recordings of English speakers with a variety of accents – just like real life.
- The exam is completed at a Pearson test center, but it’s all done using a computer and a headset – that is, without a human examiner. This helps to eliminate bias, and of course, helps keep social distance during the pandemic.
You can learn more about exactly what’s on the PTE Home exam here.
It’s easy to book and you get your results fast
You can book the PTE Home online up to 24 hours in advance. Since the test is graded automatically, you’ll also get your results within 48 hours. The results are given via a simple Score Report, which states whether you passed or failed.
We offer preparation material and support for learners
At PTE Home, we understand completing any visa or citizenship application can be stressful. That’s why we focus on supporting test-takers the best we can by offering great customer service online and at our test centers.
Ready to settle in the UK?
Whether you’re about to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme, already have settled status, or are planning to apply straight for British citizenship, it’s never too early to think about PTE Home.
We have 17 test centres across the UK – from London to Edinburgh – which are open during the UK lockdown with all the health and safety measures in place. Learn more about how we’re working to keep our test-takers and employees safe here.