How Long Is The Bayeux Tapestry and Other Questions.

For those of you who haven’t noticed my wife is American and an immigrant. Her grandfather is Welsh (like mine) and it led her to come over here and learn the language. And then stay. She’s been here for eight years now and we’re coming up to another step in the process of making her a citizen.

We’re about to apply for ‘Leave to Remain’ – basically permission to live and work in the UK indefinitely. After a year of this, you can apply for citizenship and that’s it, you’re British. Huzzah.

But first, you have to pass a Life In The UK test.

Life In The UK

The test was first brought in around 2005 as part of the immigration process in a bid to make money, keep the middle class happy make sure immigrants were properly versed and prepared for living in the UK. Apparently, the five to ten years they’ve already spent here on various different visas (student, working, spousal etc) doesn’t count in this regard. What people really need is a pub quiz test to make sure they really know how things work here in Blighty.

Okay, so, besides the sarcasm, it’s a good idea badly implemented for people who don’t actually need it. My wife has been here eight years. She has a life in the UK, she has not learnt anything from the book or the practise tests that will actually make a difference in the future or have any information in them she didn’t already know.

For people just getting here, there are things they need to know. How do our taxes work? The NHS system. Laws and government. The cost of bread and milk….

No one needs to know how many wives Henry The Eighth had to live here. At no point do you go to A and E and get asked for your medical history and what the national dishes are of each of the countries making up the UK.

Which brings us to the title…

The Bayeux Tapestry is Seventy Metres Long

Did you know that? No, no one bloody knows and I know that because I ask everyone. Do you know what the Bayeux tapestry is? Where is it? This isn’t something they ask you in the test, they just want to make sure you know how long it is because you will not survive the living in the UK. Around every corner, there is a civil servant waiting to deport you unless you know how long the Bayeux tapestry is or who invented Concorde (a plane that hasn’t been in service since the nineties).

Okay, so maybe I’m exaggerating but some of the questions really are ridiculous. The test is multiple choice and some of the incorrect answers are hilarious. My favourite two are below.

There are some serious questions, things you need to know, but they are so few and far between that you would barely notice them and all you end up remembering is how long the Bayeux tapestry is.

The Test

We had a bit of a hiccup in taking the test. For starters we had to go the Birmingham – it wasn’t the nearest one, that was in Wolverhampton but who wants to spend a day out in Wolverhampton? Not us that’s for sure. So we went to Birmingham, took our son to the Sea Life Centre, found the test centre, Bethend went in for the test.

And couldn’t take it.

The ask you for proof of identity and address and give you a list of what’s acceptable. We didn’t check the email and didn’t know that a letter from the bank would not be enough. It had to be a bank statement. However, when we got that, because bethend had already refused she couldn’t be signed back in again. Limitations of the system I guess. My wife was devastated. Me, less so, because I knew as soon as payday rolled around again we’d come back and she would kick ass.

Which she did.

It took two minutes, cost fifty quid (not including train fare) and we’re now on the final stretch of this round of application.

The 58-page form.

I hope you’ve learnt something today, try the practise tests yourself and find out if you’d pass.





24 Replies to “How Long Is The Bayeux Tapestry and Other Questions.

  1. Well said! My husband is American, been here 11 years and got his indefinite leave to remain last year. All he did for this test was memorize the questions the week before and then got 100%, but it gave him no useful knowledge at all! Good luck with the application.

  2. Iam an expat Canadian and I’ve been living in the UK under the indefinite leave to remain (starting with UK Ancestry Entry Clearance Visa) for 18 years now. I’ve never taken the ‘how many holes in a crumpet’ test as, like you explain, it just seems ludicrous! I’ve never even heard of the Bayeux Tapestry and neither has my British husband! Plus, if you get a british passport you don’t get the European stamps in your passport. 😉

  3. I had a friend do this recently, some of the questions are quite mind boggling… We have just come back from almost 5 years of life in Munich, thanks to the Brexit many of my friends are becoming “German”… The main tests there are language tests though which I think is completely understandable… That’s why I didn’t apply! 😀

  4. Wow, how absurd! What intimidating questions too. I have opened the quiz in another tab and am going to do it later with my other half, can’t wait to see how we do!! Slightly more stressful for your wife though when so much depends on it.

  5. Oh gosh the questions really are ridiculous. When I move into a new house or apartment, I’m definitely going to advise them never to talk to me. That way I won’t have to go in and close/open their curtains every time they go on holiday!
    C x

  6. My neighbor is from India and applied years ago to be a U.S. citizen. The things she had to know about the country I was really surprised at. As she said, “Oh well, whatever hoops I have to jump through, I’m willing to do it” x

  7. I genuinely never realised what a nightmare the test was! Those questions are totally ludicrous and mean nothing in the general scheme of things. I hope Bethend gets leave to remain soon xx

  8. I really wanted to apply for citizenship until a year ago, when Brexit happened. Then I realised that I don’t want to live in a country that is not open to accept immigrants so I pretty much gave up this idea, even if I have my own business here and I’ve been paying taxes for years. I do think that test is ridiculous as well, because most of the English people have no idea how to answer the questions.

  9. I started the test then thought the question were silly, got bored and stopped half way through. I’ll just have to continue to trust my mum that I am indeed English.

  10. Ugh my Cypriot friend was talking to me about this recently and the whole thing is a total farce. The questions barely have anything to do with actual life in the UK and rarely do they give any insight as to how to assimilate into society. I opened the quiz in another tab after reading and guess what – I failed miserably on most questions.

  11. Oh wow I’ve lived her my whole life but I would definitely fail that test. I wouldn’t know half of the answers for the test, who knows that sort of information. We didn’t even cover most of it at school

  12. Such a great post! My friend Mabel, a Colombian girl that I work with, has just gone through this process for the citizen application, and she used to test us daily using the questions on the app hehe x

  13. I had no idea this test even existed and the questions are bizarre! I was born and raised here and I couldn’t answer some of them!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.