Life satisfaction and the UK citizenship process: do tests and ceremonies enhance immigrants’ lives?

Publication type

Journal Article


Publication date

December 15, 2018


Gaining citizenship in the UK requires applicants to pass a “Life in the UK” test and (if successful) attend a citizenship ceremony. Critics of this policy agenda assert that it exacerbates exclusion of an already vulnerable and disadvantaged population. The UK government justifies the requirements in part on the basis that they facilitate integration, thus enhancing immigrants’ lives. This article, using data from the UK longitudinal household survey (“Understanding Society”) considers outcomes for immigrants by investigating whether gaining citizenship in the current period is associated with immigrants’ subjective well‐being. Results from regression models and matching analyses show that participating in the citizenship process (or not) is not generally associated with individuals’ life satisfaction.

Published in

International Migration

Volume and page numbers

Volume: 56 , p.24 -35






Open Access

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Related Publications



Latest findings, new research

Publications search

Search all research by subject and author


Researchers discuss their findings and what they mean for society


Background and context, methods and data, aims and outputs


Conferences, seminars and workshops

Survey methodology

Specialist research, practice and study

Taking the long view

ISER's annual report


Key research themes and areas of interest