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

Publication type

Journal Article

Published in

International Migration


David Bartram

Publication date


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.

Volume and page numbers

56, 24-35





Politics, Law And Legislation, Migration and Well Being


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.

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