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Mark Carney Needs to Start Studying for a Citizenship Test

Tuesday, 27 Nov 2012 | 11:52 AM ET

He may well know his stuff when it comes to central banking, but the future Bank of England Governor Mark Carney will have to show a wide breadth of knowledge about British history, culture and customs before he can claim British citizenship.

Chung Sung-jun

The Canadian central bank chief, who was named as the next governor of Britain's central bank, is set to receive a house and British citizenship as benefits of taking the job and Carney has said he plans to take up British nationality. But before he does that, he will have to take a test delivered to thousands of other immigrants each year, titled "Life in the U.K."

(Read More: The UK's Courting of Mark Carney)

Carney will face questions on a variety of subjects from the legal, historical and cultural laws of the land to the more prosaic, such as the standard voltage in U.K. homes and the driving age in Britain.

The test has been criticised for being too idiosyncratic, and many native Britons have struggled to answer some of the questions, particularly on British history.

David Letterman, famously, used the test to catch out British prime minister David Cameron when he appeared on "The Late Show". Cameron failed to answer a question on the translation of "Magna Carta" — one of the founding documents setting down the tenets of British liberty and democracy.

(Read More: London Welcomes Carney – But Can He Deliver on Promise?)

Eyebrows were raised in some quarters in Britain after the government chose a foreigner to head the central bank. But British Chancellor George Osbourne told members of parliament that although Carney is not a British citizen, as a Canadian he was still a British subject.

Carney has a British wife and his children have dual citizenship, however it will take the new Bank of England governor between three years and five years to qualify to take the test, since he must first be granted permanent residence in the U.K.