Claiming Benefits If You're From Abroad
Guidelines we follow when assessing your claim
The information on this page is intended as guidance and each case will be considered on its individual merits. It is your responsibility to provide the evidence to support your claim and show that you meet any of the above criteria.
If you are originally from abroad
To claim any means tested benefit (for example Housing Benefit), you must pass a Habitual Residency Test.
The test is made up of two parts.
- Part 1. Determines if you have the right to reside in the United Kingdom
- Part 2. Determines if you are habitually resident in the United Kingdom
You can find out more from the Citizens Advice Bureau.
If you are from one of the countries below, the following rules apply:
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden.
If you are from Croatia, Macedonia, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine or other countries not listed above please contact us for advice.
In order to gain a qualifying right to reside in this country, one of the situations below should apply to you:
- You are in genuine and effective work
- You are in receipt of statutory sick pay or statutory maternity pay, paid from your employer
- You are self employed
- You are self sufficient
- You have been granted permanent residency
- You may also have a qualifying right to reside if you are the primary carer of a child who is in education in the United Kingdom
- In some instances you may be able to derive treaty rights from a family member on whom you are dependent on
- You may be able to derive treaty rights if you are separated from a partner where you were married or in a civil partnership
- You are in receipt of Income Support or Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- You are in receipt of Job Seeker's Allowance or Contributions Based Employment and Support Allowance
- You have reached retirement age having worked in the United Kingdom for the 12 months before retirement, and having lived in the United Kingdom for more than 3 years
Alternatively, you must be able to demonstrate that you have been resident in this country for 5 years or more continuously, as a Jobseeker, a Worker, A Self-employed person, A Self-Sufficient person or as a Student.
If you are a returning British National or have Indefinite Leave to Remain
Even If you are a British National or have Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK, you still need to pass a Habitual Residency Test. However, you will pass the first part of the test and will only need satisfy us that you are habitually resident in the United Kingdom.