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New Arrivals


Refugees and people with discretionary leave, humanitarian protection and exceptional leave

This page is for new arrivals. If you are a housing adviser please click here for information more relevant to you.

Are you a refugee?

If you have applied for asylum and have been successful you have leave to remain in the UK: this may be refugee status, humanitarian protection, discretionary leave or exceptional leave to remain. This page applies to you.

If you have been offered resettlement in the UK via the Gateway Protection Programme this page applies to you.

If you have not yet had a decision on your asylum claim, or are waiting for the results of a fresh claim, you are an asylum seeker. If your asylum claim has been refused but you have not left the UK you are a refused asylum seeker. This section does not apply to you. You may find some information to help you on the page on people with social care needs.

If you have been given indefinite leave to remain through the Case Resolution Directorate go to the page for people with indefinite leave to remain.

What documents might you be asked for?

If you apply for housing or housing benefits you will be asked for:

  • The Immigration Status Document you were given with your asylum decision or when you arrived in the UK. This proves your identity and your eligibility. If you do not have one you will need another letter from the Home Office confirming your eligibility, but will also need to prove your identity.
  • If you are leaving asylum support accommodation, the NASS 35 or other form that shows where you have lived and when your support and accommodation ends.
  • If you have applied to renew your leave, a copy of the documents you sent off and the receipt from the Home Office.

What are your rights to housing and benefits?

Even though you may have limited leave to remain in the UK, you have the right to apply for an allocation of housing from the council or from a housing association, to get help if you are homeless and to claim housing benefit to help pay your rent. You should be offered a tenancy on the same terms as any other applicant, even if you are waiting to renew your leave or it is due to run out soon.

What about your family members?

If you have refugee status, your husband/wife/civil partner and children are covered by your refugee status as well, even if they have just arrived or have not yet sorted out their status, as long as you started your family before your left your home country. So they are all eligible for housing and homelessness services.

If you have another type of status your family members may have applied for asylum and arrived in the UK with you and would usually get leave on the same basis as you. If they arrive later, they must apply to stay through the asylum system, and will be asylum seekers until they get leave. This may cause problems with applications for homelessness help and benefits.

See also:

Chartered Institute of Housing
BMENational

Background Topics

Chartered Institute of Housing