People who are subject to immigration control may get permission (or 'limited leave') to enter or remain in the UK:
- to work (normally with a work permit)
- to study
- to join family members
- to visit.
Many of those who arrive as workers and family members eventually get indefinite leave to remain. Refugees, people who arrive on special settlement programmes and people who claim asylum have different rights, explained here.
You may have additional rights to live, work and access housing or benefits other than as described on this page, if you are the partner or parent of a British citizen or a family member of an EEA national.
You may be asked to prove that you are legally in the UK, and can do this by showing the relevant immigration status document.
Unless you are a refugee, or have been given leave with recourse to public funds via special rules, if you have limited leave you will not usually have the right to obtain a rented home through the local council, to apply as homeless to the council or to claim housing benefit to help pay your rent. Once you get indefinite leave to remain you will usually become eligible.
You can apply for accommodation to a housing association, but if your stay in the UK is very short (as a visitor for example) you may be refused as housing associations generally aim to house only those intending to stay in the area for some time. You will also have to show how you will pay your rent.
You can apply for accommodation from a private landlord but from February 2016 if you live in England where 'right to rent' checks apply you will have to show the landlord the documents showing that you have limited leave. You will need to do this before you get the tenancy, and the landlord will check later that your leave has been extended, before renewing the tenancy