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New Arrivals

People with indefinite leave to remain

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

Who does this page apply to?

Prior to 1 January 2021, EEA nationals could use their EU free movement rights to enter the UK and to access housing and benefits. In most cases they did not require ‘leave’ from the Home Office, so the rights described on this page did not usually apply. But EU free movement rights changed on the 1 January 2021 when the Brexit transition period ended. The rights described on this page now apply to any person who:

  • is a non-EEA national with indefinite leave to remain;
  • is an EEA national who entered the UK before 1 January 2021 and who has EU settled status;
  • is an EEA national who entered the UK for the first time on or after 1 January 2021 and who has been granted indefinite leave to remain; or
  • is an EEA national who was granted indefinite leave to remain before 1 January 2021 for other reasons (for example, if s/he entered the UK before her country joined the EU).

Are you someone with indefinite leave to remain?

People subject to immigration control may get indefinite leave to enter or remain:

  • after a period in the UK as a worker
  • after a period as a refugee or person with humanitarian protection, discretionary leave or exceptional leave to remain
  • after a period as the husband/wife/cohabitee/civil partner of a settled person or UK national
  • on arrival if they have been sponsored with an undertaking by a relative to support and accommodate them.

What documents might you be asked for?

You have to show that you have indefinite leave to enter or remain when applying to local councils for benefits or housing. You will have an immigration status document, a stamp or certificate in your passport, or a letter from the Home Office. You will also need to show this documentation if you apply for a letting in the private rented sector, and this applies also to other adults who plan to live with you.

What are your rights to housing and benefits?

Everyone has the right to get free advice and information from their local council (or an organisation they have commissioned to provide it) to help them if they are homeless or threatened with homelessness within 56 days.  This advice must, in particular, meet the needs of anyone who is or was released from prison or youth detention accommodation, a care leaver, a former member of the regular armed forces, a victim of domestic abuse, leaving hospital, suffering from a mental illness or impairment, and from any other group that the authority identify as being at particular risk of homelessness in their district.

You have the right to apply for an allocation of housing from the council, to get help if you are homeless and to claim universal credit or housing benefit to help pay your rent, as long as two other conditions apply:

  • You are habitually resident (people who have lived in the UK for two years will be automatically habitually resident).
  • You must not have had an undertaking to support and accommodate you signed by a relative within the last five years, although if all the people who have signed it are dead this will not apply. An undertaking is sometimes required where a person resident in the UK wants to bring an elderly or other dependent relative to live with them in the UK.

You can also get accommodation from housing associations or from a private landlord, even if you cannot meet the two conditions explained above, providing you are able to pay the rent.

Chartered Institute of Housing

More Information

Chartered Institute of Housing