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People with limited leave

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, and most did not require ‘leave’ from the Home Office. But since that date, EEA nationals who enter the UK for the first time must apply for leave.

The rights described on this page now apply to any person (whether s/he is an EEA national or not) who:

Are you someone with limited leave?

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 and people who claim asylum successfully also have limited leave but have more 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.

What documents might you be asked for?

You may be asked to prove that you are legally in the UK, and can do this by showing the relevant immigration status document.

What are your rights to housing and benefits?

Unless you are a refugee (including under one of the special programmes), or have leave without a ‘no public funds’ condition by special rules (such as the programme for former locally employed support staff with the UK armed forces in Afghanistan), if you have limited leave you will not usually have the right to join your local council's waiting list or to apply to them as homeless. Once you get indefinite leave to remain you will usually become eligible.

If you have limited leave you cannot usually get universal credit (UC) or (if you are aged 66 or over) housing benefit (HB) unless:

  • you are a refugee (including under one of the special programmes);
  • you have been given leave with the right to public funds via special rules which includes:
    • you are from Sudan and left on or after 15 April 2023 due to the escalating violence and you have been given leave without a sponsor and with access to public funds,
    • you were resident in Israel, Palestine or Lebanon before 7 October 2023 and left due to the escalating violence and have been granted leave without a sponsor and with access to public funds,
    • you are from Ukraine and have been granted leave under the Ukraine Family Scheme, Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme, or the Ukraine Extension Scheme,
    • you are from Afghanistan and have been given protection as a person at risk under the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS), or because you were formerly employed as support staff to the UK armed forces under the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP),
    • you are a British National (Overseas) from Hong Kong who has successfully applied to have the ‘no public funds’ condition of your leave lifted,
    • you have been given temporary permission to stay as a victim or survivor of human trafficking or slavery, or
    • you are a stateless-person who has been granted leave for that reason;
  • you are the partner of a British citizen or other settled person and you have to leave them due to domestic abuse: you can apply to get access to UC/HB for up to three months (the ‘domestic violence concession’). This is intended to allow you time to apply for indefinite leave;
  • you are a citizen of certain European countries and you are habitually resident: you can get help pay your council tax (even if your leave has a ‘no public funds’ condition) but not your rent unless:
    • you claimied HB before 3 May 2022,
    • you claimed UC before 1 January 2021.

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 can apply for accommodation from a private landlord and you can find out how to do this here.