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CIH Scotland

New Arrivals


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. 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: EEA nationals who enter the UK for the first time on or after that date 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, 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 have limited leave you cannot usually get universal credit (UC) or (if you are aged 66 or over) housing benefit (HB) unless:

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.

More Information

Chartered Institute of Housing Scotland