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CIH Scotland

New Arrivals

Other European nationals

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?

The law about the rights of EEA nationals to live, work and claim access to housing, benefits and other services changed on 1 January 2021 when the Brexit transition period ended. You have the rights described on this page only if you:

  • are a citizen of an EEA member state other than Ireland;
  • are not the family member of a British citizen;
  • entered the UK and lawfully resided in the UK before 23:00 on 31 December 2020;
  • do not qualify as a EEA worker or self-employed person;
  • do not have EU settled status (whether an application has been made to the EU Settlement Scheme or not); and
  • you make (or have already made) an application to the EU Settlement Scheme before 1 July 2021.

If all of these apply, this page describes your rights to housing and benefits, up to and including 30 June 2021.Those rights continue from 1 July 2021 onwards but only if you made an application to the EU Settlement Scheme on or before 30 June 2021.

In other cases you can check your entitlement to housing and benefits on other pages, as follows:

Who are 'other European nationals'?

If you are a European Economic Area citizen (called here an ‘EEA national’) who was working or seeking work in the UK you had the right to 'freedom of movement' until 31 December 2020. If you were not working, seeking work or self-employed, you may also have had the right to live here and access housing and social benefits if:

If you were working in the UK and are temporarily out of work or unable to work due to illness or accident you might still have been treated as an EEA worker.

Until 30 June 2021, the rights of people from EEA countries who arrived and had a right to reside in the UK before 1 January 2021 are still protected. After that date, your rights will depend on whether you have applied for or got settled or pre-settled status.

What documents might you be asked for?

To prove that you are an EEA citizen you need a passport or identity card from your country of origin, but there is no specific document to show that you are studying or are self-sufficient, it is simply a matter of fact.

After five years as a resident, you will normally have qualified for a permanent right of residence, and you could have your residence permit endorsed to show this. If you qualified, you had the right to reside even if you do not have a permit to prove it.

Additional documents you must provide from 1 July 2021

Until 30 June 2021 (the deadline to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme) the only documents you need are those described above.

But from 1 July 2021 you must also provide evidence that you have either:

  • EU settled status or pre-settled status; or
  • that you made an application to the EU Settlement Scheme on or before the deadline.

If you did not make an application by the deadline, unless you can show good reason for your failure to apply, you will not have the right to live in the UK and will become an overstayer.

What are your rights to housing and benefits?

All EEA nationals

You can apply for accommodation direct from a housing association or from a private landlord.

If you are a student

You can apply for housing, assistance if you are homeless and for universal credit/housing benefit, but you will only get them if:

  • you are habitually resident in the British Isles or Republic of Ireland
  • you had a right to reside in the UK before 1 January 2021
  • you fit the definition of an EEA student
  • your circumstances have changed since you started the course and signed the declaration that you could support yourself
  • you fit the general qualifications for the benefit or service: most students cannot claim universal credit/housing benefit, for example, and you cannot get help as homeless if you have a home in another country.

To qualify as an EEA student, however, you must have comprehensive health insurance. This is either:

  • a European Health Insurance Card obtained in your home country plus a letter (called a statement of intent) confirming that you do not intend to stay in the UK permanently; or
  • private comprehensive sickness insurance

You must also have signed a declaration that you were able to support yourself. So if you later need to claim benefits or apply for help as homeless, you may need to show how it is that your circumstances have changed since then.  This is not necessary if you are just applying to go onto the council waiting list.

If you are a self-sufficient person

In all cases, you need to have arrived and had a right to reside in the UK before 1 January 2021 and be habitually resident in the British Isles or Republic of Ireland to be able to get housing benefit, apply for housing or get homelessness assistance.

You can apply for housing once you are habitually resident. But in most cases if you apply for homelessness assistance or universal credit/housing benefit you are told that you are no longer self-sufficient, and so have lost your right to reside in the UK.

However, in the case of claims for universal credit (UC) or housing benefit (HB) the official guidance suggests that if you have lived in the UK for some time and have never claimed before, the fact that you have previously been self-sufficient should be a factor in deciding whether you are an 'unreasonable burden,' as should the length of time you are likely to be claiming.

Similarly, with homelessness assistance: this should not be refused if the homelessness has occurred as a real emergency (a fire, for example, or domestic violence). The council may, however, limit its help to providing temporary accommodation and advice about finding your own housing.

If you are the parent of an EEA child in education

If you had a right to reside in the UK before 1 January 2021, are the parent of an EEA child in education and at least one parent of that child has been an EEA worker in the UK when the child was in the UK, you are eligible for a housing allocation and homelessness assistance, and for universal credit/housing benefit if you are habitually resident (which as the parent of a child settled in a UK school you probably will be).

If you have a permanent right of residence

You are eligible for housing allocation, housing benefit and homelessness assistance as long as you are habitually resident in the British Isles or Republic of Ireland.

If you got your permanent right to reside as a result of working and are no longer working, or as a result of being the family member of someone who has stopped working or has died, then you do not need to be habitually resident to be eligible for a housing allocation, universal credit/housing benefit and homelessness assistance.

If you have applied through the EU Settlement Scheme

If you have applied for and been granted ‘settled status’ under the EU Settlement Scheme you have the right to housing and benefits even if you no longer have an EU right to reside.

See also:

More Information

Chartered Institute of Housing Scotland