Accessing benefits in the UK

Whether you can claim benefits upon arriving in the UK depends heavily on your immigration status and reason for coming. Here’s a breakdown of what you need to know:


  • Immigration Status: Your immigration status is crucial. Benefits are generally available to those with:
    • British or Irish citizenship
    • Indefinite leave to remain (ILR)
    • Refugee status or humanitarian protection
    • Settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme (if applicable)
    • Specific visas, like the Ukraine family scheme or Homes for Ukraine scheme
    • Pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme (with additional conditions)
  • Habitual Residence: This means you live in the UK with the intention of staying for a long time. It’s a complex concept, so if unsure, seek advice.

Finding Out What You Can Claim:

  • Benefits calculator: GOV.UK has a tool to see what benefits you might be entitled to based on your circumstances.

Factors Affecting Your Claim:

  • Nationality can play a role, especially for those from outside the European Economic Area (EEA).
  • Reason for Arrival: Are you coming for work, study, or family reasons? Your visa type might influence benefit eligibility.
  • Work Status: Being employed, unemployed, or self-employed can affect certain benefits.

Resources for New Arrivals:

  • GOV.UK: The official website has information on benefits and eligibility criteria
  • Citizens Advice: This charity offers free guidance on the UK benefits system

Important Considerations:

  • Immigration Advice: If unsure about your immigration status or benefit eligibility, seek professional immigration advice to avoid complications.
  • Time Limits: Some benefits, like Universal Credit, might have waiting periods after arrival.

Additional Notes:

  • The rules around benefits for people arriving in the UK are complex. This information is a starting point, and it’s always best to check the official government website or seek professional advice for your specific situation.

Remember, don’t hesitate to seek help if you need it.

Disclaimer:  The content of this page has been provided by GOV.UK and is for general information only. It is subject to change without notice.

Related content

Other financial support for Adults

Disabled parking – Blue Badge A Blue Badge is a badge that allows people with…
Read more Read more

Benefits for Children

If your child has just been diagnosed with a bleeding disorder, here’s our summary of…
Read more Read more