Only certain people from abroad are eligible. The rules are very complicated if you are not a UK citizen and your rights will depend on your immigration status. The council may contact the Home Office to check your status, so you should always get specialist advice before you apply.
People who are subject to immigration control
Citizens of countries from outside the EEA are generally subject to immigration control and need permission to enter or remain in the UK.
Most people who are subject to immigration control are not eligible for homelessness assistance. But, there are some exceptions. You may still be eligible if:
- you have refugee status
- you have exceptional leave to remain in the UK, and your leave doesn’t state that you should have ‘no recourse to public funds’
- you are habitually resident in the UK and your leave was granted without any conditions
- you have humanitarian protection
- you are an Afghan citizen who has served the UK Government, or
- you have limited leave to remain in the UK on the grounds of ‘respect for family or private life’ under Article 8 of the Human Rights Convention and your leave doesn’t state that you should have ‘no recourse to public funds’.
People who are not subject to immigration control
If you are not a British Citizen and not subject to immigration control, you will probably be eligible provided you are ‘habitually resident’ in the UK.
There are some situations where you can still be eligible for assistance, even if you are not habitually resident. These include:
- If you are an European Economic Area (EEA) national with a right to reside in the UK which you have acquired because of your work or because you are self-employed. Your work does not necessarily need to be full-time and you may still qualify if you are doing genuine part-time work but need to top up your income with state benefits.
- If you are an EEA national and you have lived in the UK continuously for five years and have been working, studying or supporting yourself as a self-sufficient person;
- If you are a family member of either of the above EEA nationals.
People from the EEA whose only right to reside in the UK is as a jobseeker, or who only have an initial right to reside for 3 months, are not eligible. See the section on EU and EEA nationals for more details.
Immigration law is extremely complicated, so get advice before you apply if you are not sure of your status.