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Are you subject to immigration control?

This advice applies to Wales

If you're a non-UK and non-EEA national come to the UK from abroad you may want to claim benefits. The right to claim benefits depends on what terms you've been allowed to enter the UK. This is called your immigration status. If you have limited rights and are subject to immigration control, you are not normally entitled to claim benefits and you may damage your chances of being allowed to stay in the UK if you do try to claim benefits.

This page explains what your rights are if you're subject to immigration control.

Getting advice

You may need advice about your immigration status. If you need advice, seek the help of an adviser.

If you need more help

Are you subject to immigration control?

If you're subject to immigration control you can't normally claim means-tested benefits, such as income support or housing benefit. Making a claim could affect your right to stay in the UK. You're subject to immigration control if you:

  • need permission to enter or remain in the UK but don't yet have it. For example, you've applied for a visa
  • have permission to enter or remain in the UK only if you don't claim benefits or use other public funds, such as getting NHS treatment
  • were given permission to enter or remain in the UK within the last five years on the grounds that another person signed a maintenance undertaking agreeing to support you.

Maintenance undertaking

A maintenance undertaking is a formal, legal agreement, in which a friend or family member has agreed to support you financially while you're in the UK. If the person who supported you has died you may be able to claim benefits. You should seek advice about this.

If you have 'indefinite leave to remain' you are no longer subject to immigration control.

If you're in a couple and one of you is not subject to immigration control, they may be able to claim benefits. However, in most cases that person will need to make a claim as a single person. You should seek advice beforehand as your immigration status could be put at risk.

British and EEA Citizens

If you're an EEA or British citizen, you won't be subject to immigration control. This does not necessarily mean that you will be entitled to claim means-tested benefits. You may still have to satisfy the habitual residence test if you have recently returned to the UK from living abroad.

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