Am I habitually resident?
The Habitual Residence Test has two elements:
- a legal right to reside; and
- an objective assessment of factual evidence of habitual residence.
The legal right to reside is demonstrated by having a right of residence in the UK under UK, EU or international law.
The term ‘habitually resident’ is not defined in UK law. In practice it means that you have a proven close link to the UK. The term also conveys permanence - it means a person has been here for some time and intends to stay here for the foreseeable future.
Proving you are habitually resident relies heavily on fact. If you have lived in the UK all your life, you will probably have no difficulty showing that you satisfy the factors that indicate habitual residence.
You will be asked a series of questions to find out what efforts you have made to settle in the UK. If you are a job seeker, you will be asked what you are actively doing to find work.
What benefits are affected?
If you want to claim a means-tested benefit in the UK you will need to satisfy the entitlement rules for each benefit to qualify.
For the following benefits, you will also need to be habitually resident in the United Kingdom to qualify.
The test applies to the following benefits:
- Income Support;
- Income-based Job Seeker’s Allowance;
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance;
- Pension Credit;
- Housing Benefit;
- Universal Credit.
To claim Child Tax Credits and Child Benefit you have to prove you have the right to reside, and that you are 'ordinarily' resident. Seek advice if you want to claim these benefits.
- Habitual resident - The term ‘habitual resident’ is defined under EU law. See: EU Regulation on the coordination of social security systems). In practice it means the place where you have your centre of interests - a more detailed definition can be found here.
- European Economic Area (EEA) countries - all EU countries and Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. To check which countries are members of the European Union, see the Europa website.
Know your rights
- Guidance on what is considered as being 'habitually resident' in the UK (1967/2013).
- What is the habitual residence test - Advice Guide and EEA nationals and the habitual residence test from the Citizen’s Advice Bureau.
Commission publication and websites: