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You are an EEA national with a permanent right to reside in the UK

This advice applies to Scotland

If you are an EEA national who has come to the UK and you want to claim certain benefits, you must satisfy the conditions of a test, known as the habitual residence test (HRT). To satisfy these conditions, you must show:

  • you have a legal right to live in the UK. This is called the right to reside, and
  • you intend to settle in the UK, Isle of Man, Channel Islands or Ireland (the 'Common Travel Area') and make it your home for the time being. This is known as habitual residence.

If you've been living in the UK for at least five years, you may already have a permanent right to reside and will not have to satisfy the remainder of the HRT.

Getting advice

Showing your right to reside and intention to settle in the UK can be difficult and complex. If you're unsure about anything seek the help of an adviser.

If you need more help

Permanent right to reside

If you've been legally resident in the Common Travel Area for a continuous period of at least five years you may have a permanent right to reside. If you have a permanent right to reside you don't need to show that you have a right to reside for any other reason - for example, you don't have to show that you're a worker. Throughout the five years you must have been one of the following:

  • a job-seeker
  • a worker
  • self-employed
  • a former worker who has kept your worker status
  • a student who is self-sufficient
  • self-sufficient and supporting yourself financially
  • a family member of a person in one of these groups.

Periods of jobseeking mixed with periods when you were working should count towards giving you a permanent right to reside.

Some temporary absences will not break your continuity of residence. These include absences of:

  • not longer than six months in a year
  • one absence of up to twelve months for very important reasons, such as pregnancy or childbirth, serious illness, study, job training, or employment postings abroad
  • compulsory military service.

Once you've acquired a permanent right to reside, you’re unlikely to lose it unless you stay out of the UK for two years or more in a row. However, you could lose your right to reside if you do something that is not seen as being for the common good. For example, you’ve committed a serious crime or put national security at risk.

Next steps

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