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EEA (A8) nationals - claiming benefits

This advice applies to Wales

If you are an EEA national who has come to the UK from abroad and you want to claim certain means-tested 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 and claim these benefits. This is called right to reside, and
  • you intend to settle in the UK, Isle of Man, Channel Islands or Ireland and make it your home for the time being. This is known as habitual residence.

This page explains what your rights are if you're an A8 national.

The A8 countries are Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia.

Getting advice

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

If you need more help

A8 nationals – your rights

Since 1 May 2011, if you're an A8 national you have exactly the same rights to claim benefits as other EEA nationals. This means that like other EEA nationals you must show that you must satisy the habitual residence test in order to claim certain benefits.

However, any work you did in the UK before May 2011 must have been registered with the Workers Registration Scheme, unless you were exempt from registering. Exempt means you didn’t have to register.

Were you exempt from registering your work?

You were exempt from registering your work and therefore have full access to EEA rights if:

  • you had permission to enter or remain in the UK on 30 April 2004 and there were no limits on what work you did
  • you were legally working in the UK for at least 12 months on, before or after 30 April 2004 without a break of more than 30 days. The 12-month period must include 30 April 2004. For example, if you started work in July 2003, your 12-month period would be to July 2004
  • you have dual nationality and are also a UK or non-A8 EEA national
  • you're the spouse or dependent child of an EEA national who has the right to reside
  • you're the spouse, civil partner or child under 18 of a person who has leave to enter or remain in the UK under the 1971 Act which allows that person to work
  • you were posted to work in the UK by your employer
  • you're a member of a diplomatic mission, or a family member of someone on a diplomatic mission
  • you have diplomatic immunity.

Next steps

Other useful information

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