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You are self-sufficient - the habitual residence test

This advice applies to Wales

If you are an EEA national who has come to the UK from abroad and 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. 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.

European Economic Area (EEA) countries include all those in the EU plus Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Check which countries are members of the European Union.

This page explains how being financially self-sufficient may give you the right to reside in the UK. Even if you have the right to reside because you are self-sufficient you may still need to show that you satisfy the remainder of the HRT by intending to settle in the Common Travel Area.

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

Are you self-sufficient?

If you're self-sufficient, it means you have enough funds to support yourself, and any other family members, without having to rely on means-tested benefits or other services that come from public funds, such as NHS treatment.

To show you're self-sufficient you should be able to show that your income is above the maximum amounts needed to claim means-tested benefits. You should be able to cover your accommodation costs if you need to pay for somewhere to live, as well as your living costs.

You may also be considered to be self-sufficient if family or friends provide you with free long-term accommodation and you have enough funds to cover your living costs.

You may have your own funds or be supported financially by family or friends. However, it is still possible to claim for means-tested benefits in some circumstances. For example, you may be able to claim for a short period of time if your funds stop unexpectedly or if the amount you're claiming for is very small.

You will also have to prove that you have comprehensive sickness insurance that will pay for your healthcare if you fall ill.

Comprehensive sickness insurance

Private health insurance should be accepted as proof of comprehensive sickness insurance

If you have private health insurance and you get ill in the UK, your insurance company should pay for you to have treatment. You must make sure that your health insurance policy covers you for most of the treatment you would be likely to receive in the UK if you got ill. If your policy has lots of exclusions or exemptions that may not pay out for treatment, it may not be considered comprehensive.

You may also have comprehensive sickness insurance if your home state will pay back the NHS for any health costs you incur in the UK. You may need advice about whether this will happen.

Next steps

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