You are now leaving the Turn2us site. Turn2us is not responsible for content on third party sites.

Presence and Residence Tests - Living here for three months

To get most benefits you have to be present in the UK and pass tests regarding your residency. This guide explains more about this.

Living here for three months

To get the benefits listed below you must have been living in the UK or the Common Travel Area (for Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance) for the past three months.

The term ‘living in’ does not have the same meaning as ‘presence’. You could, in some cases, be counted as ‘living in’ the UK/Common Travel Area, even if you have had temporary absences in the UK. The Benefit authorities will look at factors such as the length of absence; your connections and ties to the UK/Common Travel Area as to whether you meet the test.

Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance

In order to get Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance

  • You must have been living in the Common Travel Area (the UK, Ireland, Channel Islands and the Isle of Man) for the past three months in order to pass the Habitual Residence Test for Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, unless;
    • You are exempt from the habitual residence test, or
    •  At any time during the last three months you have worked abroad and paid Class 1 or 2 national insurance (NI) contributions, or
    • Your claim began before 1 January 2014

Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit

In order to get Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit

You must have been living in the UK for the past three months, unless;

  • You are an EEA national living in the UK on 31 December 2020 who has a ‘worker’ or ‘self-employed’ status  in the UK or you have retained that status
  • You are a non-EEA National who would be classed as a ‘worker’ or ‘self-employed person’ if you were an EEA national.
  • You are a family member of someone in the above two groups.  However, extended family members don’t qualify for this exemption.
  • You are a refugee or have humanitarian protection
  • You have been granted Destitution Domestic Violence Concessionary Leave.
  • You are returning to the UK after a period working abroad and prior to the last three months you were paying Class 1 or Class 2 National Insurance contributions
  • You are returning to the UK after either working abroad while paying UK national insurance contributions, or were ordinarily resident in the UK for three months before you went abroad.

Guardian’s Allowance depends on entitlement to Child Benefit, which means that you have to have lived here for three months to get it. See our guide on Guardian’s Allowance for other conditions you need to satisfy in order to get Guardian’s Allowance.


January 2021

Anything wrong with this page?

Tell us the problem

Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Please enter what you were doing
Please enter what you'd like to report
Please enter the security code shown

Thank you

If you would like to tell us more please visit our contact page


Struggling with Energy and Water bills?

Find out what benefits, grants and other schemes may be available to you.

Read about help with energy and water costs

Check benefit entitlement

Find out what means-tested benefits you might be entitled to, including tax credits.

Use the Benefits Calculator

Grants Search

Search our database of grant-giving organisations

Search for grants

Find a Local Adviser

Search for your nearest sources of information and advice

Find an Local Adviser