Presence and Residence Tests - Living in the UK 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.

Last reviewed 19 June 2023

Living in the UK for three months

To get  Child Benefit  you must have been living in the UK for the past three months. This is also a requirement for Child Tax Credit but you can only make a new claim for Child Tax Credit if you are claiming within 1 month of having been granted refugee leave.

The term ‘living in’ does not have the same meaning as ‘presence’. You could, in some cases, be counted as ‘living in’ the UK, even if you have been temporarily absent. The Child Benefit office will decide whether you meet this test by looking at factors such as: 

  • the length of your absence 
  • the reason for your absence  
  • your connections and ties to the UK while you were abroad. 

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

  • You are returning to the UK after being abroad for less than 1 year and you were ordinarily resident in the UK for three months or more before you went abroad. 
  • You are returning to the UK after a period working abroad and until at least three months before you returned you were paying Class 1 or Class 2 National Insurance contributions 
  • You are a refugee or have humanitarian protection
  • You have been granted Destitution Domestic Violence Concessionary Leave. 
  • You have been granted leave outside the Immigration Rules with no restriction on claiming public funds. 
  • You lived in Ukraine until the end of 2021 and left in connection with the Russian invasion in February 2022 
  • You left Afghanistan in connection with the collapse of the Afghan government in August 2021 
  • You left Sudan in connection with the violence that escalated from April 2023 and you were living in Sudan before then and you have leave in the UK or you are British or Irish
  • You are an EEA national who has a ‘worker’ or ‘self-employed’ status in the UK, including if 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 either of the above two groups.   

Guardian’s Allowance depends on entitlement to Child Benefit, which means that you have to have lived in the UK for three months to get it.  


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