Everyone needs to meet the eligibility rules to claim Child Benefit. If you’re moving to the UK from abroad you also need to prove that you:

  • have the right to reside in the UK
  • live in the UK as your main home - except for short periods, eg holidays

In most cases, your child must live with you.

Your child doesn’t live with you in the UK

Usually you don’t qualify if you’re from outside the EEA or Switzerland and your child doesn’t live with you.

You may qualify if you’re from the EEA or Switzerland and your child lives in an EEA country or Switzerland. You or your partner must pay UK National Insurance (if you’re employed or self-employed) or get one of these benefits:

  • contribution-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • State Pension
  • widow’s benefits
  • bereavement benefits
  • Incapacity Benefit
  • Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP)

You don’t have a job when you arrive in the UK

You must have been living in the UK for 3 months if you arrived on or after 1 July 2014 to be eligible for Child Benefit.

You don’t have to have been living in the UK for 3 months if you arrived on or after 1 July 2014 and:

  • have a family member who works or is self-employed
  • were made redundant in the UK (or your family member was) and you’re now a jobseeker or in training
  • temporarily can’t work because of your health or an accident, but have worked in the UK before
  • usually live in the UK and were getting Child Benefit before moving abroad for less than one year
  • usually live in the UK and were in the UK for 3 months, before moving abroad for less than one year
  • paid Class 1 or Class 2 National Insurance contributions while working abroad, and paid these within 3 months of returning
  • are Croatian and have a certificate to work, or your family member has one
  • are a refugee
  • have been granted discretionary leave to enter or stay in the UK, and can get benefits
  • have been given leave to stay as a displaced person and you can get benefits
  • have been given leave to stay and have applied for ‘leave to remain’ as a victim of domestic violence
  • have been granted humanitarian protection

You’re ‘subject to immigration control’

You can’t claim Child Benefit if you’re subject to immigration control, unless you’re:

  • a sponsored immigrant - someone else has agreed to be financially responsible for you
  • from Algeria, Morocco, San Marino, Tunisia or Turkey and working in the UK
  • from a country that has an agreement with the UK for Child Benefit

Countries that have an agreement with the UK are:

  • Barbados
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Canada
  • the Channel Islands
  • Israel
  • Kosovo
  • Macedonia
  • Mauritius
  • Montenegro
  • New Zealand
  • Serbia