HMRC internal manual

Child Benefit Technical Manual

CBTM10010 - Residence and immigration: residence - introduction

Introduction

The general rule is that to be entitled to Child Benefit, the person claiming and the child/ren or qualifying young person/s they are claiming for must live in the United Kingdom.

Short absences abroad for holidays or on business will not affect eligibility. Some people may be eligible even if they, or the child/ren or qualifying young persons they are claiming for, do not live in the United Kingdom.

In Great Britain or Northern Ireland

The Contributions and Benefits Act 1992, section 146 for Great Britain

The Contributions and Benefits (Northern Ireland) Act 1992, section 142 for Northern Ireland

To be eligible for Child Benefit, a person must be in, or treated as being in, Great Britain or Northern Ireland (section 146(2) for Great Britain and section 142(2) for Northern Ireland).

The circumstances in which a person is to be treated as being or not being in Great Britain or Northern Ireland is set out in regulations.

Children or qualifying young persons being claimed for must be in, or treated as being in, Great Britain or Northern Ireland (section 146(1) for Great Britain and section 142(1) for Northern Ireland).

Great Britain and Northern Ireland is England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and adjacent Islands. It does not include the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands.

Present, ordinarily resident and ‘right to reside’

The general rules - present, ordinarily resident and ‘right to reside’
Present in Great Britain or Northern Ireland
Ordinarily resident in Great Britain or Northern Ireland
Special cases
Right to reside in the United Kingdom
The European Economic Area

The general rules - present, ordinarily resident and ‘right to reside’

The Contributions and Benefits Act 1992, section 146

The Contributions and Benefits (Northern Ireland) Act 1992, section 142

The Child Benefit (General) Regulations 2006, regulations 23 & 27

The general rule is that to be treated as being in Great Britain or Northern Ireland for the purposes of Child Benefit, a person must be both present and ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom throughout the period of the award. For new claims made on or after 1st May 2004, for the purposes of Child Benefit, to be treated as being in the Great Britain or Northern Ireland a person must also have a ‘right to reside’ in the United Kingdom.

For new claims received on or after 1 July 2021, from European Economic Area (EEA) or Swiss nationals(this does not include Irish nationals) will be required to have an immigration status under either the EU settlement scheme (or have made an eligible application to the EU Settlement Scheme) or the immigration system. More detailed information on the EU settlement scheme can be found on GOV.UK “Apply to the EU Settlement Scheme (settled and pre-settled status)

Present in Great Britain or Northern Ireland

The Contributions and Benefits Act 1992, section 146

The Contributions and Benefits (Northern Ireland) Act 1992, section 142

The requirement to be present in the United Kingdom is imposed directly by section 146 of the Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act for Great Britain and section142 of the Social Security Contributions and Benefits (Northern Ireland) Act 1992 for Northern Ireland (The Acts), which requires that a person be “in Great Britain or Northern Ireland” (whichever the case requires). On its own, this would require the person to be physically present in the United Kingdom on each day throughout the period of their award. However, there are rules to allow entitlement to continue during temporary absences of limited duration. These rules are explained at CBTM10030.

Ordinarily resident in Great Britain or Northern Ireland

Child Benefit (General) Regulations 2006 regulations 23 & 27

The requirement to be ordinarily resident is imposed by regulations 23 and 27 of the Child Benefit (General) Regulations 2006. How to determine whether someone is ordinarily resident can be found at CBTM10020.

Special cases

There are special rules for Crown Servants posted overseas and their partners (see CBTM10060).

Child Benefit is a family benefit under the EU’s social security co-ordination regulations and continue to apply to those in scope of the Withdrawal Agreement .

This means UK, EEA, Swiss nationals, and certain non-EEA nationals in scope of the WA who are subject to UK legislation may still be entitled to Child Benefit whilst in a EEA country or Switzerland. Who is covered by the WA can be found at CBTM10015 and how the EU social security coordination regulations apply to those covered by the WA can be found at CBTM10200

Right to reside in the United Kingdom

Child Benefit (General) Regulations 2006, regulations 23 and 27

A person is not treated as being in Great Britain or Northern Ireland (as the case requires) for the purposes of the Acts if they

  • made a claim for Child Benefit on or after 1 May 2004: and
  • they do not have a right to reside in the UK.

Who has a right to reside is set out at CBTM10070.

The European Economic Area (EEA)

The EEA is made up of the 27 EU Member States plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden

The EU has an agreement with Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein (the European Economic Area, EEA) and a separate agreement with Switzerland, which confers similar rights of EU nationals on nationals of those countries.