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HMRC internal manual

Child Benefit Technical Manual

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HM Revenue & Customs
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Residence and immigration: residence - present, ordinarily resident and ‘right to reside’

 
 
 
 
 

Meaning of ‘ordinarily resident’ for Child Benefit

The term “ordinarily resident” is not defined, but its established meaning is that a person is ordinarily resident if they are normally residing in the United Kingdom (apart from temporary or occasional absences), and their residence here has been adopted voluntarily and for settled purposes as part of the regular order of their life for the time being.

In considering whether a person is ordinarily resident, all the circumstances of the particular case will need to be considered.

“Ordinary residence” is a concept, which is also used for income tax, national insurance and tax credits. For guidance on the meaning of “ordinarily resident” for tax purposes, see the Residence Manual. For guidance on its meaning for national insurance, see the National Insurance Manual. For tax credits, see the Tax Credits Technical Manual. For Child Benefit the guidance here or in the Child Benefit Procedural Manual should be used.

Making decisions about whether a person is ordinarily resident

When considering whether a person is ordinarily resident the facts will need to be considered as they apply at the time. Decisions about entitlement must be based on the facts as they exist at the time.

Ordinary residence - what to consider

A person is ordinarily resident if they are normally residing in the United Kingdom (apart from temporary or occasional absences), and their residence here has been adopted voluntarily and for settled purposes as part of the regular order of their life for the time being. Decisions about whether a person is ordinarily resident will need to be based on all the circumstances of the particular case.

A person can be ordinarily resident in more than one country. The fact that a person might be said to have a home in another country does not mean that they cannot also be ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom.

If a person lives in the United Kingdom year after year, they should be treated as ordinarily resident here.

Ordinary residence - coming to live in the United Kingdom

When considering whether a person coming to the United Kingdom is ordinarily resident here, we are trying to decide whether they have come to live here as part of the regular order of their life for the time being. Often it will be obvious. On other occasions, there will be a need to consider all the relevant factors in order to build up an overall picture of the person’s position.

Examples of factors which may be relevant are given below. These factors may help to indicate whether a person is ordinarily resident or not. Normally, no one factor on its own will determine that a person is, or is not, ordinarily resident. A decision will need to be made according to all the circumstances of the particular case.

Examples of relevant factors:

  • What is the reason the person has come to the United Kingdom? If the person is here for recreational or temporary purposes (such as a holiday), this is likely to be a sign that they are not ordinarily resident;
  • Does the person intend to leave the United Kingdom (other than for temporary absences of limited duration) in the near future? If so, this may indicate that the person is not here for a settled purpose and is not ordinarily resident;
  • Does the visit to the United Kingdom form part of a pattern of regular and significant visits over a number of years, or is such a pattern expected to emerge? If so, this may indicate that the person is ordinarily resident. The more frequent, and the longer the visits, the more likely the person is to be ordinarily resident.
  • Has the person’s family (spouse or partner and any children) also come to live in the United Kingdom? If so, this may indicate that the person (and his or her family) has a settled intention to remain in the United Kingdom, and is therefore ordinarily resident.
  • Does the person have a settled home in the United Kingdom - for example, have they bought, leased or rented accommodation? If so, this may indicate that the person is ordinarily resident. If not, this does not necessarily mean that the person is not ordinarily resident. Consider whether there are other reasons for this, such as lack of means.
  • How long has the person lived in the United Kingdom? The longer they have lived in the United Kingdom, the stronger the indication that they are ordinarily resident. If a person has already lived here for three years or more, it should normally be accepted that they are ordinarily resident. (This does not mean that people who have lived here for less than three years are necessarily not ordinarily resident. A person can be ordinarily resident from the first day they arrive in the United Kingdom if they have genuinely come to make their home here.)

Ordinary residence - leaving the United Kingdom

When considering whether a person leaving the United Kingdom has ceased to be ordinarily resident here, the decision is whether they have, for the time being, ceased to live here as part of the regular order of their life. All the relevant factors should be considered in order to build up an overall picture of the person’s position.

Examples of factors, which may be relevant, are given below. These factors may help to indicate whether a person is ordinarily resident or not. Normally, no one factor on its own will determine that a person is, or is not, ordinarily resident. A decision will need to be made according to all the circumstances of the particular case.

Examples of relevant factors:

  • Will the person be returning to the United Kingdom? If so, this may indicate that ordinary residence continues during the period(s) abroad (the sooner, more frequent or longer the return visits, the stronger that indication). If the person does not intend to return, this indicates that they have ceased to be ordinarily resident.
  • What will the purpose of any return visits be? Visits to see family who have remained at the person’s home in the United Kingdom or holidays spent at such a retained home in the United Kingdom may indicate continued ordinary residence. Visits connected to the absence abroad (for example, being sent to the UK for training by an overseas employer) are less likely to indicate ordinary residence.
  • Will the person’s family (spouse or partner and any children) be going abroad as well? If so, this may indicate that the person (and his or her family) is no longer ordinarily resident, particularly if they do not maintain a home in the United Kingdom. If the person’s family remains in the United Kingdom, however, this may indicate that the person continues to be ordinarily resident here.
  • Will the person retain a home in the United Kingdom during their period abroad? If so, this may indicate continuing ordinary residence during the period of absence. If not, the person is less likely to remain ordinarily resident.
  • If the person retains a home in the United Kingdom, will it be available for their use when they return? If so, this is an indication that ordinary residence may continue. If not - for example, because it is let on a long lease - then it is less likely that the person will remain ordinarily resident.
  • Will the person be returning to the United Kingdom at the end of the period abroad? If so, this may indicate that ordinary residence continues. If not, this may indicate that the person ceases to be ordinarily resident, particularly if they do not retain a home in the United Kingdom during their absence.
  • How long has the person lived in the United Kingdom? The longer the period, the stronger the indication that the person is ordinarily resident.

Ordinary residence - people deported to the United Kingdom

Child Benefit (General) Regulations 2006, regulations 23(3) and 27(2)

To be ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom, a person must be here voluntarily. This may not apply to people who are here as a result of deportation, expulsion or some other legal form of compulsory removal from another country. To avoid any doubts about their eligibility for Child Benefit such people are, therefore, automatically treated as ordinarily resident for the purposes of Child Benefit.