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HMRC internal manual

Child Benefit Technical Manual

Residence and immigration: residence - temporarily absent from Great Britain or Northern Ireland

Child Benefit (General) Regulations 2006 regulations 22, 24 & 28

Although the requirement to be in the United Kingdom implies physical presence here on a day-to-day basis, a person who is not physically present in the United Kingdom may nevertheless be treated as such if they go abroad temporarily

  • for the first eight weeks of absence, whatever the reason


  • twelve weeks of any period of absence, or any extension thereof, in connection with

    • treatment of physical or mental illness
    • treatment of their partner’s physical or mental illness
    • the death of a person who was their partner immediately prior to death
    • the death, treatment for physical or mental illness, of a child or qualifying young person for whom they, their partner or both are responsible
    • the death, or treatment for physical or mental illness of their or their partner’s relative

Regulations 24 and 28 of these Regulations do not simply provide for entitlement to continue during certain periods of absence from the United Kingdom. Rather they provide that people are treated as still being in the United Kingdom, which means that there is nothing to prevent them making a new claim, during such periods.

There are three key points to note:

  • The period of absence must be unlikely to exceed 52 weeks. If the absence is expected to last for longer than 52 weeks, the person ceases to be treated as being in Great Britain or Northern Ireland from the time they leave. The question of whether the absence is unlikely to exceed 52 weeks needs to be addressed only once, at the beginning of the absence (regulation 24(2) for Great Britain and regulation 28(2) for Northern Ireland).
  • The person must remain ordinarily resident throughout (unless specifically exempted from this requirement). If the claimant ceases to be ordinarily resident, they should no longer be treated as being in Great Britain or Northern Ireland.
  • In calculating how long a person has been absent, the start should be from the day after the last day they were physically present in Great Britain or Northern Ireland, even if they were only physically present here for a short period (including a day or part of a day).

Meaning of relative

Relative means brother, sister or other lineal descendant.

A person who is in Northern Ireland, but is treated as being in Great Britain as above, is treated as not being in Northern Ireland, and vice versa.