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Immigration conditions for homeless help

If you’re not a British or Irish citizen, your right to homeless help from the council depends on your immigration status.

The council might say you’re not eligible for assistance if they think you do not meet the immigration conditions.

Get advice as soon as possible if the council says you’re not eligible.

When to get advice about your eligibility

Immigration law is complicated, so it’s important to get specialist advice if:

  • you think you’re eligible, but the council will not help you

  • you’re not sure if you meet the conditions to be eligible for homeless help

  • you’ve been given a written decision that says you’re not eligible – you can appeal this within 21 days

An immigration adviser can help you work out your rights and options, challenge the council if they’re wrong, and get legal help.

To find an immigration adviser you could:

Who is eligible for assistance

If you’re eligible for assistance, you have the right to homeless help. The council must take a homeless application and offer you temporary accommodation if you need it.

You’re usually eligible for assistance if any of these apply to you:

  • you have settled status or indefinite leave to remain, and you’re habitually resident in the UK – this means you’ve been living here and you intend to stay

  • you’ve been granted refugee status or humanitarian protection, and you have leave to remain in the UK

  • you’re a Ukrainian or Afghan refugee, and you have leave to remain under a settlement scheme

  • you’re a Commonwealth citizen with right of abode – check if you have right of abode on GOV.UK

There could be other situations where you're eligible. If you're not sure, get immigration advice as soon as possible to work out your rights.

If you have pre-settled status

You’re usually eligible for homeless help if you’re either:

  • working in the UK – this can include part-time work and self-employment, even if you have a low income

  • a family member of an eligible EEA national

You could still be eligible if you were previously working in the UK, but:

  • you had to stop because of illness or injury

  • you're on maternity leave

  • you lost your job but you're registered as a job seeker

Depending on your situation, there may be a limit on how long you can be out of work.

After 5 years with pre-settled status, you can apply to switch to settled status. This gives you more rights. Apply for settled status on GOV.UK.

If you’re waiting for a decision on your EUSS application

You might be eligible for homeless help, depending on when you arrived in the UK and when you applied to the scheme.

In these cases, the rules can be complicated. Get immigration advice to work out if you’re eligible.

Who is not eligible for assistance

You usually will not have the right to homeless help from the council if:

  • you’re seeking asylum and have not yet been granted refugee status – you can apply to get Home Office accommodation while your asylum claim is processed

  • you're on a temporary visa, including a work visa or student visa

  • you have a visa as the spouse, partner, parent or family member of a British citizen

  • you have any other immigration document that says “no public funds”

  • you’re waiting for the results of an immigration appeal

  • you do not have a legal right to live in the UK

  • you have pre-settled status, but you do not meet the extra conditions to be eligible

  • you applied to the EU Settlement Scheme after 30 June 2021 and you’re waiting for a decision – you could become eligible later if you’re granted pre-settled or settled status

If someone in your household is eligible for housing assistance, you may be able to stay with them in their temporary accommodation.

If you’re unsure about your immigration status or your eligibility, get specialist advice urgently. Your rights will depend on your specific situation.

Search for an immigration adviser on GOV.UK

Check your housing options

You can rent from a private landlord, letting agent or housing association. This applies no matter your immigration status.

Check our advice on how your immigration status affects your housing options.

Getting help from social work

Even if you're not eligible for homeless assistance, you can sometimes still get help from the council’s social work team.

Social work should help you if:

  • your child's health and development is at risk

  • you're disabled and have significant care needs

  • you have mental health difficulties

Find the social work team on

If you’re on a spouse or family visa and experiencing domestic abuse

You can apply for special permission to claim benefits or get homeless help when you’ve experienced domestic abuse.

Apply for the migrant victims of domestic abuse concession on GOV.UK

You can get advice and support from:

Last updated: 27 March 2024

Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.

This content applies to Scotland only.

Get advice if you're in England