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  1. 1. Immigration conditions
  2. 2. What are public funds?
  3. 3. Who has no recourse to public funds (NRPF)?
  4. 4. Who has recourse to public funds?
  5. 5. Section 3C leave
  6. 6. EEA nationals and family members
  7. 7. Confirming immigration status and access to public funds

Immigration conditions

The immigration status of a person who is not a British citizen (non-UK national) will determine whether they are able to work and access public funds.

All non-UK nationals are required to obtain leave to enter or remain in order to live in the UK, unless they have the right of abode or are exempt from immigration control. For example, Irish citizens are exempt from immigration control, so are not required to obtain leave to enter or remain to visit or live in the UK.

When a person is granted leave to enter or remain for a limited period, their leave will be subject to conditions relating to employment and whether they can access public funds. Different conditions apply depending on the type of leave that the person has been granted. When limited leave to enter is granted to a person to visit, study, or work in the UK, they will have a ‘No Recourse to Public Funds’ (NRPF) condition imposed. When a person has a NRPF condition, they will not be able to claim most benefits or access local authority housing. 

When a person is granted indefinite leave to remain or settled status, they will not be subject to any restrictions relating to work or access to public funds. The only exception to this rule is a person with adult dependent relative leave

European Economic Area (EEA) nationals are required to obtain leave to enter or remain in order to live in the UK, but some will have leave to remain granted under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) or be entitled to apply for EUSS leave. A person with EUSS leave can access public funds but may need to meet a right to reside test in order to qualify for benefits.   

Immigration terms

Right of abode

Being free to enter and live in the UK without having to obtain leave to remain. Applies to Commonwealth citizens in certain circumstances.

Exempt from immigration control

Being exempt from the requirement to apply for leave to enter or remain. For example, Irish citizens and people who are in diplomatic service.

Leave to enter

Immigration permission issued on entry to the UK, usually after prior entry clearance has been obtained before arrival.

Leave to remain

Immigration permission issued to a person in the UK, usually after a person has made an application to Home Office.