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Bulgarian and Romanian nationals - claiming benefits

If you're an EEA national who has come to the UK from abroad and you want to claim certain means-tested benefits, you must also satisfy the conditions of a test, known as the habitual residence test (HRT). To satisfy these conditions you must show:

  • you have a legal right to live in the UK and claim these benefits. This is called a right to reside, and
  • you intend to settle in the UK, Isle of Man, Channel Islands or Ireland (the 'Common Travel Area') and make it your home for the time being. This is known as habitual residence.

This page explains what your rights are if you're from Bulgaria or Romania.

Getting advice

Showing your right to reside and intention to settle in the UK can be difficult. If you're unsure about anything seek the help of an adviser.

If you need more help

Bulgarian and Romanian nationals - what's changed

Until 1 January 2014, if you were a Bulgarian or Romanian national you only had a right to reside in the UK if you came into one of the following categories:

  • you were working in authorised employment and had registered with the Workers Authorisation Scheme
  • you had completed 12 months' authorised employment with fewer than 30 days of non-working time within that period
  • you were self-employed
  • you were self-sufficient
  • you were a student
  • you were a family member of an EEA national in the UK who themselves had a right to reside.

From 1 January 2014, you no longer have to register with the Workers Authorisation Scheme if you are working in the UK. From this date all Bulgarian and Romanian nationals have the same rights as other EEA nationals to live and work in the UK. However, like them, if you want to claim certain benefits you must show that you have a right to reside in the UK and that you intend to settle here and make it your home for the time being.

Next steps

Citizens Advice

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