I'm not a UK citizen

Advice for if you are not a UK citizen

Immigration is complicated. No two situations are the same.

You might have come to the UK as an asylum seeker. You might have travelled here to take up a new job. Or maybe you settled here with your parents when you were a child. Whatever your situation, if you’re not a UK citizen and are facing homelessness, or are homeless already, it’s best to get tailored advice. 

On this page, we’ll cover the following topics and questions and tell you about the support that’s available out there. Please note, Centrepoint cannot give you immigration advice, but we can share some information to help you and connect you to people who advise you. Contact the Centrepoint Helpline if you would like to talk this through. 

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Can I get housing support if I'm not from the UK?

Can I get housing support if I'm a refugee or asylum seeker?

Can I get housing support if I'm an EU citizen?

Can I get free legal support?

Speak to our Helpline advisors in your own language 

Our friendly Helpline advisors are here to help you if you’re homeless, or worried about becoming homeless.  

If you’d prefer to speak in a language other than English, let us know and we can get in touch with a translator for you within a few minutes of your call.  

Immigration status 

Your immigration status is the type of permission you have to be in the UK. There are lots of different types, including: 

  • Asylum seeker

  • Refugee status  

  • Indefinite leave to remain 

  • Limited leave to remain 

  • Humanitarian protection 

  • EUSS – Settled or pre-settled status.

How long you can stay in the UK and what you can do while you’re here depends on your immigration status. It also affects what kind of help you are entitled to, including housing support and benefits.  

How to check your immigration status 

If you are unsure of your immigration status or eligibility to live in the UK, it is best to get specialist immigration advice.  

Read more about immigration status, benefits and housing on the Citizens Advice website.   

Find out about other charities and organisations who might be able to help you. 

Can I get housing support from the council if I’m not a UK citizen?

That depends on your immigration status (i.e. if you’re eligible for assistance) and whether the council finds you to be in ‘priority need’. This includes being pregnant, having children, being at risk of domestic abuse, violence, or having a health condition or disability. 

If the council doesn’t think that you are priority need, it’s unlikely you will get emergency or temporary accommodation. But it is still worth speaking to them as they may be able to offer other support like signposting you to different services or making referrals on your behalf. 

Step one: Find out your immigration status 

As part of the homeless application process, the council will decide whether you are ‘eligible’ for support. To do this they will need to know your immigration status. It’s best to try and confirm your immigration status before you apply for housing at the council.  

Step two: Make a homeless application with your local council 

To apply for help, you will need to make a homeless application with your local council. Enter your postcode to find your local council

Read about the homeless application process in more detail.

Or call our Helpline to talk the process through.      

Step three: Share your documents with the council  

You will need to show the council certain documents to prove your immigration status, if you have them. That might be:  

I’m a refugee or asylum seeker 

The support you’re eligible for from the council will depend on your immigration status. If you don’t already know what that is, try to find out. It’s best to get specialist immigration advice to do this.  

As an asylum seeker, you could get asylum support while the Home Office looks at your asylum claim. This might be housing and some money each week.  

If you are given refugee status, the National Asylum Support Service will usually give you four weeks’ notice to leave your accommodation. During this time, you can approach your local council and make a homeless application.  

Find out how to make homeless application process here and read the section above.  

To find accommodation, it’s a good idea to contact a charity or organisation that specialises in supporting refugees or asylum seekers

If you're under 18 and have no family in the UK you, contact the council's social services department for help. Enter your postcode here to find your local council

Read more about your rights as a refugee or asylum seeker  

Ahmad’s story 

When Ahmad fled violence in Afghanistan, he was able to start a new life in the UK with Centrepoint’s help. 
“I’m so much happier now – at Centrepoint I feel safe again,” says Ahmad. “My key worker is so kind, she helps me with many things. My life is good and happy.” 

You need a referral from your local council to access Centrepoint housing. First register as homeless or at risk of homelessness with your local council. Then, if you’re accepted, the council will assess you and, if they refer you to Centrepoint, we can place you in the best accommodation for you. We have housing in London, Sunderland, Manchester, Bradford and Barnsley.

I’m an EU citizen  

As an EU citizen, to keep your right to live and work in the UK, you need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.  

The housing support and benefits you are eligible for will depend on whether you are given ‘pre-settled’ or ‘settled’ status. You can read more about this on the Settlement Guide website.  

The deadline for most people to apply was June 2021. However, you can still make an application, but you will need to include a reason as to why it’s late. Reasons might include: being ill, rough sleeping or experiencing domestic abuse.   

It’s best to get professional advice when you apply. The AIRE Centre can give you free, specialist legal advice to help you through the application process. 

Read more about your rights as an EU citizen in the UK 

How can I get free legal support?  

The Law Centres Network may be able to help. All Law Centres offer legal advice in person and some run a telephone advice line. Look for the centre closest to you and check if they offer immigration and housing advice. 

The council say they can’t help. What can I do now?  

  • Find out why the council say they can’t help you. Ask them to provide you with a written explanation. This is helpful if you later go on to challenge their decision. 

  • Contact the Centrepoint Helpline for advice on the decision you have received from your local council. The written explanation you’ve requested will be really helpful to work out if you could challenge them. 

  • If you believe the council’s decision is wrong, you can challenge them – within 21 days of receiving it. Find out how to challenge the council or contact our Helpline to talk through how to do this.  

  • Contact other charities and organisations that specialise in supporting people who aren’t UK citizens. Read through the list below or contact the Centrepoint Helpline. 

Other organisations and charities that could help you 

British Red Cross 

The British Red Cross provides services for refugees and asylum seekers in the UK. It can also help you to find missing relatives.   

Citizens Advice 

Citizens Advice offers specialist immigration advice. It is free and confidential. If your local Citizens Advice doesn’t have a specialist immigration advisor, they can refer you to another organisation or a solicitor or help you to find an immigration advisor near you.  

Coram Migrant Children’s Project Advice 

Coram’s Children’s Legal Centre can offer you email advice from a specialist solicitor on issues affect you as a young person who is a migrant, asylum-seeker or refugee.  

Email: mcpadvice@coramclc.org.uk 

Migrant Help 

Migrant Help provides information and advice on things like the EU Settlement Scheme, refugee resettlement and issues that affect you as an asylum seeker. It also has an interpretation service if you’d prefer to speak in a language other than English.

Call: 0808 8010 503 for their free helpline for asylum seekers.

Right to Remain 

This website has a straightforward toolkit that guides you through the UK asylum and immigration system.  


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If you need urgent advice call: 0808 800 4444 (8am to 6pm Monday to Friday, excluding bank holidays)