My colleague and I are both foreign nationals, but we come from different countries. I recently moved to the UK, while he has been in the UK for a number of years. Both of us have children and both of us applied for child benefits last year. My application was granted, while his was not. What could be the reasons for the different outcomes? Note: both of our visas have the words 'no recourse to public funds' printed.

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    Usually depends on UK's historical and political ties with original country.(EU, Commonwealth, etc.) What countries are you and your colleague from?
    – petesivak
    Commented Mar 16, 2014 at 20:46
  • I am Indonesian, while my colleague is Mexican.
    – adipro
    Commented Mar 16, 2014 at 20:56
  • Hi @adipro, I'm Portuguese and moving to the UK soon. Do you think me, my wife and kid (19 months old) on a 45K per year only salary (mine) would be entitled to child benefit?
    – chiapa
    Commented Sep 14, 2015 at 9:45
  • @chiapa, I guess if you are from the EU you would get it. In any case, there is no harm in applying.
    – adipro
    Commented Sep 14, 2015 at 15:28
  • But it should depend on the household total income, right? Not only being from the EU
    – chiapa
    Commented Sep 14, 2015 at 15:33

1 Answer 1


The UK tax credit system is devolved from the UKBA. What this means is that it is possible to apply for and get the child tax credit (and other tax credits) even if you have "no recourse to public funds" and are therefore technically not entitled to the benefit. If you receive a tax credit for which you are not entitle you will be in a world of hurt when it comes time to renew your visa or apply for settlement. The UKBA provides a long guidance document

This guidance tells you what UK public funds foreign nationals can claim and what action you must take if they claim funds they are not entitled to.

Basically, when it comes to claiming tax benefits it is buyer beware if your immigration status does not permit recourse to public funds.

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    I was actually advised by an officer at the city council that I could apply for child benefit even if my visa has the words 'no recourse to public funds.' Indeed I remember reading that one can still apply even if he/she is subject to immigration control, e.g., "Sometimes if you're subject to immigration control you might still be able to claim Child Benefit, for example if you're from a country with which the UK has a social security agreement that covers Child Benefit" (hmrc.gov.uk/childbenefit/start/who-qualifies/…)
    – adipro
    Commented Mar 17, 2014 at 10:20

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