Child Benefit can be claimed by anyone who is responsible for raising a child, and meets the right earning criteria. The government generally encourages anyone who is eligible to claim Child Benefit for the additional perks it offers.
However, the rules for claiming Child Benefit change for people moving abroad. So, if you’re heading abroad and are unsure whether you can continue to claim UK Child Benefit, this guide should give you some clarity.
We’ll answer all your Child Benefit moving abroad questions. Can you claim if you live outside of the UK? What if you’re returning to the UK? Can you claim in two different countries? How long do you have to live in the UK to start claiming?
We’ll answer all these questions and more. So, let’s find out whether you can claim child benefit if you’re moving abroad.
The rules when it comes to claiming Child Benefit after moving abroad can be confusing. Usually, if you live outside of the UK, you cannot claim Child Benefit – however, there are a number of exceptions to this rule.
If you’re only leaving the UK for a short period of time, for example on holiday or to get medical treatment, you may still be eligible to claim Child Benefit.
The below table outlines a number of instances where you can leave the UK and still claim Child Benefit, and how long for:
|Reason for Leaving||How Long You Can Get Child Benefit For|
Death of a member of your family
Up to 12 weeks
Medical treatment for you or your family
Up to 12 weeks
Any other reason, e.g.holidays or business
Up to 8 weeks
You may be able to continue getting Child Benefit for longer if you are moving to live in certain countries.
For example, if you moved to an EU country, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein before 1 January 2021, you might still get Child Benefit for children living with you. You’ll need to be both:
Similarly, if you’re moving to live in a country that has a social security agreement with the UK, you may still be able to keep claiming Child Benefit. These countries include:
You might also be able to keep on claiming Child Benefit abroad if you already receive one of the following benefits:
Crown Servants have unique privileges when it comes to claiming Child Benefit after moving abroad. If you’re a Crown Servant, you can receive Child Benefit if you’re working in any country outside the UK, regardless of whether your child lives with you or not.
However, before you were posted abroad you must have been either living in or posted to the UK. You should notify the Child Benefit Office straight away if you’re leaving the UK for a posting abroad.
Usually, you cannot claim Child Benefit for a child or children who are not residing in the UK.
As mentioned above, however, certain circumstances would still make you eligible to claim, such as if the child lives in the EEA or Switzerland, or if EU Social Security Coordination rules apply.
If you’re returning to the UK after living abroad, you’ll need to live in the UK for 3 months before you can start claiming Child Benefit. Once you’ve been back in the UK for this period of time, you’ll need to prove it – this is called the ‘3-month living in test’.
This means you won’t receive your first payment of Child Benefit until 3 months after moving back to the UK. However, you should apply for Child Benefit before the 3 months have passed, so your payments can start as soon as possible.
If you and your partner live in different countries, you may qualify for Child Benefit or it’s equivalent in both. However, you will only be able to claim the benefit in one country.
Usually, the country the child lives in will pay the benefit. Yet, if the benefit is more in the other country, that country will pay you extra.
So, can you claim Child Benefit if you’re living abroad? In short, yes you can – but, it depends on a number of circumstances, such as:
Regardless of whether you’re moving abroad or simply moving around the corner, you must remember to complete your Child Benefit change of address. This will ensure that your change in circumstances is registered and you continue to be paid the right amount.
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