Advice for people from abroad

Where you are from will affect whether you are entitled to social housing or other assistance. If you live in Northern Ireland and have a British or Irish passport you should be eligible for help. 

If you are a British or Irish citizen returning to the UK or British passport holder coming to the UK for the first time you will have to meet the conditions of the Habitual Residence Test (HRT). Working out whether you are eligible for social housing can be complicated.

More information can be obtained from your local Housing Executive office, Advice Centre or Housing Rights Service.

Establishing Eligibility for Social Housing and Assistance 

When you come to us we will carry out an investigation to determine if you are eligible for social housing or other assistance. We call this ‘the eligibility test’. We will ask the same initial questions to all applicants. We will need to confirm your nationality as there are different rules depending on where you are from and when you arrived in the UK.  We may also ask about your family circumstances. You will be advised of the evidential requirements during your assessment.

If you are an asylum seeker you will get help through the National Asylum Support Service (NASS). 

Ensuring fairness

We aim to treat all households and individuals with complete fairness when providing our services. We do this regardless of your political affiliation, religious belief or racial group. The Housing Selection Scheme is the set of rules, approved by the Department for Communities that we apply when determining eligibility for social housing and which is designed to be fair and open as well as give applicants a choice in where they wish to live.

This ensures that if you are eligible we will allocate points, determine your place on the social housing waiting list, and consider housing offers and allocation on the basis of your housing need alone. Learn more about the Housing Selection Scheme.

Language support

To view this website in a different language - including Polish, Lithuanian, Czech and Chinese - either click on 'Translate' at the top of the screen, or on the 'Browsealoud' logo at the top right of your screen, then choose the language you want. 

We can also provide language support if you do not speak English as a first language. The telephone based interpretation service ‘The Big Word’ is available throughout our local offices, and we can provide face-to-face interpreters if required.

Fundamental Review of Allocations