Being on the electoral register entitles you to vote in elections and referendums in the UK. This can improve your UK credit rating, which will make it easier for you to take out a bank loan or a mortgage, but make sure you keep your entry up to date, particularly if you change address. In order to register to vote you must be a British national or a citizen of the EU*, Commonwealth countries, British Overseas Territories or British Crown Dependencies and be ordinarily resident in the UK. You have to be 18 or over on the date of an election to be able to vote, but you can be added to the register from the age of 16.
*It is unclear whether this will continue to be the case in the future. The University is keeping its staff informed of any changes regarding Britain and the EU via a dedicated website.
State benefits in the UK
There are many state benefits available, for example, to carers, disabled persons and families. Whether you can claim benefits will depend on your circumstances** including your household income. Further information about the different types of benefits, including eligibility criteria, can be found on the UK government’s website.
Parents with children under the age of 16 (or under 20 if they stay in approved education or training) may qualify for child benefit. This is a tax-free payment to help with the cost of bringing up children. Eligibility rules, including information specifically for those who have moved to the UK from overseas, can be found on the UK government’s website.
**If you are on a visa of any type, it is highly unlikely that you will be able to claim state benefits (such as child benefit). In particular, claiming any such benefit incorrectly can have an impact on any future applications for a visa or for Indefinite Leave to Remain. Please contact the Staff Immigration Team for advice if you are unsure.