Tax-Free Childcare: Being in the UK

The claimant must, at the date of declaration, be in the UK. This section explains what 'being in the UK' means for TFC.

What does 'being in the UK' mean?

A claimant will meet this eligibility condition if they are in the UK on the date of the declaration. The UK is England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and adjacent islands, but not including the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands.

Therefore the basic rule is that claimants must be physically in the UK on the date of declaration (although temporary absences may be allowed).

There are no residence requirements for the child, but see our 'qualifying children' section for more details about the rules covering children.

People treated as being in the UK

Some people are automatically treated as 'being in the UK' even if they are not physically present. This will be the case if:

1. The claimant is ordinarily resident in the UK

Ordinary residence is not defined in the Regulations. For tax credit purposes HMRC states someone is ordinarily resident if: 

'they are normally residing in the United Kingdom (apart from temporary or occassional absences) and their residence here has been adopted voluntarily and for settled purposes as part of the regular order of their life for the time being'

2. A crown servant or member of HM Forces posted overseas or their partner if they are accompanying them on that posting

A claimant is treated as posted overseas if they are performing overseas the duties of a Crown Servant or member of HM Forces and immediately before their posting (or the first of consecutive postings) they were ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom.

A Crown Servant means anyone who:

3. A resident of a prescribed state who is not a person subject to immigration control and who is in paid work in the United Kingdom.

A prescribed state means any EEA state or Switzerland.

A person subject to immigration control has the meaning in section 115(9) of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999

We explain what paid work is in our qualifying paid work section. You can find a list of EEA countries on GOV.UK.

People not treated as being in the UK

Some people are automatically treated as NOT in the UK for TFC purposes even if they are physically present here. This will be the case where:

1. The person is not ordinarily resident in the UK and is not in the UK for specified circumstances which are:

(In other words, those who fall into any of the above categories who are physically present in the UK will generally be treated as being in the UK for TFC purposes)

2. The person is resident in the UK but is taxed, under certain double taxation arrangements, as if they were not resident and they are not a resident of a prescribed state (any EEA state or Switzerland) in paid work in the UK.

3. The person is subject to immigration control (under s.115(9) of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999)

Temporary absence from the UK

Temporary absences can be ignored when determining whether a claimant is in the UK.

Where the claimant is an eligible person immediately before the start of the temporary absence and the absence:

For these purposes a close relative means a parent, parent-in-law, son, son-in-law, daughter, daughter-in-law, step-parent, step-son, step-daughter, brother or sister. It also includes the partner of any of those listed.


The requirement of being in the UK is only for the TFC claimant (the eligible person) - it does not apply to their partner.

However, in determining whether someone has a partner, if the partner is absent from the claimant's household at the date of declaration and this is expected to last more than 6 months, then they are not classed as a partner and should not be included on the claim. This is also the case if they are in prison. See our who is eligible section for more detail on who counts as a partner.

Our understanding of the legislation is that where the absence is less than 6 months, then the partner should be included on the TFC claim even if they are outside of the UK, because the 8 week rule above only applies to the TFC claimant. This is different to the rules in tax credits: for example, if a joint claimant goes overseas for more than 8 weeks (12 in certain circumstances) the joint claim ends and a single claim must be made.

Last reviewed/updated 26 May 2022