What are the benefits available to someone born in Britain but left?
November 7, 2017 11:24 AM   Subscribe

I was born in the UK but left when I was under 10 years old. I've re-visited as a tourist but never stayed for long and never worked there. Are there any benefits that an expat like me is entitled to? I imagine I wouldn't get a pension but are there other things that I'm overlooking? Thinking not just of gov't things but other stuff available from corporations etc, regardless of how trivial they may be!
posted by storybored to Work & Money (4 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Depending on what year you were born and whether either of your parents British citizens, you may be entitled to British citizenship.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 11:39 AM on November 7, 2017

By far the most important consequence is whether you are currently in fact already a British citizen. Try using this UK government tool to see if you are. (As EndsofInvention says, this is very dependent on your year of birth and the citizenship statuses of your parents.)

That's really what any benefits, such as the ability to move to and work in the UK as well as the rest of the EU (until the UK leaves the EU), would be linked to. I'm having trouble thinking of any benefits at all that are tied to birthplace without also being tied in some way to citizenship.

If you're not currently already a British citizen, you may have a faster path to UK citizenship than the average non-Briton, through being eligible for things like Ancestry visas or whatnot.
posted by andrewesque at 11:57 AM on November 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

State pension eligibility depends on when you were born, and where you worked while outside the UK. If you're a British citizen and have a NI number you might be eligible. See this page, or just tweet at the relevant people.
posted by caek at 2:28 PM on November 7, 2017

As andrewesque highlights, the crucial question is whether you are a British citizen, although even that is of limited advantage if you are not resident in the UK.

With regard to the UK state pension, you would only be eligible if you have a National Insurance number and have been paying into the National Insurance system, which is unlikely unless you are employed in the UK (although you can pay up to 6 years retroactively, even if you are British and live abroad).

With regard to other benefits (e.g. NHS), you need to be resident in the UK to have full access. If you are resident in the EU, you may get also get access to equivalent benefits in your country of residence - until Brexit anyway!

For the time being, if you are not resident - and don't plan to become resident - in the UK, the main benefit to having British citizenship is visa-free, unlimited access to the EU - although I would recommend taking advantage of that quickly!
posted by oclipa at 2:44 AM on November 8, 2017

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