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This page contains information about what to do when you are granted Refugee status if you live in Luton.

Click on the sections below to find specific information.

If there are any errors or updates required please email us at

Information updated on 1/10/23.



When you receive your positive decision letter confirming you have been granted Refugee Status, it is important to take action quickly to make sure you can get support to move on from living in Home Office accommodation.

You will have 28 days starting from the date written on your letter to leave Home Office accommodation. After 28 days from the date written on your letter, your Section 95 support (accommodation and ASPEN card) will stop and you will be evicted from your hotel, flat or shared house.

You should be given at least 7 days notice of eviction from your accommodation manager.

You will receive your ID card – Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) 7-10 days after your Refugee status letter.

Please share this information with your friends that live in Luton.

Even if you have not received your Refugee status yet, it is always good to be prepared!

Open a UK bank account

Why do you need a UK bank account?

You must open a UK bank account as soon as possible.

You will need a bank account for many reasons, including for Universal Credit, housing, employment and many other important aspects of life in the UK.

How can I open a bank account?

You can read full guidance on how to open a bank account using the below links (only available in the listed languages):

Banks in Luton

Banks in Luton include Lloyds Bank, Halifax and HSBC.

Banking tips

  • If you do not have the proof of address listed in the above guidance you can try to request a proof of address letter from your GP or college.
  • Some GP’s may charge between £25 – £30 for a letter.
  • You must take your ID with you to request the letter.

If you cannot get a letter from your GP please email

Support with proof of address is only available for people that have Refugee status so please do not share this information with anyone that does not have status.

  • If you are still waiting for your BRP card you may be able to use your ARC ID card to apply for an account.
  • You may be asked to complete an online application for a bank account. If you have any issues, take a screenshot of the error and visit the bank branch to ask for an appointment. Show them the error and explain you were unable to complete the application online.

Register for Universal Credit

What is Universal Credit?

Universal Credit is the UK benefits system. They will assess your situation and if you qualify, they will provide you with financial assistance for things such as living costs, housing costs, child costs (if you are pregnant or have children aged under 18 years).

When you apply for Universal Credit the money you are given is split into different parts:

  • Money for you to live while you are looking for a job – you can get this straight away.
  • Money to pay rent when you find somewhere to live – this is called Housing Benefit. You will get this money when you find somewhere to live.

Full information about Universal Credit can be found here

How to apply for Universal Credit

If you meet the below criteria you should apply online for Universal Credit online (the application is only available in English).


  • Have a very good understanding of English
  • You feel confident completing written forms in English
  • Have a UK bank account

Do you need help to apply for Universal Credit?

If you do not meet the criteria above, you should apply for Universal Credit over the phone with help from the Citizens Advice Bureau.

Translators are available on the call and you can explain any delays you are experiencing. For example, if you are still waiting for your new BRP card or your bank account is still being processed.

Universal Credit Phone Application

Contact this number to arrange help to apply for Universal Credit over the phone.

Contact number: 0808 278 7847

Opening hours: Monday to Friday 9.30am – 12.30pm

Universal Credit tips

  • You can still apply for Universal Credit if you do not have a UK bank account yet. Ask the advisor for help with this when you call to apply.
  • If you have children, make sure you also apply for Child Benefit. If you apply for this within 3 months of getting your decision, it will be backdated for the time that you have been in the UK with a child.
  • If you are married or will be living with your partner you must apply for a joint Universal Credit claim.
    • To make a joint claim, you’ll both need to open separate accounts.
    • To avoid system errors you should not create your account at exactly the same time as your partner. It doesn’t matter who creates their account first. When your accounts are complete you will receive a ‘Linking Code’ to connect your accounts.
    • You will both be able to log in to your accounts separately.
    • If you apply over the phone the advisor will help with this. If you apply online there will be guidance on how to connect your accounts.
  • If you do not receive your first payment of Universal Credit before your eviction date, the council can help you to request an advance payment to get the money sooner. Make sure to ask them about this when you go to the Town Hall.

Housing - choosing where to live

You can move to anywhere in the UK but it is much easier if you:

  • Have friends or family who can help you find somewhere to live.
  • Can find a room, flat or house somewhere privately by yourself.

If you do not have connections in the UK and you cannot find somewhere by yourself you will have less choice over where you live. You will need to contact the local council for help as soon as possible.

Housing - important things to think about

There is currently a housing crisis in the UK. This means there are not enough homes for people in need, including Refugees. This crisis makes the process of finding somewhere to live feel stressful, regardless of whether you search for somewhere on your own or have help from the local council.

You should remember these key things when making your decisions:

  • 28 days is a very short amount of time to find somewhere to live in the UK, the private and council processes can both take many weeks to arrange. So it is important you keep this in mind when considering where you want to live.
  • It is extremely unlikely you will be provided with a council property in London or other major cities before the 28 day deadline. Waiting lists for properties in these areas have thousands of people registered and it can take years for eligible people to be offered a home.
  • Have an open mind when thinking about which location you want to live in. The need for safe and secure accommodation should be your top priority. The process of finding a home takes many weeks, try not to focus your time on unlikely options. Applying for housing is explained more below. 
  • Because you only have 28 days to find somewhere to live the risk of homelessness is very real if you do not act fast.

If you are struggling to make decisions please seek professional advice from the below organisations as soon as possible.

Red Cross Luton


Call: 01582 589081

Finding somewhere to live without help from the local council

If you decide to look for somewhere to live without help from the local council you must be prepared to manage the process by yourself.

The process of finding privately rented accommodation will include:

  • Searching for a property
  • Viewing the property
  • Understanding and signing tenancy agreements and contracts
  • Paying rent / security deposits

Some websites to find a privately rented shared room, flat or house: uk/london

When you apply for Universal Credit you should be told how much money you will get for Housing Benefit. This will help you know how much you can spend on rent if you are independently looking for somewhere to live.

If you cannot remember the amount and are unable to check, you can use this link to understand how much Housing Benefit you may be given:

The amount you will receive will change depending on your age and if you have children or a family you will live with.

Paying rent deposits and other housing costs

You will need to pay a deposit to secure your accommodation.

Rent deposits are usually 4-5 weeks of rent paid in advance before you can move into your property.

For example if your rent is £150 per week, you will be required to pay up to £750 to your landlord before you can start living in your accommodation.

You can apply for a Refugee Integration Loan to help towards these costs:

This money is an interest free loan, this means you must pay it back. How much your repayments are and how you pay will depend on your circumstances.

If you are successful in applying for the loan you must tell your Universal Credit advisor.

If you need help applying for the loan please contact:

Citizens Advice Bureau

Red Cross Luton


Call: 01582 589081

Other advice and support for rent deposits can be found here:

Finding somewhere to live with help from the local council

There is a housing crisis across the UK. In many cities there are not enough homes to allow local councils to help every person in need.

In Luton there are thousands of people waiting to be given a home through the council and the waiting time is currently 8-10 years!

You will not be given a house or flat in Luton through the council.

However, Luton Borough Council has a responsibility to help you avoid becoming homelessness.

You should go to Luton Borough Council for support as soon as you receive your Refugee status letter.

You can apply for council housing in multiple areas at the same time and you can join more than one waiting list.

Some areas can offer housing quicker. Most councils give priority to people who already have a connection to the area, for example if you have close family living there.

More info here:

How can the local council help?

Section 189A of the Housing Act 1996 says because you are threatened with homelessness in the next 56 days (8 weeks) you have the right to an assessment and a personal housing plan. This plan will tell you how the council will work with you to find somewhere to live.

The council where you live must help you to resolve your homelessness. However this does not mean they will accommodate you in their town or city. They should assist you to find an alternative home outside of Luton.

If you are pregnant, have young children or have medical conditions, you might be considered in priority need and the council will find you temporary accommodation and then help you to find somewhere more long term.

You are considered to be in priority need if:

  • you have dependent children living with you or who might reasonably be expected to live with you
  • someone you live with is pregnant
  • are vulnerable as a result of old age
  • have a mental illness or physical disability or other special reason, or someone who lives with you, or would normally live with you is vulnerable for these reasons
  • are 16 or 17 years of age
  • are homeless as a result of flood, fire or other disaster
  • are aged 18 to 20 and leaving care
  • are vulnerable as a result of leaving prison or the armed services

How to apply for housing through Luton Borough Council

You must go to the Town Hall and tell them you will become homeless in 28 days from the date on your Refugee status letter.

We recommend you visit on the earliest day and time shown below so they can start working on your case as quickly as possible.

Opening Hours

Monday / Tuesday / Thursday / Friday – 09:00-17:00

Wednesday – 10:00-17:00

Saturday / Sunday – Closed

You should take these things with you when you visit the Town Hall.

If you have a friend that speaks English it is a good idea to take them with you

They can help you understand the process and help you ask questions. If you do not know anyone that can go with you must go alone, you can ask if a translator can be provided for your conversations.

Bank statements

You need to take bank statements from the last 6 months or from the date you opened your account if it is a brand new account. Even if you have never used your bank account you must still provide a copy of your statements.

Refugee Status letter

If your letter was sent by email, ask your hotel manager if they can help you print the letter. If you cannot print your letter make sure you have internet access so you can show it on your phone when you go to the Town Hall

Proof of Universal Credit

You can take a screenshot of the portal or evidence of your application. If you have not applied for Universal Credit before you go to the Town Hall tell the staff this when you speak with them.

Your BRP and ARC ID Cards

if you are still waiting for your BRP make sure you do not forget to take your ARC ID card with you!

Evidence of medical conditions

If you have been diagnosed with any medical conditions you should take all letters from the GP, hospital or any other medical professionals.

Eviction notice

If you have received an eviction letter from your accommodation provider you must take it to the Town Hall with you. If you have not received this an eviction notice you should still take all other items in this list.

A pen and paper

To write important information on or complete any paperwork they require. The council may give you a QR code to scan and complete the housing application form online. Scan the code and complete the form while you are inside the Town Hall. You should try to complete all paperwork or forms while you are inside the Town Hall and hand it back in straight away so they can process as quickly as possible.

Professional advice and support

If you need advice after receiving your Refugee status you can contact the below specialist organisations for guidance and support.

General advice and support

Accommodation advice and support

Eviction Notices

If you receive an eviction notice (the letter may say Notice to Quit), and you have not received your BRP card yet, you can request an extension to continue staying in your hotel accommodation until you receive your BRP card.

Follow the below steps to request an extension of your hotel accommodation.

Email template


My name is ADD YOUR NAME



I have just received my Refugee status and have been issued with an eviction notice but I do not have my BRP card yet. I need this ID card to present at the local council to get support with housing and for my Universal Credit application.

Please can this eviction notice be cancelled until I receive my BRP card.

Please confirm you have received this email and confirm the eviction notice has been cancelled.

Thank you,


Example email

National Insurance Number and BRP Card

National Insurance Number

You will need your National Insurance Number to apply for your Universal Credit application and when you look for a job.

You should be able to find your National Insurance Number on the back of your BRD card.

If your National Insurance Number is not on the back of your BRP card you will need to apply.

National Insurance Number application

BRP Card

Information about your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) card

Financial help

Refugee Integration Loan

You can apply for a Refugee Integration Loan to help towards:

  • A rent deposit or rent
  • Household items
  • Education and training for work

This money is an interest free loan, this means you must pay it back. How much your repayments are and how you pay will depend on your circumstances.

If you successfully receive a loan you must tell your Universal Credit advisor.


Turn2us is a website that allow you to check and see if you are eligible to receive any financial grants.

Grants are different to loans, you do not need to repay grant money.

Finding a job

When you register for Universal Credit you may be expected to find a job very soon after your benefits are approved.

To find a job in the UK you will need a CV (resume).

In Luton, you can get help with:

  • Creating a CV
  • Practising interview techniques
  • Applying for jobs

Opening Hours

Monday / Tuesday / Wednesday / Thursday / Friday – 10:00 to 13:00

Saturday / Sunday – Closed

Phone: 01582 726152