Sections

Right of abode in the UK

If you wish to apply for a visa in this category then our team at Hunter Stone Law will be able to guide and assist you throughout every step of the process. In order to qualify for this visa you would have to meet the requirement of the relevant section of the Immigration Rules. However we have attempted to simplify the requirements below.

Having right of abode means you’re allowed to live or work in the UK without any immigration restrictions (ie you won’t need a visa to come to the UK and there’s no limit on the length of time you can spend in the country).   All British citizens automatically have right of abode in the UK. Some Commonwealth citizens may also have right of abode. 

You can prove you have right of abode if you have a UK passport describing you as a British citizen or British subject with right of abode.  Otherwise you’ll need to apply for a ‘certificate of entitlement’.

Commonwealth citizens

You may have right of abode in the UK either because of your parents or because you were married.

Parents

You have right of abode if the following apply:

  • 1 of your parents was born in the UK and was a citizen of the United Kingdom and colonies when you were born or adopted
  • you were a Commonwealth citizen on 31 December 1982
  • you didn’t stop being a Commonwealth citizen (even temporarily) at any point after 31 December 1982

Marriage

You can only get right to abode through marriage if you’re a female Commonwealth citizen and you are or were married to someone with right to abode.

You must also have:

  • been married to them before 1 January 1983
  • not stopped being a Commonwealth citizen (even temporarily) at any point after 31 December 1982

You won’t have right of abode if you’re a woman and the person you were married to has another living wife or widow who:

  • is in the UK, or has been in the UK at any time since her marriage (unless they entered the country illegally, as a visitor or with temporary permission to stay)
  • has been given a certificate of entitlement to right of abode or permission to enter the UK because of her marriage

However, you may still have right of abode if either:

  • you entered the UK as a wife before 1 August 1988, even if other wives of the same man are in the UK
  • you’ve been in the UK at any time since your marriage and at that time were that man’s only wife to have entered the UK or have been given permission to do so

Apply for a certificate of entitlement

You can apply for a certificate of entitlement to prove you have right of abode in the UK.  It goes in your passport. When your passport expires you’ll need to apply for a new certificate of entitlement and pay the fee again.

Supporting documents

  • You’ll need to send the following documents:
  • your valid passport or travel document - if it wasn’t issued in the UK it must have immigration stamps to show you’re living here
  • 2 passport-size photos of you taken in the last 6 months
  • documents proving you have right of abode

You must provide original documents, not photocopies. Birth certificates and marriage certificates should be the ones issued at the time of birth or marriage. If they’re not, you need to explain why.