Right of Abode


Having right of abode means you’re allowed to live or work in the UK without any immigration restrictions, which means:
• you will not need a visa to come to the UK
• 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.

Commonwealth citizens right of abode

The earliest you can apply is 3 months before you travel.
Example You can apply from 16 March if you plan to travel on 15 June.
You should get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks when you apply from outside the UK.

You have right of abode if all the following apply:
• one of your parents was born in the UK and a citizen of the United Kingdom and colonies when you were born or adopted
• you were a Commonwealth citizen on 31 December 1982
• you did not stop being a Commonwealth citizen (even temporarily) at any point after 31 December 1982

You can only get right to abode through marriage if you’re a female Commonwealth citizen.
You must have:
• been married to someone with right of abode before 1 January 1983
• not stopped being a Commonwealth citizen (even temporarily) at any point after 31 December 1982
You usually will not have right of abode if 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, came as a visitor or only have temporary permission to stay)
• has 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:
• you entered the UK while married and before 1 August 1988, even if your husband has other wives in the UK
• you’ve been in the UK since your marriage and at that time were your

You can apply for a certificate of entitlement to prove you have right of abode in the UK. It goes in your passport.
You need to apply for a new certificate when your passport expires.
You cannot get a certificate if you already have a British passport or a valid certificate of entitlement in another foreign passport.

Right of Abode (RoA) – Applying for a certificate of entitlement to the right of abode

• You must provide your valid passport or travel document. Passports issued
abroad which are being submitted for an application made in the UK must
contain immigration stamps showing that the passport holder is resident in the
• You must submit 2 passport size photographs taken no more than 6 months
before the date of application.
• You must also provide the documents needed to establish that you have a right
of abode.
• If you are currently using a different name than the name on your official
documents you must provide documentary evidence of the change of name,
such as your marriage certificate, adoption certificate or change of name deed.

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