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UK Right of Abode
Right of Abode
 
What does the right of abode mean?
The right of abode means that you are entirely free from United Kingdom immigration control; you do not need to obtain the permission of an immigration officer to enter the United Kingdom and you may live and work without restriction.
 
Who has the right of abode?
All British citizens and certain Commonwealth citizens, and citizens of certain other countries have the right of abode.
 
How do I know if I am a British citizen with the right of abode?
You will have become a British citizen on 1 January 1983 (the date on which the British Nationality Act 1981 came into force) and therefore have the right of abode in the United Kingdom if immediately prior to that date you:
  • were a citizen of the United Kingdom and colonies and had your citizenship by being born, adopted, naturalised or registered in the United Kingdom
  • were a citizen of the United Kingdom and colonies with a parent* who at the time of your birth or legal adoption was a citizen of the United Kingdom and colonies, or that parent’s parent* was a citizen of the United Kingdom and colonies at the time of your parent’s birth or legal adoption by being born, adopted, naturalised or registered in the United Kingdom
  • were a citizen of the United Kingdom and colonies who had been ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom for a continuous period of five years or more and during that period you were not in breach of the immigration laws and at the end of that period you did not have any time limit attached to your stay
  • were a citizen of the United Kingdom and colonies and were then, or had been, the wife of a man with the right of abode
 
You will also be a British citizen if you:
  • were born in the United Kingdom after 1 January 1983 and one of your parents* was then a British citizen or lawfully settled in the United Kingdom
  • were born outside the United Kingdom after 1 January 1983 and at the time of your birth one parent* was a British citizen other than by descent
  • were registered or naturalised as a British citizen after 1 January 1983
*Parent includes the mother but not the father of an illegitimate child.
 
How do I know if I am a Commonwealth citizen with the right of abode?
You will have the right of abode as a Commonwealth citizen if immediately prior 1 January 1983:
  • you were a Commonwealth citizen with a parent* who at the time of your birth or legal adoption was a citizen of the United Kingdom and colonies and had his/her citizenship by being born in the United Kingdom
  • you were a Commonwealth citizen and married to a man with the right of abode
  • Pakistan and South Africa were not part of the Commonwealth prior to this date and their citizens are not entitled to the right of abode.
*Parent includes the mother but not the father of an illegitimate child.
 
How do I prove that I have the right of abode?
You must produce either:
  • a United Kingdom passport describing you as a British citizen or as a citizen of the United Kingdom and colonies who has the right of abode
  • a certificate of entitlement certifying that you have the right of abode.
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