This is a UK immigration status that gives you unrestricted right to enter and live in the UK.
Having right of abode means you’re allowed to live or work in the UK without any immigration restrictions, which means:
- you won’t need a visa to come to the UK
- there’s no limit on the length of time you can spend in the country
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 need to apply for a ‘certificate of entitlement’.
You may have right of abode in the UK either because of your parents or because you are or were married to someone with right of abode.
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 didn’t 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 won’t 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 husband’s only wife to have legally entered the UK or been given permission to do so
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.
Your application fee won’t be refunded if your application is refused because you don’t qualify for right of abode or you don’t send in enough evidence to support your claim.
You can appeal if your application is rejected.