UK Immigration - Right of Abode

The UK Right of Abode refers to a Certificate of Entitlement which entitles a person to live and work in the United Kingdom without restriction. A UK Right of Abode visa holder can enter or leave the UK free of immigration control. They can use British passport holder gates at UK ports and airports.

Dual citizens are also entitled to enter the country without hindrance as though they were British Citizens; however, they may have to have a stamp in their foreign passports concerning their dual citizenship.

Over the years this visa option has become redundant. This is because of change in immigration laws. Eligible applicants are in turn applying directly for an Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK or permanent residency through British naturalization. There is no need for a visa extension in this case.

Individuals already holding a British passport or identity card, which describes them as a UK citizen or as a British subject, are not qualified to receive certificates of entitlement after 21 December 2006.


With a Right of Abode, an immigrant is free from British immigration control. This means that a holder does not need to gain permission from an Immigration Officer in order to enter or leave the country. Furthermore, they can commence living and working in the UK without any restrictions.

Unlike short-term UK visit visas, this path to UK imposes no work restrictions, and unlike the Highly Skilled Migrant Program (HSMP), this option does not require points based assessment (PBS) to qualify. Furthermore, they can undertake any business venture without the need for creating jobs within the country.


No time restrictions are imposed on individuals migrating to UK via this path. The certificates remain valid for the life of the passport.


British citizens automatically have this right in place. Individuals with dual citizenships, i.e. people who are citizens of more than one country, are required to get a certificate placed on their passport. This right may be applicable to individuals from a Commonwealth country and they are without dual citizenship.

Applicants from Commonwealth countries qualify under the following circumstances:

  • They are UK citizens.
  • They were born before 1st January 1983, and have a parent who was born in Great Britain.
  • They are a woman from a Commonwealth country, married to a person who belongs to the above two categories, before 1st January 1983.

(Note: Pakistan and South Africa were included in the Commonwealth after 1st January 1983; therefore, citizens of these countries do not qualify)

Documents to be produced in order to qualify are either of the below mentioned:

  • A UK passport, which describes you as a British citizen or as a citizen of the UK colony.
  • A foreign or Commonwealth passport which contains a certificate of entitlement.


This visa class allows spouse and dependant immigration. Dependants of qualifying individuals can enter the UK and settle down. They can apply for a UK Entry Clearance from their home country. However, they must enter the country with qualifying person in this class. And before expiry of their grant of leave, they must apply for an extension in order to continue their stay.

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