The Right of Abode in the UK and Certificate of Entitlement

To have the Right of Abode means that a person is allowed to live or work in the UK without any immigration restrictions. Therefore, no visas are required to enter the UK and there is also no time limit for how long the person may spend in the UK. All British citizens have the Right of Abode and most Commonwealth citizens are also entitled to the Right of Abode. The Right of Abode is a statutory right which a person either has or does not have; under The Immigration Act 1971 and the British Nationality Act 1981 (as amended), and it can be taken away at any time.

Commonwealth Citizens Right of Abode (ROA) in the UK

Section 2(1)(b) of the British Nationality Act 1981 outlines that Commonwealth citizens who had the Right of Abode before the 1 January 1983, as long as they had not ceased to be a Commonwealth citizen at any time, are eligible for the Right of Abode. Commonwealth citizens usually need to apply for a Certificate of Entitlement in order to demonstrate their Right of Abode. To obtain the Right of Abode, a Commonwealth citizen must either;

  • have had a parent who, at the time of their birth or legal adoption, was a citizen of the UK and Colonies and obtained their citizenship by being born in the UK; or
  • have been married to a man with the right of abode.

If the Commonwealth citizen has acquired the Right of Abode through marriage prior to 1983 to a man with the Right of Abode, the Certificate of Entitlement will not be granted if either another living wife or widow of the same man is, or has at any time since the marriage been, in the UK otherwise than as a visitor, an illegal entrant or on temporary admission, or if another living wife or widow of the same man has been granted a Certificate of Entitlement or entry clearance on account of the marriage.

However, these restrictions do not apply if the Commonwealth citizen had entered the UK as a wife before 1 August 1988 or had been in the UK at any time since the marriage, and at that time she was the only wife of the man to have entered, or been cleared for entry to, the UK. Since the 1 January 1983 the only way to acquire the Right of Abode has been by becoming a British citizen.

South African or Pakistani nationals do not qualify for the Right of Abode because these countries had left the Commonwealth before 1983 and subsequently re-joined afterwards.

The Certificate of Entitlement to the Right of Abode (ROA) in the UK

A Certificate of Entitlement is a sticker which is placed in a valid non-British passport. It establishes proof of Right of Abode for UK immigration control purposes and allows the Applicant in to the UK without any difficulty or restrictions. Dual nationals are also entitled to a Certificate of Entitlement.

Holders of a British passport or who are British subjects with the Right of Abode in the UK will not qualify for a Certificate of Entitlement. A person who already has a valid Certificate of Entitlement in another foreign passport will also not qualify for a further Certificate of Entitlement. Once the current foreign passport has expired, a new application for the Certificate of Entitlement may then be made.

Using Legal Representation to Apply for the Certificate of Entitlement to the Right of Abode (ROA) in the UK

Legal representatives, such as our specialist immigration and visa law firm, are qualified to advise you on immigration law and your immigration status. It is possible to instruct an immigration and visa legal representative to submit a Right of Abode application.

Caseworkers at the Home Office are trained to reject applications which are improperly prepared, for example by failing to provide the correct supporting evidence. In order to ensure your application succeeds, all necessary documents must be provided.

This can be a significant administrative task and you will need to submit the correct documentary evidence. The UK Immigration Rules are complex and a legal representative can help ensure that your application meets the Immigration Rules.

Successful Certificate of Entitlement to the Right of Abode (ROA) Application

Our team of solicitors and barristers are specialist immigration lawyers who act in your best interest. We offer a client-tailored approach from the outset. From the very first meeting, we will be able to advise you in respect of your immigration status and the merit of your visa and immigration application before your matter even reaches the Home Office UK Visa & Immigration department. We can assist you with the preparation of your immigration and visa application and ensure that you meet all the requirements of the relevant rules.

LEXVISA Solicitors and Barristers are based in the legal epicentre of London, just across the road from the Royal Courts of Justice in order to ensure we get the best results for our clients.  We are minutes away from the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal, the Royal Courts of Justice and other central London courts.

Preparation is the key to successful immigration applications. Our UK immigration and visa solicitors are here to guide you through the complex immigration rules and requirements. If you wish to meet one of our lawyers, please call our Immigration Team so we can assess your case and arrange your legal consultation.

Contact our London immigration solicitors on 02071830570 or complete our contact form.

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