Right of Abode is another criteria for permanently moving to the UK even without any job or employment offer. The term “Right of Abode” is unique to the UK, in recognition of Britain’s historical role at the heart of the Commonwealth and its colonial history. In some circumstances, it appears as a visa category. Right of Abode gives right to permanent residency in the UK for those who have a British parent (especially the father). In this article, you will learn all about UK Right of Abode (RoA), qualifications and eligibility for Certificate of Entitlement and Right of Abode, and the step by step application process.
What is Right of Abode (RoA)?
Right of Abode is usually in form of a stamp in your existing (non-British) passport with a “Certificate of Entitlement” sticker (it was formally called “Certificate of Patriality”), and it gives you the full right to live, work and study in the United Kingdom without any immigration restriction. This means that you live in the UK and enjoy full UK nationality benefits, just like a UK born British citizen. Also, you will not need a visa to come to the UK, and there is no limit on the length time of your stay in the UK.
This right of abode can never be revoked, and can never expire, even when your passport expires. Right of Abode can also be summarized as the “complete exemption from UK immigration control”. Note that a person with right of abode is still subject to checks to confirm that he or she genuinely has this right.
- Every non-British citizen who has right of abode is usually issued a formal document called a “certificate of entitlement”. This document acts as a proof of possession of the right of abode. So even if you misplace or lose your passport, you can also prove that you have the right of abode with this document.
- Also, if you have a UK or British passport which describes you as a British citizen, or as a British subject with a valid right of abode in the UK, you do not qualify for a certificate of entitlement in another foreign passport.
- Eligible applicants in the UK are issued the certificate of entitlement by the Home Office. But eligible applicants living abroad must apply through UK visas. In both cases, a processing fee is charged. In the UK, a certificate of entitlement costs £372. For more details, check out this guide: Apply for a Certificate of Entitlement.
- A certificate of entitlement expires on the date the passport or travel document to which it is attached expires. If you renew your passport and wish to have a certificate of entitlement placed in it, you will need to make a fresh application.
- Also, certificates of entitlement issued after 21 December 2006 may be revoked by any Home Office official, an immigration officer, consular officer or entry officer if it is confirmed that the holder is no longer eligible for the certificate.
Qualifications and Eligibility for Certificate of Entitlement
The following categories of people qualify for the Certificate of Entitlement to the Right of Abode:
- Commonwealth citizens, either by birth, adoption or registration.
- Legally adopted child (by a UK citizen by birth) before 1st January 1983.
- A woman who married a man (who is a UK citizen by birth and has the right of abode) prior to 1st January 1983.
- A child born before 1st January 1983 by a mother who is born in the UK, or born to a father who is a UK citizen by birth.
Qualifications and Eligibility to Right of Abode
The following categories of people are eligible to Right of Abode:
- Citizen of the UK and Colonies; born, adopted, naturalized or registered in the UK or Islands.
- A citizen of the UK and Colonies who was born to, or adopted by a parent who had the right of abode (at the time of the citizen’s birth).
- Citizen of the UK and Colonies ordinarily resided in the UK for any continuous period of 5 years before December 1982.
- A Commonwealth citizen (non-citizen of the UK and Colonies) whose parent or adoptive parent at the time of the person’s birth was a citizen of UK and Colonies by birth. For more details, check this guide: Commonwealth Citizens who have Right of Abode.
- A female citizen of UK and Colonies married to a man who has right of abode at any time before 31st December 1982.
- Female Commonwealth citizen married to a man who has right of abode at any time before 31st December 1982.
How to Apply for UK Right of Abode
Here are the application steps:
First create your application at the Gov.UK website.
Once you have completed the application, the next thing is to book an appointment at a visa application center, which in most cases be in your city.
- Make sure all the documents are in A4 size.
- Also make sure you separate your documents so as to allow the barcode scanners correctly sort your paperwork.
- For documents smaller or larger than A4, photocopy them into A4 sized paper, including the pages of any previous passports.
- Make sure none of your documents have pins, staples, or clips before submitting them.
- If any of your documents is torn, crumpled, or heavily creased documents, simply photocopy them onto A4 sized paper before you submit them. This is because torn, crumpled or heavily creased documents cannot be scanned.
- Do not laminate any of your documents.
After scanning your documents, next is to run your biometric capture (photograph and inkless fingerprints). For the delivery of your documents, you have two options to choose from: to collect your documents in person at the visa application center, or they are delivered to you by post. This document will serve as your passport.
For more details about certificates of entitlement, right of abode and how to apply, check out these guides: Right of Abode (RoA) – Applying for a Certificate of Entitlement to the Right of Abode and Prove you have right of abode in the UK.
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You have learnt all about Right of Abode in the UK, qualifications and eligibility for Certificate of Entitlement and Right of Abode, and the step by step application process. Note that with right of abode, you are treated like a British Citizen, because by rights or decent, you are. So your passport no longer needs to be stamped when you re-enter the country. Also with Right of Abode, you can go ahead and apply for British citizenship and a British passport at once, without having to wait like if you were on an ancestry visa. It is also very important you know that in this case, you won’t be able to pass your ancestry on to any of your children, but your children will still be able to obtain an ancestry visa through their grandparent (your parent).
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