Move to the UK

Explained: Right of abode in the UK

One of the terms that one often encounters in the UK immigration rules is the so-called ‘right of abode.’ But, what is this so-called ‘right of abode’?

Move to the UK

In plain layman’s terms, it means that one has the right to live and work in the UK without any immigration restrictions. The right of abode is a statutory right, which a person either has or does not have.

There are two categories of people who currently have the right of abode in terms of the UK Immigration rules:

  • British citizens,
  • Commonwealth citizens who had the right of abode immediately before 1 January 1983 and who have not, since then, ceased to be Commonwealth citizens.

In order to prove the ‘right of abode,’ a person is required to present one of the below forms of evidence;

  • A UK passport describing them as a British citizen,
  • A UK passport describing them as a British subject with the right of abode in the UK, or
  • A certificate of entitlement to the right of abode.

Certificate of Entitlement

Persons who hold British citizenship and would like to travel to the United Kingdom but don’t hold a current valid British passport can apply for the ‘certificate of entitlement.’ The certificate of entitlement is perfect for applicants who have never held a British passport before, who are eligible for one, but however, don’t have the means or time to apply for the British passport at present.

It is important here to keep in mind that the certificate of entitlement holds the same status as a British passport, but only permits entrance into the United Kingdom as a British citizen.

The certificate of entitlement is in the form of a visa endorsed into your current valid passport (Non-British passport). The advantage of applying for this is that it can be done via the regular visa application routes in your home country.

Do note, however, if you are in fact eligible for a British passport and have never held one, we would advise that you apply for this as your first option, as this is, of course, the best option. However, the certificate of entitlement is an alternative route available to British citizens who have never held a British passport before but cannot apply for one due to inadequate documents or due to time restraints.

Please note that at the time of publishing this, all of the above information is correct. UK Immigration rules change and evolves regularly. Applying for your UK visa, can be time-consuming, stressful and feel overwhelming at times. Why not arrange a consultation with Breytenbachs and allow us to ease the burden and help you with the application? We offer a professional, friendly and exemplary service that will put your mind at ease and ensure that the application process is smooth and efficient!