The right of abode is a statutory right which a person either has or does not have, depending on whether the conditions in the Immigration Act 1971 act are satisfied and subject to possible exercise of the power to remove the right of abode in section 2A of the 1971 act. Similarly, Residence Permit UK can be achieved.
As per the Immigration Act 1971, the British Nationality Act 1981, and the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002. In specific, section 1(1) of the 1971 Act provides that:
“all those with the right of abode in the United Kingdom shall be free to live in, and to come and go into & from, the United Kingdom without let or hindrance except such as may be required under and in accordance with the Act to enable their right to be established or as may be otherwise lawfully imposed on any person”.
This means that section 1(1) confers a complete exemption from UK immigration control for individuals with the right of abode, though subject to proof of the right. It can be accomplished with suitable UK Immigration advice.
1. What is right of abode?
UK Right of abode allows an individual to live and work in the UK without any immigration restrictions, without any requirement for a visa or permission to come to the UK and without any limit on the time a person can spend in the country.
2. Who is eligible for UK right of abode?
As per Section 2 of the British Nationality Act 1981, the categories of people who are entitled to the right of abode in the UK as follows:
- A British citizen, or
- A Commonwealth citizen who immediately before the introduction of the 1981 Act was a Commonwealth citizen having the right of abode in the United Kingdom and has not ceased to be a Commonwealth citizen in the meanwhile.
All British citizens inevitably have a right of abode in the UK, together with certain Commonwealth citizens who were born before 1983.
3. What is the use of the right of abode?
The right of abode allows an individual to live and work in the UK without restrictions. It also allows sponsoring family members to join in the UK (subject to the requirements in the immigration rules). However, to exercise that right, you are required to prove your status in the UK.
4. How long does the right of abode be valid for?
Right of abode through British citizenship lasts as long as the citizenship is retained by the individual. There can be loss of British Citizenship through formal deprivation proceedings or by voluntary renunciation. Moreover, the Right of abode through Commonwealth citizenship is permanent as the person remains a citizen of a Commonwealth country (country listed in Schedule 1 of the British Nationality Act 1981). If the country shuns the Commonwealth and rejoins, or they lose and restore their citizenship of it, the person will no longer have right of abode. Furthermore, the right of abode of a non-British citizen can be revoked by the Home Secretary. The individual is granted a limited right of appeal.
5. How do I prove my right of abode?
A British citizen (or British subject with right of abode) can prove right of abode by producing either a UK passport or a non-UK passport containing a certificate of entitlement. However, a Commonwealth citizen with the right of abode can prove that status by producing a current passport containing a certificate of entitlement. It is pertinent to note that apart from the above no other form of evidence would suffice at a port of entry to the UK.
6. Can my certificate of entitlement be revoked?
Any official representing Home Office (including an official in Her Majesty’s Passport Office), any Border Force officer, any consular officer or any entry clearance officer where it is discovered that the holder is no longer eligible can revoke.
A certificate of entitlement (whether issued before or after 21 December 2006) will otherwise cease to affect the expiry of the passport or travel document that it is fixed in.
7. Can I apply online for my certificate of entitlement?
An electronic application can be made now, and all original documents are to be processed via your local post. Once the online application is submitted you will then need to book an appointment at a visa application centre. Alternatively, should the applicant does not apply online they can also fill in the ROA from the UK govt. website and then post the form required fee along with the supporting documents.
8. How much would the certificate of entitlement cost?
A certificate of entitlement is worth £372 in the UK.
9. Can I renew my certificate of entitlement?
An individual can make a fresh application to the Home Office or UK High Commission and adequate evidence must be submitted to support the claim to right of abode, this is done even if a certificate was issued previously.
10. Can I get right of abode through my parents?
You have right of abode if the following essentials are met:
- Among your parents, if one was born in the UK and a citizen of the United Kingdom and colonies when you were born or adopted
- You have the status of Commonwealth citizen on 31 December 1982
- You did not cease to be a Commonwealth citizen (even temporarily) at any point after 31 December 1982
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