What is 'Right of Abode'?

A person with the right of abode can live, work and study in the United Kingdom without any immigration restrictions, like a UK born British citizen.

Today, right of abode is only held by:

  • a British citizen, or
  • a Commonwealth citizen who on 31 Dec 1982 had right of abode and has since remained a Commonwealth citizen

This page is focused on Commonwealth citizens in the second category, a residual status reluctantly kept for historic reasons, with complex rules which few immigration practitioners understand. A Commonwealth citizen born before 1983:

  • whose father or mother was born in the UK, Channel Islands or the Isle of Man, or before 31 March 1922 any part of Ireland, or,
  • who was before 1983 married to a man in the category above or a UK citizen with right of abode (e.g. UK born grandparent),
  • who was before 1949 married to a man in the category above or a British subject with a UK born grandparent,

and who has remained since 1 January 1983 a Commonwealth citizen, would today have right of abode.

It does not matter if the husband later died or the marriage ended. Commonwealth countries include Australia, Canada, India, Jamaica, Kenya, New Zealand, Zimbabwe. For the above purposes Pakistan and South Africa do not qualify.

Right of abode can be evidenced in a non-British passport with a “Certificate of Entitlement” sticker. This used to be called a “Certificate of Patriality”.

In some cases a person with right of abode is eligable to become a British citizen by registration under laws enacted after 2001.

Passportia can find out if you have right of abode (or qualify for British citizenship), prepare and submit your application and get you a Certificate of Entitlement (or British citizenship and a British Passport) with the best possible chances and least hassle. Due to recent changes in the law, people who have right of abode might now qualify for British citizenship.

How Passportia Works

Our preliminary service entails completing a comprehensive evaluation and report, before preparing any application for the relevant authorities. Here, we ask you, the client, to provide necessary details of your ancestry for us to determine your eligibility within 10 working days.

In the event of the evaluation yielding a positive outcome, we will email the comprehensive report plus a proposal and quotation to you.  Our services aim to make the process of application as simple as possible. You will be working closely with our dedicated British caseworking department to ensure the success of your submission. 

As part of our representation, you will be issued with a personalised document checklist, and we will handle all the administration. Following the decision by the relevant government department, you would receive your citizenship certificate and/or passport.

Wait no more and start by completing the form below!


  • A citizenship law specialist
  • Successful with complex claims
  • Supporting multiple countries
  • Fast, flexible and precise

About Passportia

This morning Julian and I attended the British Consulate in Sydney and became British itizens - thank you so much for all your help in getting this done for us. We could never have worked our way through the mire to do it ourselves - you and your Company were a God-send!

F.M. & J.M. - Sydney, Australia, 2014