Right of abode in the UK means that you have the unconditional right to live and work in the UK without being subject to any immigration restrictions. All British citizens automatically have right of abode, as well as some Commonwealth citizens.
The right of abode for Commonwealth citizens
You will have right of abode in the UK if you are able to satisfy all of the following conditions:
- One parent was born in the UK and a UK citizen at the time of your birth
- You can show that you were a Commonwealth citizen on 31 December 1982
- You never ceased to be a Commonwealth citizen at any point and for any period of time since 31 December 1982
Women who are Commonwealth citizens may have right of abode through marriage, if you can satisfy the following conditions:
- You have been married to somebody who has a right of abode since before 1 January 1983
- You must have never ceased to be a Commonwealth citizen for any period of time after 31 December 1982
If your spouse has another wife who is still alive, you will not usually have the right of abode if she is living or has lived in the UK since their marriage and holds a certificate of entitlement to right of abode. There are certain exceptions, however, and you may still be able to claim right of abode if you were married and arrived in the UK before 1 August 1988, have remained ever since and were your spouse’s only wife to legally enter the country at that time.