International work permits OISC ILPA

What does the right of abode mean?


The right of abode means that you are entirely free from United Kingdom Immigration Control. In other words, you do not need to get permission from an Immigration Officer to enter the UK and you can live and work in the UK without restriction.

Who has the right of abode?


All British citizens have the right of abode in the UK, along with certain other Commonwealth citizens, and citizens of certain other countries.

How do I know if I am a Commonwealth citizen with the right of abode?



You will have the right of abode as a Commonwealth citizen if you have been a citizen of a Commonwealth country up to 1 January 1983 and, immediately before that date:

  • you were a Commonwealth citizen with a parent who, at the time of your birth or legal adoption, was a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies and had their citizenship by being born in the United Kingdom, or
  • you were a Commonwealth citizen and are, or were, the wife of a man with the right of abode in the United Kingdom.
  • Pakistan and South Africa were not part of the Commonwealth before 1 January 1983 and their citizens have no right of abode under this provision.


How do I prove that I have the right of abode?


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