right of abode

Apply for a certificate of entitlement

1: Overview 2: Commonwealth citizens
3: Apply for a certificate of entitlement

You can apply for a certificate of entitlement to prove you have right of abode in the UK. It goes in your passport.

You need to apply for a new certificate when your passport expires.

How you apply for a certificate of entitlement depends on whether you’re inside or outside the UK.

You can’t get a certificate if you already have a British passport or a valid certificate of entitlement in another foreign passport.

Apply in the UK

Use form ROA and send it to UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). Read the guidance before you apply.

You must also include supporting documents with your application.

Department 1
UKVI
The Capital
New Hall Place
Liverpool
L3 9PP

A certificate of entitlement costs £272 in the UK.

You’ll get a decision within 6 months from when you’ve sent your completed application and supporting documents.

Supporting documents

You’ll need to send:

  • your valid passport or travel document – if it wasn’t issued in the UK it must have immigration stamps to show you’re living here, or you must have a previous right of abode certificate
  • 2 passport-size photos of you taken in the last 6 months
  • documents proving you have right of abode – read the guide to find out which ones you need

You must send original documents, not photocopies. If you don’t send the birth certificate or marriage certificate issued when you were born or got married, you need to explain why.

Returning your documents

Include a pre-paid self-addressed Royal Mail special delivery or recorded delivery envelope of the right size, otherwise your documents will be returned by 2nd class post.

Contact the nationality contact centre if you need your documents back urgently. Do not contact it to check the progress of your application.

Nationality contact centre nationalityenquiries@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

Apply from outside the UK

You must apply online using the ‘Apply for a UK visa’ service.

A certificate of entitlement costs £472 outside the UK.

If you’re from North Korea

You must apply by post using form VAF7.

Read the guidance notes before filling in the form.

You must send the correct supporting documents with your application.

If your application is refused

Your application fee won’t be refunded if your application is refused because you don’t qualify for right of abode or you don’t send in enough evidence to support your claim.

Appeals

You’ll be told how you can appeal if your application is rejected.

You won’t have a right of appeal if your rejected application was received on or after 6 April 2015.

You can apply to have your application reconsidered if you think UKVI didn’t make the decision in line with the law or their policy.

Commonwealth citizens

1: Overview 2: Commonwealth citizens
3: Apply for a certificate of entitlement

You may have right of abode in the UK either because of your parents or because you are or were married to someone with right of abode.

Parents

You have right of abode if all the following apply:

  • one of your parents was born in the UK and a citizen of the United Kingdom and colonies when you were born or adopted
  • you were a Commonwealth citizen on 31 December 1982
  • you didn’t stop being a Commonwealth citizen (even temporarily) at any point after 31 December 1982

Marriage

You can only get right to abode through marriage if you’re a female Commonwealth citizen.

You must have:

  • been married to someone with right of abode before 1 January 1983
  • not stopped being a Commonwealth citizen (even temporarily) at any point after 31 December 1982

You usually won’t have right of abode if the person you were married to has another living wife or widow who:

  • is in the UK, or has been in the UK at any time since her marriage (unless they entered the country illegally, came as a visitor or only have temporary permission to stay)
  • has a certificate of entitlement to right of abode or permission to enter the UK because of her marriage

However, you may still have right of abode if:

  • you entered the UK while married and before 1 August 1988, even if your husband has other wives in the UK
  • you’ve been in the UK since your marriage and at that time were your husband’s only wife to have legally entered the UK or been given permission to do so

Prove you have right of abode in the UK

1: Overview 2: Commonwealth citizens
3: Apply for a certificate of entitlement

Having right of abode means you’re allowed to live or work in the UK without any immigration restrictions, which means:

  • you won’t need a visa to come to the UK
  • there’s no limit on the length of time you can spend in the country

All British citizens automatically have right of abode in the UK.

Some Commonwealth citizens may also have right of abode.

You can prove you have right of abode if you have a UK passport describing you as a British citizen or British subject with right of abode.

Otherwise you need to apply for a ‘certificate of entitlement’.

There has been no change to the rights and status of EU nationals in the UK, and UK nationals in the EU, as a result of the referendum.