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Right of abode

The right of abode is unique to the United Kingdom and is in recognition of Britain's historical role at the heart of the Commonwealth and its colonial past. It takes the form of a stamp in a passport and is considered the next best thing to a British passport. The right can never be lost.

Live and work in the UK without immigration control

The right of abode is available to:

  • A person born in a Commonwealth country that has never ceased to be a member of the Commonwealth before 1 January 1983 (so this excludes South Africa and Pakistan), where one of their parents was born in the United Kingdom (including Northern Ireland and, before the 31 March 1922, the Republic of Ireland).
  • A woman who remained a Commonwealth citizen on 1 January 1983 (so this excludes South Africa and Pakistan) who was married to a British man before 1983.

The right of abode allows the candidate to live and work in the UK and counts time towards naturalisation as a British citizen.


Contact our citizenship team

Phone us (SA): +27 (0) 21 657 2139

Phone us (UK): +44 (0) 20 7759 7581

South Africa

Regent Square
Doncaster Road
Kenilworth 7708
Cape Town
t: +27 (0) 21 657 2120

United Kingdom

Castlewood House
77/91 New Oxford Street
t: +44 (0) 20 7759 7514


Suite 8.06
9 Yarra Street
South Yarra
Melbourne VIC 3141
t: +613 (0) 86 514 500

Hong Kong

Level 1102
The Lee Gardens
33 Hysan Avenue
Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
t: +852 3959 8681

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