Commonwealth Citizens (Right of Abode)

According to British nationality law, a Commonwealth citizen is a British citizen, British overseas citizen, British overseas territories citizen, Overseas British national, British subject or national of a country listed in schedule 3 of the 1981 British Nationality Act. All these citizens have the right to reside in the UK. Commonwealth citizens have this right if they have been a citizen prior to 1st January 1983. With Right of Abode, Commonwealth citizens are exempt from UK immigration rules and therefore do not need to gain permission to enter the UK. They can live and work in the UK without any restrictions.


A Commonwealth citizen has Right of Abode in the UK provided they fulfil the following conditions:

They have a parent who at the time of the applicant’s birth or legal adoption was a UK citizen by birth.
If the applicant was or is the wife of a man with the Right of Abode in the UK.

Pakistan and South Africa were not part of the Commonwealth nations prior to 1st January 1983; hence their citizens do not have the Right of Abode in the UK.


Commonwealth citizens enjoy the following benefits with the Right of Abode in the UK:

Exemption from immigration control.
Commonwealth citizens with a UK born grandparent are admitted into the UK for 5 years after which they are granted with Indefinite Leave to Remain.
Commonwealth citizens between the ages 18 to 30 are permitted to stay in the UK for a working holiday for a period of 2 years.
These citizens unlike the non-European Economic Area nationals do not require registering with the UK police while they are in the UK.
The right to vote.
Able to seek employment in any area without restriction.
Eligible to receive consular assistance.