Sun | Dec 4, 2016

How do I get this certificate?

Published:Tuesday | August 19, 2014 | 12:00 AM
John Bassie

Dear Mr Bassie,

I read where you discussed the use of a certificate of entitlement. Would you please advise how someone could apply for one of these?

- DL

Dear DL,

A person would normally apply for a certificate of entitlement if he or she needs to prove he/she has a right of abode in the United Kingdom. If a person is successful, this certificate of entitlement will go into his/her passport and, when the passport expires he or she will need to apply for a new certificate of entitlement and pay the requisite fee.

There are different ways of applying for a certificate of entitlement but this depends on whether the person applying is inside or outside of the United Kingdom. It should be noted that a person will not be able to obtain a certificate if he/she already has a British passport or ID card that proves he/she has the right of abode in the United Kingdom.

If a person is applying from within the United Kingdom then he/she will need to apply online or use the form ROA (Right of Abode). It is advisable that a person reads the ROA guide before completing the form. The cost of applying for a certificate of entitlement is PS144 in the United Kingdom. In addition, a person must also be prepared to include certain supporting documents with the application.

The following are the supporting documents that will need to be sent with the application: A valid passport or travel document - if this passport was not issued in the United Kingdom then that document must have immigration stamps to show that the owner of the passport is indeed living there; 2 passport-size photos of the applicant that was taken in the last 6 months; and documents proving that he/she has the right of abode.

An applicant must send original documents and not photocopies. Birth certificates and marriage certificates should be the ones issued at the time of birth or marriage. If they're not originals then the applicant will need to explain why. With respect to the return of the documents, the applicant will need to include a pre-paid self-addressed Royal Mail special delivery or recorded delivery envelope of the right size Otherwise, his/her documents will be returned by 2nd class post. If the applicant needs to have these documents returned urgently then he/she should contact the Nationality centre; however, the centre should not be contacted just to check the progress of the application.

When a person is applying for a certificate of entitlement from outside of the United Kingdom then he/she must apply online unless the applicant is from Cuba, North Korea or Zimbabwe. It should be noted that a person must apply by post using form VAF7 if he or she is from one of these countries. A person must send the correct supporting documents with his/her application. A certificate of entitlement costs PS289 outside the United Kingdom.

In the event that the application for a certificate of entitlement is refused, the application fee will not be refunded. The application may be refused because the applicant does not qualify for right of abode or he/she does not send in enough evidence to support his/her claim. It should be noted that a person can appeal against a rejected application.

I hope this helps.

John S. Bassie is a barrister/attorney-at-law who practises law in Jamaica. He is a justice of the peace, a Supreme Court-appointed mediator, a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, a chartered arbitrator, and a member of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association (UK). Email:lawbassie@yahoo.com