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Windrush Scheme

What is the Windrush Scheme?

The Windrush Scheme enables Commonwealth citizens, their children, and some other long term residents of the UK to obtain documentation confirming their status free of charge.

How it works

The Windrush taskforce will consider whether you are already British and if so, will provide documentation confirming this.

If you are not British, you may be granted British Citizenship if you meet the requirements.

Otherwise, the taskforce will confirm if you have the right to live permanently in the UK.

The taskforce will not issue British passports.

Commonwealth citizens settled in the UK before 1 January 1973

Commonwealth citizens settled in the UK before 1 January 1973 who have been continuously resident in the UK since arrival, or who have the right of abode, can apply for:

  • a document confirming that you are already a British citizen
  • British citizenship
  • a document confirming that you have the right of abode
  • a document confirming you have the right to live permanently in the UK

Commonwealth citizens settled in the UK before 1 January 1973 whose settlement status lapsed because they left the UK for more than 2 years and are now lawfully in the UK and have strong ties with the UK can apply for:

  • settlement (indefinite leave to remain)

Commonwealth citizens currently outside of the UK who were settled in the UK before 1 January 1973 but do not have a document confirming their Right of Abode or settled status, or whose settled status has lapsed because they left the UK for a period of more than 2 years, can apply for:

  • a document confirming that you have the right of abode
  • a Returning Resident visa

Children of commonwealth citizens whose parents settled in the UK before 1 January 1973

Children of Commonwealth citizens who were born in the UK or arrived in the UK before they were 18 years old and have been continuously resident in the UK since arrival and their parent was settled before 1 January 1973 or has the Right of Abode (or met these criteria but is now a British Citizen) can apply for:

  • a document confirming that you are already a British citizen
  • British citizenship
  • a document confirming you have the right of abode in the UK
  • a document confirming you have the right to live permanently in the UK

Anyone who arrived in the UK before 31 December 1988

A person of any nationality who arrived in the UK before 31 December 1988 and has lived continuously in the UK since arrival can apply for:

  • a document confirming that you are already a British citizen
  • a document confirming you have the right of abode in the UK
  • a document confirming you already have the right to live permanently in the UK

How to apply

Applications from within the UK should be made on The Windrush Scheme (UK) paper application form.

If you are applying from outside the UK you must use the online application form.

There is no fee payable.

Right to work checks

If you fall within one of the Windrush Scheme categories and cannot prove your right to work in the UK, you should ask your employer to contact the Employer Checking Service.

The Employer Checking Service will notify the Windrush taskforce, who should help you.

RCN support

The RCN Immigration Advice Service is here to help you. Contact us if you require our support.

Further information