The UK Ancestry Visa allows Commonwealth citizens with a grandparent born in the UK, Channel Islands, or the Isle of Man to live and work in the UK.
You can apply for a UK Ancestry visa if you're a Commonwealth citizen, a British overseas citizen, a British overseas territories citizen, a British national (overseas), or a citizen of Zimbabwe.
If granted, the UK Ancestry Visa allows the holder to work and study in the UK, and to bring dependents with them. After five years on this visa, the holder may be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK, which would allow them to live and work in the UK permanently.
If you need legal advice or help with your UK Ancestry visa application, our experienced immigration lawyer can provide you with the help you need.
Table of Contents
- What is a UK Ancestry visa?
- Rules & Requirements for UK Ancestry visa
- Documents required for a UK Ancestry visa
- Extension of UK Ancestry visa
- Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)
- Your partner and children
- Visa application processing time
- How can our immigration lawyer help you?
Rules & Requirements for UK Ancestry visa
To be eligible for a UK Ancestry visa, applicants must meet the following requirements:
- Commonwealth citizen: The applicant must be a Commonwealth citizen and able to prove it.
- Grandparent born in the UK: The applicant must provide evidence that they have a grandparent who was born in the UK, Channel Islands, or the Isle of Man. This can be done by providing a birth certificate or other relevant documentation.
- Aged 17 or over: The applicant must be aged 17 or over at the time of application.
- Able to work: The applicant must intend to work in the UK and able to support themselves without recourse to public funds.
- English language proficiency: The applicant must be proficient in the English language, which can be demonstrated by passing an approved English language test or by being a national of a majority English-speaking country.
- Maintenance: The applicant must have enough money to support themselves and any dependents without relying on public funds.
- Tuberculosis test: Applicants from certain countries may need to provide a certificate showing that they are free from active tuberculosis.
You must also meet all the other eligibility requirements depending on type of application and your personal circumstances. Please contact us for an initial assessment to determine your eligibility, and to discuss the options.
It's important to note that the requirements for the UK Ancestry visa can be complex and subject to change, so it's recommended that applicants seek professional advice and assistance when preparing their application.
What documents are required for a UK Ancestry visa?
When applying for a UK Ancestry visa, you will need to provide a range of documents to support your application. These may include:
- Valid passport or travel document: You will need to provide a valid passport or travel document as proof of your identity and nationality.
- Evidence of ancestry: You will need to provide evidence of your UK ancestry, such as the full birth certificate of your grandparent, which shows their birth in the UK, Channel Islands, or Isle of Man.
- Evidence of English language proficiency: You will need to provide evidence of your English language proficiency, which can be demonstrated by passing an approved English language test or by being a national of a majority English-speaking country.
- Tuberculosis test results: If you are a resident of a country where tuberculosis is prevalent, you may need to provide a certificate from a UK-approved clinic showing that you are free from active tuberculosis.
- Bank statements: You will need to provide bank statements showing that you have enough money to support yourself and any dependents without relying on public funds.
- Evidence of work: You will need to provide evidence that you intend to work in the UK, such as a job offer or evidence of your qualifications and experience in your field.
- Accommodation details: You will need to provide details of where you will be living in the UK, such as a tenancy agreement or letter from your landlord.
This is a general list of documents. Depending on type of application and your personal circumstances, you might also need to provide additional documents.
Please contact us for an initial assessment to determine your eligibility, and find out the required list of documents in support of your application.
Extension of UK Ancestry visa
If you are already in the UK on a UK Ancestry visa and wish to extend your stay, you may be able to apply for an extension of your visa. The visa is typically issued for up to five years, and apply to extend it for further 5 years.
To be eligible for an extension, you must continue to meet the eligibility requirements for the UK Ancestry visa, including:
- Proof of ancestry: You must continue to provide evidence of your UK ancestry.
- Employment: You must be employed or have a job offer in the UK.
- English language proficiency: You must continue to meet the English language proficiency requirements.
- Financial requirements: You must continue to meet the financial requirements for the visa.
You should apply for an extension before your current visa expires. You must apply online using the relevant application form. It's important to ensure that you provide all the required documents and information to support your application.
Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)
The UK Ancestry visa is valid for up to five years. After this period, you may be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).
It's also important to note that an extension of your UK Ancestry visa may not automatically lead to Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK. If you wish to apply for ILR, you must meet the eligibility requirements for this visa category and apply separately.
Your partner and children
Your partner and children can apply to join you or to stay in the UK as your 'dependants' if they’re eligible. If their application is successful, their visa will end on the same date as yours.
A dependent partner or child is any of the following:
- your husband, wife, civil partner or unmarried partner
- your child under 18 - including if they were born in the UK during your stay
- your child over 18 if they're currently in the UK as your dependant
You'll need to provide evidence of your relationship when you apply.
UK Ancestry visa processing time
You should get a decision on your UK Ancestry visa within 3 weeks when you apply from outside the UK using the standard service. You may be able to use priority service to get your visa faster depending on what country you're in.
How can our immigration lawyer help you?
As part of our immigration services for your immigration application, our expert immigration lawyer will:
- assess your eligibility for the relevant visa type by fully considering your circumstances;
- advise you on the required supporting documents to be submitted in support of your immigration application;
- assess all the documents to ensure that the documents you provide are as per the requirements of the Immigration Rules;
- advise you on strengths and potential weaknesses in your visa application and how you can overcome such weaknesses if any;
- complete the online immigration draft application form to share it with you for cross-checking;
- submit your application online and schedule your biometrics appointments with the relevant commercial partner of the UKVI;
- prepare a detailed cover letter in support of the immigration application explaining in detail how you are meeting all the requirements of the Immigration Rules so that you have the maximum chances of succeeding in your visa application;
- upload all the supporting documents online in support of the immigration application in their correct format and order;
- dealing and responding to any caseworker enquiries or correspondence from the Home Office caseworker for any further documents or information concerning your pending immigration application;
- do all the follow-up work on your immigration application until a decision is received from the Home Office UKVI.