UK Ancestry Visa

If you are a Bangladeshi national who has a grandparent born in the UK, you may be eligible for a UK Ancestry visa. This visa will allow you to live and work in the UK, and can eventually lead to indefinite leave to permanently settle in the UK.

For more information on the UK Ancestry visa, whether you are eligible, and what documents you require to maximise your chances of a positive decision, contact Total Law today on 0333 305 9375. We are experts in immigration law who will be able to help you with any step of your visa application.

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    What is the UK Ancestry Visa?

    The UK Ancestry visa is available for Commonwealth and British Overseas citizens who want to live in the UK and who also have a grandparent who was born in the UK, Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.

    If your application is successful, you will be able to live in the UK for five years, work, study, or bring your partner or child, although you will not be able to claim public funds. Upon visa expiry, you will also be eligible to extend your visa for another five years or even apply to permanently settle in the UK (indefinite leave to remain).

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    UK Ancestry Visa Eligibility Criteria

    To be eligible for a UK Ancestry visa, you and your grandparent must meet several criteria and supporting documents must be submitted to prove these.

    Firstly, you must be at least 17 years old, have enough money to provide for yourself in the UK —including housing yourself and any dependents included in your application — and will work while you are in the UK.

    Secondly, one of your grandparents must have been born in one of these specific locations:

    • In the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man
    • In Ireland before 31 March 1922
    • On a ship or aeroplane that was owned by the UK government or registered in the UK

    Finally, you are still eligible for this visa if you or your parents were adopted and your parents or grandparents were not married. However, this does not apply if your step-parent or grandparent was the one born under those circumstances.

    Dependents

    You are able to bring any dependents with you as part of your UK Ancestry visa application; they are only classed as ‘dependents’ if they are your partner, children under the age of 18, or any children over 18 years old who were previously included as dependents on you or your partner’s visa.

    To include your partner, you will need to prove that you’re in a UK-recognised civil partnership or marriage, or that you’ve been living together in a genuine relationship for a minimum of two years when you submit your application.

    For your children to be eligible, they must live with you —unless they’re in a full-time boarding school, college or university— be unmarried and not have any of their own children, and be financially supported by you without the need for access to any UK public funds.

    Your partner and child will have certain privileges as dependents on your UK Ancestry visa, and they will be able to:

    • Work (but not as a sportsperson or coach)
    • Study
    • Travel to and from the UK
    • Apply for indefinite leave to remain if they are eligible after five years

    However, they will not be able to apply for benefits or access a UK state pension.

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      Required Documents for the UK Ancestry Visa

      When completing your visa application, you must submit documents to both prove your identity and your grandparent’s. It is very important that you provide this evidence otherwise the UK Home Office may question the legitimacy of your application.

      Your dependents will need to submit their own application (or you may need to on behalf of your child), and they will need to submit their own documents.

      For your application, you will need to submit:

      • Your current passport, including a blank page for your visa, or other valid travel document
      • Your birth certificate
      • The birth certificate of the grandparent you’re basing your ancestry claim on
      • Job offers, self-employed business plans or other evidence to show you’re planning to work once you’re in the UK
      • Financial evidence from official sources within the 31 days before your application, for example, a bank statement, that shows you can support yourself and all dependents whilst in the UK
      • A tuberculosis test certificate if you have lived in Bangladesh for over six months in the last six months

      In some cases, you may need to submit any of the following documents that are applicable to you:

      • Proof that your parents or grandparents no longer have the same birth name, for example, a marriage certificate or deed poll
      • Your or your parent’s adoption papers

      Any documents that are not in English will need to be translated and notarised by a certified translator as per the Home Office’s translation guidelines.

      Financial Requirement

      According to the UK Home Office, there is no specified amount you need to prove that you hold in your account, only that you can maintain and accommodate yourself and any dependents without needing to access public funds. Alternatively, you can also rely on another credible person to meet this requirement, for example, a relative or a friend who is able to support you and your dependents.

      Your money can be held in any form of personal or building society bank account; the primary requirement is that you can immediately access your funds. Any money such as shares, bonds, credit cards, or pensions that are not immediately accessible will not be accepted as evidence of funds.

      If you are concerned by the lack of guidance surrounding the financial requirement, an immigration lawyer can assess your finances and provide professional advice on whether it may be considered enough by the UK Home Office. Speak to a legal advisor at Total Law today on 0333 305 9375, or contact us online, and we will recommend how to increase your chances of a successful visa application.

      UK Ancestry Visa Application Process

      You must be situated outside the UK to apply for a UK Ancestry visa, and you can only apply within three months before you enter the UK.

      The initial application can be made online through the UK government website, gov.uk, but as part of your application, you will have to book a face-to-face interview at a visa application centre. Here, you will confirm your identity and provide your biometric information, which includes a photograph and your fingerprints.

      There are visa application centres in both Dhaka and Sylhet, which are open Sunday to Thursday from 8:30am to 4:00pm. You will have to make an appointment directly with the visa application centre online.

      UK Ancestry Visa Application Cost and Processing Time

      Your UK Ancestry visa application will cost £637. You can expect to receive a decision within three weeks of attending your visa interview; however, is it always good practice to allow additional time in case of delays.

      Delays may occur if your case is particularly complex or if the Home Office has trouble reviewing the evidence you have provided.

      The UK Visa Office also partner with VFS Global, a separate service that offers fast-track visas to people in Bangladesh. At an additional cost of £500 and £1000, you can expect to receive a decision within 5 or 1 working day from the day of your appointment, respectively. Using the VFS Global priority services will not guarantee a decision within these days if there are any complications with your visa application; however, your application will be moved to the front of the queue.

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        Immigration Health Surcharge

        In addition to your visa fee, you and your dependents must pay the UK healthcare surcharge. This surcharge covers any costs incurred by the National Health Service (NHS) during your stay in the UK.

        This charge is applicable for anyone applying from outside the UK for a visa that allows you to stay in the UK for more than six months, excluding if you’re applying to remain permanently in the UK.

        There are also other exceptions where the applicant will not need to pay the immigration health surcharge in order to access the NHS; the full list is available on the gov.uk website.

        The cost is calculated by the number of years you can stay in the UK on your visa; in the case of the UK Ancestry visa, this is five years.

        For applicants over 18 years old, this cost is £624 per year (equalling £3,120 for a five-year visa); for applicants under 18 years old, this is £470 per year. You will pay for this when you apply for your visa online.

        Extending Your Visa

        Under the UK Ancestry visa, you are allowed to extend your visa as you approach its expiry date for a further five years. There is also no limit to the amount of times you can extend this visa, as long as you continue to be eligible.

        You can stay in the UK while waiting for a decision, but you cannot travel out of the UK, Ireland, Channel Islands or the Isle of Man otherwise your application may be withdrawn.

        Extending your visa will not automatically extend your partner or child’s visa, and they will have to extend theirs separately. Otherwise, it will expire on the original expiry date.

        Once you’ve lived in the UK for five years on this visa, you can apply to settle permanently in the UK.

        When you extend your visa, you will have to pay a £1,048 application fee plus the healthcare surcharge.

        Indefinite Leave to Remain

        The UK Ancestry visa is one route to permanently settle in the UK, and eventually become a British citizen. To apply for indefinite leave to remain, you will have to spend five continuous years in the UK without spending more than 180 days outside of the UK in any year.

        After five years, you will have to apply for indefinite leave online. After a minimum of 12 months with indefinite leave, you will be able to apply to become a British citizen.

        Rejected UK Ancestry Visa Application

        There is a chance that your visa application will be rejected; this could be due to insufficient evidence to show you meet the eligibility criteria, that you have unspent criminal convictions, or that you haven’t responded to requests for additional information.

        In your rejection letter, the Home Office will outline the reason why your visa has been rejected and whether you are able to appeal the decision. Appealing your decision is an option if you believe there has been an administrative error in the way the decision was made.

        Alternatively, it may be more cost-effective to apply again, making sure you have corrected any errors that caused the original rejection of your application. If you are not eligible for a UK Ancestry visa, you may prefer to apply for a different UK visa.

        How Can Total Law Help?

        Applying for UK visas can be a complicated process, and it can be difficult to gather the correct documents and prove you are eligible based on your grandparent’s birthplace.

        Submitting documents that don’t support your visa can increase the risk of receiving a rejection from the Home Office and, therefore, cost additional money.

        The expert lawyers at Total Law can advise you on completing your UK Ancestry visa application form and are able to check all your supporting documents to ensure that you are eligible and are increasing your chances of being accepted. We also offer a range of other services, from giving advice to completing your visa application on your behalf.

        To speak to one of our immigration experts today, contact us on 0333 305 9375 or online.

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                  Frequently Asked Questions

                  No. If you’re living in the UK with a UK Ancestry visa and you have a child, you must apply for their dependent visa before they turn 18 years old. This is a requirement if you want to travel to and from the UK with them.

                  Yes, you are allowed to leave the UK; however, it is worth noting that if you intend to apply for indefinite leave to remain after five years, you cannot spend more than 180 days outside the UK in any year during those five years.

                  Your Ancestry visa is also granted on the understanding that you are going to work while in the UK. Spending large chunks of time outside of the UK may be in breach of your visa and put your permission in the UK at risk.