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UK Ancestry Visa

The UK Ancestry visa is reserved for citizens who live outside the UK in commonwealth countries and have a grandparent who was born in the UK.

If you have any questions regarding the UK ancestry visa applications or other questions relating to UK immigration law, contact our professional immigration lawyers to discuss any concerns you may have. You can call us on 0333 305 9375, or contact us online seven days a week via our live chat.

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    What is the Ancestry Visa?

    The UK Ancestral Visa falls in the UK Family Visa Category. It permits citizens who live in Commonwealth countries, with at least one grandparent born in the UK, to go there to live, work, and study in the United Kingdom.  The UK Ancestry visa is valid for 5 years.

    Upon reaching the 5-year visa limit, visa holders can apply for an Ancestry Visa extension or have the option to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) and even the possibility of applying to become a British citizen.

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    What are the requirements and eligibility for an Ancestry Visa?

    The Ancestry Visa is available to the following individuals:

    • Commonwealth citizens
    • British overseas citizens
    • British overseas territories citizens
    • British citizens (overseas)
    • Citizens of Zimbabwe
    • Anyone that can prove at least one of your grandparents was born in the UK, the Channel Islands, or the Isle of Man.

    In addition, applicants who are going the ancestry route must be:

    • Be 17 years of age or above
    • Have sufficient funds without help from public funds to support yourself including accommodation for yourself and any dependants
    • Are able to and have plans to gain employment in the UK

    There are specific eligibility requirements for the relevant grandparent you are seeking the Ancestry Visa through. The applicant has to prove that at least one grandparent was born:

    • In the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man
    • Before 31 March 1922 in Ireland
    • On a ship or aircraft that were either registered in the UK or belonged to the UK government.

    It is possible to claim an Ancestry Visa if you or your grandparents were adopted and if your parents or grandparents were not married. It is not possible to claim a UK ancestry visa through step-parents.

    How to apply for British ancestry?

    The main applicant can apply for their ancestry visa application up to 3 months prior to when they intend to travel to the UK.

    The application is made online, via the Home Office. When making the application, it is important to book an appointment at a Visa Application Center nearby to where you live.

    This appointment is to prove your identity. During it you will have your biometric information taken, this is your photograph and fingerprints. You will likely need to take relevant documents with you to the appointment.

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      What documents are required for a UK Ancestry Visa application?

      The UK ancestry visa route requires applicants to show detailed evidence of their relationship with their relative/ grandparent who was born in the UK.

      As such, you will be asked to provide the birth certificates of the parent and grandparent that your claim for ancestry is based on.

      You may also need to provide:

      • Proof that your parent’s or grandparent’s names have changed since birth through marriage or civil partnership certificates or a deed
      • Legal adoption papers if you or your parents are adopted

      The application of the ancestry visa is also required to provide the following documents:

      • Valid, current passport or valid travel document with a minimum of one blank page for your visa, or another valid type of travel document.
      • Your full birth certificate
      • Evidence that you plan to work in the UK, could be by providing a valid offer of employment, or a valid business plan if you intend/are already self-employed.
      • Bank statements that show you are able to support yourself and any family members. Bank statements have to be dated within 31 days of when you submit your application
      • Tuberculosis test results (if applicable)
      • Your marriage certificate or civil partnership registration (if spouses/parents intend to join)
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      What is the application fee for a UK Ancestry Visa?

      A UK Ancestry visa costs £516. Applicants are also responsible for paying the immigration health surcharge,  which varies in price but the healthcare surcharge provides you access to the national health service of the UK.

      How long does the UK Ancestry Visa take to process?

      As mentioned, the earliest you can apply is 3 months prior to entering the UK.

      After applying, you should hear back about your decision within 3 weeks. This may be longer if the application is more complicated or there are delays due to external issues such as COVID19.

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        Can I bring my dependents with me to the UK on an Ancestry Visa?

        Through the UK ancestry visa, it is possible to bring dependents with you to the UK.

        Dependents are defined as any of the following:

        • Your partner (wife, husband, fiance, civil partner or living together for longer than 2 years)
        • Children(s) under 18
        • Children(s)  over 18, who were on your or your partner’s visa as a dependant

        Dependent’s privilege does not extend to parents, cousins, aunts, or grandparents. For all eligible dependents, you’ll need to provide evidence of your relationship when you apply.

        For children, they must live with you as long they are not attending full-course education elsewhere, are not married or in a civil partnership, and do not have any children. All dependent children must be financially reliant on their parents and not need public funds.

        All dependents can apply online if they are based outside the UK. They will also need to attend the visa application centre in order to get their biometrics completed (photograph and fingerprints taken)

        If your dependents are already legally residing in the UK, they can extend or switch their visa to the UK ancestry visa, so long as they reach all requirements. To do this, they can either apply at the same time as you or at any time before their current visa expires.

        It is important to note, however, that they cannot apply to switch if they’re currently in the UK:

        • On visitor visa
        • On a Short-term study visa
        • On a Parent of a Child Student visa
        • On a Seasonal Worker visa
        • On a Domestic Workers in a Private Household visa
        • On immigration bail

        If dependents are in the UK in one of those visa categories, they will have to leave the UK and apply for a UK Ancestry visa from their commonwealth country.

        Is it common to receive UK Ancestry Visa refusal?

        It might not be common as such, but it does have that people get a UK ancestry visa refusal. Some common reasons behind refusal are:

        • The applicant is not a commonwealth citizen from an eligible commonwealth country
        • The applicant fails to provide sufficient evidence that they’re actively seeking work in the UK
        • The applicant is unable to provide proof that at least one grandparent was born in the UK
        • The applicant is unable to demonstrate adequate finances to support yourself in the UK
        • The applicant submitted an incomplete or inaccurate application
        • Failure to submit relevant supporting documents
        • Failure to respond to Home Office requests for further information

        Due to immigration rules, when it comes to the Ancestry Visa if it is refused, there is no right of appeal, unless there is an obvious error in the decision process.

        So, if your application is refused, it’s possible to request an administrative review of the decision if you believe that your application should have been accepted.

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                  Frequently Asked Questions

                  The initial UK ancestry visa is valid for five years. After that, it’s possible to apply for an extension for another five years. It is possible to apply for an extension as many times as you like, but each time you will need to prove that you can still meet all of the eligibility requirements.

                  The good news is that the ancestral visa offers a route to Indefinite Leave to Remain. This means that people with an Ancestry Visa can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK once they have lived in the UK for 5 years via the Ancestry Visa. With Indefinite Leave to Remain, holders can settle in the UK permanently or apply for British citizenship.

                  With the UK Ancestry Visa, visa holders may live, study and work in the UK for up to five years and can also bring eligible dependent family members to the UK.

                  The ancestry visa does not entitle holders to access public funds whilst in the UK.

                  No job offer is necessary. Rather, applicants need to prove that they are able to work and genuinely intend to seek employment.

                  The good news is yes! The main requirement is that the grandparents via adoption were born in the UK. The grandparents could not have been adopted then brought to the UK. You will also be required to provide all documentation of the adoption.