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Ancestry Visa

Ancestry Visa Explained

You can apply for a UK Ancestry visa if you:

  • are a Commonwealth citizen
  • are applying from outside the UK
  • are able to prove that one of your grandparents was born in the UK
  • are able and planning to work in the UK
  • meet the other eligibility requirements

If you are unsure of your position or would like to ensure that your application is handled by a knowledgeable specialist, get in touch with one of our friendly team members now on 0203 384 4389 to find out exactly how we can assist you to get it right first time round, saving you time, money and the heartache of being refused.

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Further Information

How long it will take

The earliest you can apply is 3 months before you travel.

Example:

You can apply from 16 March if you plan to travel on 15 June.

You should get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks when you apply from outside the UK.

How long you can stay

You can stay in the UK for 5 years on this visa.

You can apply to extend your visa.

You can also apply to settle in the UK permanently.

What you can and can't do

You can:

  • work
  • study
  • bring family members

You can’t:

  • change (‘switch’) into this visa if you’re already in the UK on another visa
  • get public funds

Eligibility

You must prove that you:

  • are 17 or over
  • have enough money without help from public funds to support and house yourself and any dependants
  • can and plan to work in the UK

Your ancestry

You must also show that you have a grandparent born in 1 of the following circumstances:

  • in the UK, including the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man
  • before 31 March 1922 in what is now the Republic of Ireland
  • on a British-registered ship or aircraft

You can claim ancestry if either you or the relevant parent:

  • were adopted
  • were born within or outside marriage in the UK

You can’t claim UK ancestry through step-parents.

Documents you'll need to provide

When you apply you’ll need to provide:

  • a current passport or other valid travel identification
  • bank statements to show you’ve enough money to support yourself
  • your tuberculosis test results if you’re from a country where you have to take the test

You’ll need to have a blank page in your passport on which to put the visa.

Ancestry documents

You’ll also need to provide:

  • your full birth certificate
  • your marriage certificate or civil partnership registration document if your husband, wife or civil partner wants to join you
  • the full birth certificates of the parent and grandparent your ancestry claim is based on
  • marriage certificates for your parents and grandparents if they were married
  • legal adoption papers if you or your parents are adopted
  • evidence that you’re planning to work in the UK, for example job offers you’ve received or a business plan if you’re self-employed

You may need to provide additional documents depending on your circumstances.

Extend your visa

You should include any dependants who are on your current visa on your application to extend – including children who have turned 18 during your stay.

You should apply before your current visa expires.

Eligibility

You can also apply to settle in the UK permanently if you’ve lived in the UK for 5 years on this visa.

How long you can stay

You can extend your visa for a further 5 years.

How long it takes

A decision will be made:

  • within 8 weeks for postal applications
  • usually on the same day if you use the premium service

You’ll be contacted if your application is complex and will take longer, eg:

  • if your supporting documents need to be verified
  • if you need to attend an interview
  • because of your personal circumstances (for example if you have a criminal conviction)

Once you’ve applied you can stay in the UK until you’ve been given a decision, as long as you applied before your last visa expired.

Family Members

Your family members (‘dependants’) must apply to join or remain with you in the UK if they’re from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland.

A ‘dependant’ is any of the following:

  • your partner
  • your child under 18
  • your child over 18 if they’re currently in the UK as a dependant

They may also have to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of their application.

Dependants applying in the UK

Your dependants can apply to extend or switch their visas to stay with you if they’re already in the UK.

Members of your family can’t apply in the UK as your dependant if they hold a visitor visa.

Children born while you’re in the UK

If you have children while you’re in the UK, you can apply for permission for them to stay.

You must do this if you want to travel in and out of the UK with your child.

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