close menu

Apply for your UK Ancestry visa

Commonwealth citizens over the age of 17 with a UK-born grandparent qualify for the UK Ancestry visa. This is one of the most sought-after UK visas as it allows the holder to live and work in the UK for a period of five years. After five years you can begin applying for indefinite leave to remain, which can lead to full British citizenship.

Do you qualify for a UK Ancestry visa?

If all of the following apply to you, you qualify for a UK Ancestry visa:

  • You are aged 17 or over
  • One of your grandparents was born in the UK
  • You are a Commonwealth citizen
  • You intend to seek work in the UK
  • You are able to support and house yourself and any dependants without relying on public funding

You may bring your spouse, partner and/or dependant children under the age of 18 with you to the UK. Your partner has no restrictions relating to their employment rights. This is far more lenient than many  UK partner visas.

The Ancestry visa application process

You must apply for a UK Ancestry visa from your home country. You are expected to enter the UK shortly after the visa is issued. The visa is issued for 30 days, during which time you must enter the UK and collect your biometric residence permit.

The definition of the UK includes:

  • The UK mainland (England, Wales, Scotland)
  • Northern Ireland

If you are adopted, then your adoptive grandparent would have to have been born in the UK.

Extensions and reapplying

It is possible to extend an Ancestry visa, as long as you still meet the qualifying criteria. Your Ancestry visa can be extended from within the UK or from your home country.

If you need help with UK visa extensions our team can help.

What if the Ancestry visa class is scrapped?

Just about every year, rumours begin to circulate that the immigration authorities in the UK are planning to scrap the Ancestry visa class. While it has yet to happen, it is a concern that many of our clients have.

The good news is that if you hold an Ancestry visa, and the Ancestry visa class is subsequently scrapped, you can reapply for a new one when your existing visa expires. The Home Office is obliged to apply the same criteria that applied to you when you first obtained your Ancestry visa. It is therefore advised that you apply for your Ancestry visa as soon as possible, to ensure that you don’t lose the right to do so.

Indefinite leave to remain

The UK Ancestry visa counts as qualifying time in the UK towards indefinite leave to remain (ILR), which can lead to British citizenship.


Contact an immigration expert

Fill in the form below and we'll get back to you.

Get expert insights and important updates


GDPR regulations give you more rights about personal information and hold those that breach them to account, so we're all for it.

If at any point you would like to opt out of receiving communication from us, you can do so using the unsubscribe option. We promise to honour your request.

South Africa

Cape Town

Regent Square
Doncaster Road
Kenilworth 7708 +27 (0) 21 657 2120


201 The Annex
Ridgeside Office Park
Umhlanga +27 (0) 31 536 8843

United Kingdom


Castlewood House
77/91 New Oxford Street
WC1A 1DG +44 (0) 20 7759 7514


5-7 Selsdon Road
South Croydon
CR2 6PU +44 (0) 20 7759 7581



9 Yarra Street
South Yarra
VIC 3141 +613 (0) 8651 4500

Sable International is a trading name of 1st Contact Money Limited (company number 07070528), registered in England and Wales. We are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK (FCA no. 517570), the Financial Services Conduct Authority in South Africa (1st Contact Money [PTY] Ltd - FSP no. 41900) and hold an Australian Financial Services License issued by ASIC to deal in foreign exchange (1st Contact Group - AFS License number 335 126).

Please note: Sable International is a trading name of Philip Gamble and Co. Ltd. Philip Gamble and Co. Ltd is registered in the UK with the Office of the Immigration Service Commissioner (OISC) under no. F2001-00004. Our staff based outside of the UK are not regulated by the OISC and may be involved in some client casework. However, they work to the same high standards as our UK staff and clients receive the same service regardless of which office they engage with.

This site uses cookies, read more or close this notice.