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Apply for your UK Ancestry visa

Commonwealth citizens over the age of 17 with a UK-born grandparent qualify for the UK Ancestry visa, allowing them to live and work in the UK for a period of five years.

Do you qualify for a UK Ancestry visa?

The UK Ancestry visa allows you to live and work in the UK. It is issued for a period of five years. You qualify for this visa if all of the following apply:

  • 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 recourse to 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.

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
  • The Channel Islands

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 criteria of the Ancestry Visa, you may re-apply for a new one. This can applied for in the UK or in your home country.

What if the Ancestry visa class is scrapped?

Just about every year, rumours begin to circulate 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. However, there is some good news.

If you hold an Ancestry visa, and the Ancestry visa class is subsequently scrapped, you can re-apply for a new Ancestry visa 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.

As such it’s best to apply for your visa as soon as possible to insure 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). Click here for more information on indefinite leave to remain (ILR)


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