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 to apply 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 UK Ancestry visa requirements apply to you, you qualify for a 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 UK 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 country and collect your biometric residence permit.

The definition of the UK includes:

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

Adopted children are eligible so as long as their adoptive grandparent was 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 UK Ancestry visa can be extended from within the UK or from your home country.

What if the UK Ancestry visa class is scrapped?

Most years, rumours circulate that UK immigration authorities are planning to scrap the British 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 already hold a UK Ancestry visa when the class is removed, you can apply for an extension before the existing visa expires. The Home Office must apply the same criteria as when you first obtained your Ancestry visa. However, we still recommend that you apply for your Ancestry visa as soon as possible, to ensure that you don’t lose the right to do so. 

If you need assistance with your UK Ancestry visa, our team can help.

Indefinite leave to remain

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

Read more about ILR

Contact an immigration expert

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

Get expert insights and important updates

OUR DATA POLICY

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

Durban

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

United Kingdom

London

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

Croydon

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

Australia

Melbourne

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.

Our site will be down for approximately 90 minutes on Saturday 17 November at 09:00 BST. 
We're carrying out scheduled maintenance to ensure we continue to provide you with the service you've come to expect from us.
This site uses cookies, read more or close this notice.