The hassle-free way to obtain a UK Ancestry visa

You can apply for this visa if:

  • One of your grandparents was born in the UK
  • You are a Commonwealth citizen
  • You intend to seek work in the UK

If you are a Commonwealth citizen and you are able to show that one of your grandparents was born in the UK, you may apply for an ancestry visa.

You must apply for an ancestry visa from your home country. You can contact our Cape Town or Melbourne offices to make sure that your application is successful.

To be eligible, you must show that:

  • You are a Commonwealth citizen
  • You are aged 17 years or over
  • You have a grandparent who was born in the UK
  • You are able to work
  • You intend to take employment in the UK
  • You are able to support and house yourself and any dependants without recourse to any public funding

You may bring your spouse, partner and/or dependent children with you. They are allowed to stay for the same time as you are and there usually aren’t any restrictions relating to their employment.

Attaining Indefinite leave to remain

Ancestry visas are normally issued for five years. At the end of that period, if you have lived in the UK continuously and you have spent no more than 180 days outside the UK in any 12 months of the last five years (known as 'continuous residence') you may apply for Indefinite leave to remain (ILR).

If you have an Ancestry visa that was issued before April 2006, this period will most likely be for four years. If your Ancestry visa is for four years, you may apply for a one year extension and then for ILR.

After spending 12 months on ILR, you may be eligible to naturalise as a British citizen and gain UK citizenship.


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.


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 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

How you can qualify for an Ancestry visa?

  • You need to be a Commonwealth citizen
  • You must be 17 years or older
  • One of your grandparents must have been born in the UK
  • You need to be able to work
  • You must intend to be employed in the UK
  • You must be able to support and house yourself and any dependants without relying on public funding
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Getting UK residency and citizenship

If you’re an Australian citizen over 17 years old and you have a grandparent who was born in the UK (including in Southern Ireland before 31 March 1922), you can apply for the Ancestry visa.

The visa is valid for five years and allows you to enter and exit the UK multiple times during that period. If you’re granted an Ancestry visa, you may live and work in the UK throughout its validity.

To apply for this visa you will need to provide original birth certificates for yourself, your parent and grandparent who hold the ancestral link. You also need to show that you intend to work in the UK and will be able to support yourself without recourse to UK public funds. We recommend you have at least $5,000 in your bank account when you apply.

If you satisfy the residency requirements, you may apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) when the visa comes to an end. Please note that you must meet certain residency requirements before you can apply ILR.

If you hold an Australian or New Zealand passport, we can assist you with your visa application.

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British citizenship assessment

Discover if you qualify for British citizenship through your heritage. Our online assessment uses your personal circumstances, and those of your parents and grandparents, to let you know your chances of attaining a British passport.

See if you qualify
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