UK Ancestry Visas
UK Ancestry visas allow Commonwealth and British overseas citizens to come to the UK to live, work and study. If you hold this type of visa, you can bring your partner or child to live with you. It can also be a route to obtaining indefinite leave to remain in the UK.
To qualify, you will need to show that one of your grandparents was born in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man, as well as meeting other eligibility requirements. Including being able to support yourself and your family.
IBB Law’s visas and immigration team have extensive experience in preparing successful Ancestry visa applications for individuals and their dependants. Including an in-depth understanding of the legal process and the strict requirements of the UK Visas and Immigration department, we also provide exceptional client service.
If you instruct us to deal with your application for a UK Ancestry visa, we will work closely with you to ensure that this is your best immigration route and that your application is as comprehensive as possible.
We represent clients across the Commonwealth, and elsewhere, in obtaining Ancestry visas with an excellent record of success. We will provide bespoke advice and guidance throughout the application process so that you have the support you need.
If you are not sure whether a UK Ancestry visa is the best choice, we can advise you of your options. Our team deals with all types of UK visas, and we will ensure that you take the most beneficial immigration route.
Complete support for UK Ancestry visa applications
We provide a complete visa application service, including the following:
- Discussing your situation with you to ensure that an Ancestry visa is the best immigration option and that you are eligible
- Preparing your Ancestry visa application
- Ensuring that all the necessary documents are included with your application
- Dealing with UK Ancestry visa rejections and refusals
- Renewing Ancestry visas
For more information about our visa and immigration services, see Immigration Services for Individuals.
Why choose IBB Law for help with applying for an Ancestry visa?
The UK immigration experts at IBB Law provide the following benefits:
- In-depth knowledge of UK Immigration laws, policies and procedures.
- Hands on support from experts who keep up-to-date with developments in the law so that you always receive practical and accurate advice.
- A cost-effective and timely service with great attention to detail.
- Independently accredited immigration expertise with our team being ranked by leading client guide, the Legal 500, for Immigration Law.
Looking for immediate help with a UK Ancestry visa application?
If you would like to apply for a UK Ancestry visa and you need help ensuring your application is as strong as possible, our expert immigration team will be happy to hear from you.
How to apply for an Ancestry visa for the UK
The UK Ancestry visa guidance below covers the following key points:
- What is an Ancestry visa?
- How do I apply for a UK Ancestry visa?
- Supporting documents for an Ancestry visa
- How much does a UK Ancestry visa cost?
- How long can you be out of the UK on an Ancestry visa?
- How long does an Ancestry visa last?
- How many times can I apply for an Ancestry visa?
- Alternatives to an Ancestry visa
- How long does it take to get a UK Ancestry visa?
- UK Ancestry visa refusals and rejections
A UK Ancestry visa allows Commonwealth citizens, British overseas citizens, British Overseas Territories citizens, Zimbabwe citizens and British overseas nationals, to live, work and study in the UK, provided a grandparent was born in the UK, the Channel Islands, or on the Isle of Man. This extends to adopted individuals, provided the adoption is valid and recognised by UK Law, but does not include stepchildren or step-grandchildren.
It also includes those with a grandparent who was born in the Republic of Ireland before 31st of March 1922, or on a British registered ship or aircraft. Parents and grandparents do not need to have been married.
Dependent children and partners can also accompany those who are granted an Ancestry visa. As well as spouses and civil partners, unmarried partners who have been living together for at least two years are entitled to apply.
The requirement to work is fairly flexible and you can work in a full-time or part-time role in the UK. This could be in paid or voluntary work and either employed or self-employed.
You cannot transfer to an Ancestry visa from another UK visa and you will not be entitled to receive benefits or other public funds.
To request a UK Ancestry visa, you will need to apply online before you travel to the UK. The earliest the application can be made is three months before you travel.
You will need to show that you are 17 or older, and that you have enough money to support yourself and your dependants without public funds. You will also have to demonstrate that you can work and plan to work once you are in the UK.
If you are under 18, you will need the consent of your parent or guardian to make the application.
If you will be bringing your partner and/or children with you, each of them will need to make a separate application for a family visa.
You will need to provide a range of documents in support of your application for an Ancestral visa, including the following:
- Your current passport or other valid travel document
- Your full birth certificate
- Full birth certificates for your parent and grandparent showing that they have the citizenship that will allow you to qualify to apply for an Ancestral visa
- Documents showing that you intend to work in the UK, such as job offers, copies of job applications, copies of your qualifications, a copy of your self-employed business plan, or evidence of clients for a business you will be setting up. UK Visas and Immigration will also take into account your age and health when assessing whether they believe that you genuinely intend to take on work.
- Evidence that you will be able to support yourself financially, such as bank statements that are no older than one month
UK Visas and Immigration will also wish to see other documentation in support of various points. This could include the following:
- Evidence of any changes of names in respect of your parents and grandparents
- Adoption papers, if any individual has been legally adopted
- Tuberculosis test results if you are from a country where this is a requirement
- Documents regarding your spouse or civil partner, such as your marriage certificate.
You will also be required to supply biometric identity information, which can be done at an overseas visa application centre.
A UK Ancestry visa costs £516. You will also be required to pay the healthcare surcharge of £3,120, which is a payment of £624 for each year of a five-year visa.
If you stay out of the UK for more than two years while on an Ancestry visa, you may lose the right to put this time towards an application for indefinite leave to remain in the country.
The UK Ancestry visa lasts for five years. You can apply to extend the visa for a further five years, provided that you submit your application before the end of the five-year term.
Provided that you continue to meet the eligibility requirements, there is no limit to the number of times that you can apply for a UK Ancestry visa extension. Your partner and dependent children can also apply to extend their visas.
The cost of an application for a UK Ancestry visa renewal is £1,033 per person, plus the healthcare surcharge.
You can also apply for indefinite leave to remain once you have spent five continuous years in the UK. To qualify for this, you should not spend more than 180 days outside of the UK in any year. You will also generally need to meet the minimum standard in the English language and have adequate knowledge and understanding of life in the UK, demonstrated by taking approved tests.
There are other visa options available that might be suitable for your circumstances, including the following:
Standard Visitor visa – if you will only be coming to the UK for less than six months
Family visa – if you will be coming to the UK to join a family member
Once your application has been completed and you have provided the biometric identity information, you should receive a decision from UK Visas and Immigration within three weeks.
You may be able to request a faster turnaround time for your identity checks at certain visa application centres. There is an additional cost, but you can expect to receive a decision within five working days of your appointment at the visa application centre.
Some visa application centres also offer a super priority service, again at an additional cost, which aims to process your identity documentation by the end of the next working day after your appointment.
Once you have received approval for your visa application and have been issued a permit to travel to the UK, you will need to arrive within thirty days.
If you have received a refusal or rejection of a UK Ancestry visa application, it is highly recommended that you seek legal advice. It may be possible to reapply or challenge a decision, if an error has been made on your part.
Where UK Visas and Immigration have made a mistake in dealing with your application, you may be entitled to an administrative review. If the refusal of your Ancestry visa was unreasonable or the correct procedure was not followed, you may be able to request a judicial review.
Get immediate expert advice on applying for a UK Ancestry visa
If you need expert advice and support with a UK Ancestry visa application, our highly experienced immigration team will be happy to assist.