The UK Ancestry Visa – a quick guide

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A UK Ancestry Visa is available to Commonwealth citizens who have at least one grandparent born in the UK, and who are able and intend to work in the UK. If you meet the conditions, you may be able eligible to live and work in the UK.

Who is eligible?

To be eligible for an Ancestry Visa, you must be:

  • Over 17 years old at the date of the application
  • A Commonwealth citizen
  • Able to work and intend to seek and take employment in the UK
  • Able to prove that one of your grandparents was born in the UK, the Channel Islands, or the Isle of Man (referred to here as “Islands”)
  • Able to prove that you can financially support yourself and any dependant family members in the UK

You will also meet the UK-born grandparent requirement if:

  • You were legally adopted by someone who has a parent born in the UK or Islands; or
  • One of your parents were legally adopted by someone born in the UK or Islands.

The adoption must have occurred through an adoption process recognised as valid for the purposes of UK law. You cannot claim UK ancestry through step-parents.

Your entitlements under this route

UK Ancestry Visa allows you to live and work in the UK for up to 5 years. During this period, you can do any kind of work in the UK at any skill level, including full time, part time, self-employment or voluntary work.

Eligible family members such as your spouse, partner, and/or dependant children are also allowed in the UK. They can stay for the same time as you and there are usually no restrictions relating to their employment.

After 5 years of continuous residence in the UK under this route, you and your dependant family members in the UK may be eligible to apply for permanent residence, which can lead to British citizenship.

If you are not eligible for permanent residence, you may choose to extend your visa for a further 5 years.

How can we help?

Our specialist immigration solicitors can advise and guide you through the complex evidence that is required for this visa – we will be with you every step of the way. If you have received a UK Ancestry Visa refusal, we will also be able to assist with your appeal application.