UK Ancestry Visa
If you are a citizen of a Commonwealth country and one of your grandparents was born in the UK, you may be eligible for a five-year UK Ancestry Visa. This will allow you to live, work and study in the UK. After five years, you can either apply for a renewal or apply for settled status.
The Ancestral Visa UK does not require you to have already been offered a job in the UK before you apply. This makes it a much simpler route for those who are eligible. You will not be able to claim public funds on this visa type, so evidence of maintenance will be vital to receiving a good result.
Because you are applying as the relative of a British citizen, you will need to provide detailed evidence which proves their British heritage. These can sometimes be difficult to source for grandparents who left the UK a long time ago.
UK Ancestry Visa refused
Having an application for the UK Ancestry Visa refused can be a frustrating experience. Some of the most common reasons for refusal include the following:
- You are not an eligible citizen of a commonwealth country
- You fail to show that you are actively seeking work in the UK
- You cannot provide proof that one of your grandparents was born in the UK
- You are unable to demonstrate that you have adequate finances to support yourself in the UK
- Incomplete or inaccurate application
- Failure to submit relevant supporting documents
- Failure to respond to Home Office requests for further information
Unfortunately, if your Ancestry Visa application is refused, there is no automatic right of appeal, unless there is a clear error in the decision process.
This means you could request an administrative review of the decision if you are sure that your application ought to have been accepted.
You can speak with us if your visa application is refused and we can provide comprehensive support and advice on your situation to give you the best chance of achieving your goal in coming to the UK.
Ancestry Visa Help
Our experienced immigration lawyers can work with you to help you secure your UK Ancestry Visa. We will work with you to assess whether your heritage makes you eligible which can include sourcing and locating family history documents for you, to use as evidence for the Home Office.
We will also perform a document check and fill your application out using expert knowledge. Our services also involve one of our lawyers producing a Letter of Representation. This letter references your supporting documents, relevant UK immigration laws and cases in support of your application. This will maximise your chances of a successful UK Ancestry Visa application.
Get in touch online today or call 0333 363 8577 to speak to an expert immigration lawyer, or see our FAQs below for more information.
Comprehensive immigration advice tailored to your circumstances and goals.
Designed to make your visa application as smooth and stress-free as possible.
Fast Track Package
Premium application service that ensures your visa application is submitted to meet your deadline.
Ensure you have the greatest chance of a successful appeal. We will represent you in any case.
The Advice Package
With our untimed Advice Session, our professional immigration lawyers will review your case and provide you with comprehensive advice, completely tailored to your needs and your situation.
The Application Package
With our Application Package, your dedicated caseworker will advise you on your application process and eligibility. Your legal advisor will then complete and submit your forms to the Home Office on your behalf.
The Fast Track Package
Our Fast-Track Application Package is a premium service for those who need to submit their application in time with their deadlines. Your case will become a top priority for our lawyers and you will benefit from our highest-quality services.
The Appeal Package
By choosing our Appeal Package, you can rely on our lawyers’ legal knowledge and experience to ensure you have the highest chance of a successful appeal. We will also fully represent you in any hearings/tribunals.
In order to qualify for a UK Ancestry Visa, you must meet the following requirements:
- be 17 or over;
- have enough money to support yourself without accessing public funds;
- plan to work in the UK; and
- be a citizen of the Commonwealth.
It is important to note that, even though Zimbabwe is no longer part of the Commonwealth, they are treated as such for the purposes of UK Ancestry applications. Zimbabwean nationals can successfully apply for UK Ancestry if they can satisfy the requirements of the UK Ancestry Visa.
You must also meet one of the following ancestry requirements:
- Have a grandparent born in the United Kingdom, Channel Islands or the Isle of Man;
- Have a grandparent born in what is now the Republic of Ireland on or before 31st March 1922; and
- Have a grandparent born on a British-registered ship or aircraft.
You can also claim an Ancestry Visa if you or your parent was adopted or was born within or outside marriage in the UK.
You cannot claim UK ancestry through your step-parents.
With a British Ancestry Visa, you can live and work in the UK. You can also study on an Ancestral Visa, UK universities will accept this as a valid visa for their immigration checks.
You can stay in the UK for up to five years on a British Ancestry Visa. After this five year period has elapsed, you can apply to extend your visa or apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain.
You cannot apply to change or switch to this visa if you are already in the UK.
You also cannot access public funds and may be required to pay the NHS surcharge when making your visa application.
You must make your UK ancestry visa application from outside the UK. In order to apply, you will need the following documents:
- A current passport or another valid travel document.
- Bank statements showing that you have enough money to support yourself.
- Your tuberculosis test results if you are applying from a country where a TB test is required.
In order to prove your eligibility for the UK Ancestry Visa, you will need to provide the following documents:
- Your full birth certificate.
- A marriage certificate or civil partnership registration document if you are applying to take your spouse with you.
- The full birth certificate of the grandparent through whom your ancestry claim is based.
- Marriage certificates for your parents and grandparents, if they were married.
- Adoption papers, if you or your parents are adopted.
- Evidence of your plans to work in the UK, either in the form of a job offer or a business plan if you are planning to be self-employed.
Other documents may be required depending on your circumstances. If you are applying through Immigration Advice Service, we will be able to advise you on which documents are required.
The UK ancestry visa will cost £516. You may also need to pay the NHS healthcare surcharge which is generally £624 per year.
You cannot apply for the British Ancestry Visa more than three months in advance of your intended travel date. For example, if you plan to travel on 15th September, the earliest you can apply is 16th June. You should get a decision on the outcome of your visa within three weeks.
If you would like to start your British Ancestry Visa application, get in touch with the team at IAS to find out the next steps.
If you have been living in the UK for five years with a UK Ancestry Visa you can apply for a UK Ancestry Visa extension.
This will allow you to remain in the UK for a further five years, during which time you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain.
An Ancestral Visa UK extension is also useful if you do not intend to stay in the country indefinitely, or have not decided yet but would like more time in the UK.
For more information on UK Ancestry Visa extensions
Applying for a UK Ancestry Visa can be very complex, as it involves providing many documents and proof of your ancestral history.
Our team of expert immigration lawyers is available to help you with your Ancestral Visa application.
Our services include:
- ensuring you have the sufficient documents for your application;
- locating family history using subject access requests for documents to prove that you meet the eligibility requirements;
- preparing a Letter of Representation to accompany your British Ancestry Visa application. This will offer the positives of your case and any relevant UK immigration laws which support it;
- corresponding with the Home Office while your application is processed; and
- competently completing your application in full before its submission.
Contact us on 0333 363 8577 or make an enquiry online to discuss your eligibility and application for a UK Ancestry Visa.