Personal Immigration



If you are a Commonwealth citizen and have a grandparent who was born in the UK, you may be able to live and work in the UK on the basis of your UK Ancestry.

What are the main eligibility requirements?

In order to qualify for a UK Ancestry visa, you will need to satisfy UK Visas and Immigration that:

  • You are a Commonwealth citizen;
  • You are aged 17 or over;
  • You are able to provide proof that one of your grandparents was born in the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, on a British-registered ship or aircraft or in the Republic of Ireland before 31 March 1922;
  • Any such grandparent is your blood grandparent or grandparent by reason of an adoption recognised by the laws of the United Kingdom relating to adoption.

In addition to satisfying a maintenance and accommodation requirement, you will also need to satisfy the Home Office that you are able to work and intend to take or seek employment or self-employment in the United Kingdom.

What else do I need to know?

UK Ancestry visas can only be obtained from outside the UK. You cannot switch into this visa category if you are already in the UK on another visa.

You can claim ancestry if either you or the relevant parent were adopted or were born within or outside marriage in the UK. However, you cannot claim UK ancestry through step-parents.

You do not have to be working at the time you apply, but you must be able to prove that you can work and genuinely intend to take or seek employment in the UK.

If your application is successful, you will be granted leave to enter the UK for a period of up to 5 years.

You will be able to work, study and be joined by your dependent family members.

After 5 years, you will be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain.

How we can help

Our immigration barristers are experts in the UK Ancestry Immigration Rules. We can provide you with a professional assessment of your prospects of being granted entry clearance on the basis of UK Ancestry and, where appropriate, assist you to prepare a successful application for a UK Ancestry visa.


  • Applications for extension of stay

    In you wish to extend your stay as the holder of UK Ancestry visa, you will need to demonstrate that you continue to satisfy all of the requirements for an initial application set out above.

    You do not have to be working at the time you apply, but you must be able to prove that you can work and genuinely intend to take or seek employment in the UK.

    An extension of stay on the grounds of United Kingdom ancestry may be granted for a period not exceeding 5 years.

  • Applications for settlement

    In order to qualify for indefinite leave to remain in the UK on grounds of United Kingdom Ancestry you will need to demonstrate that:

    • You have spent a continuous period of 5 years lawfully in the United Kingdom with a UK Ancestry Visa; and
    • You meet the requirements set out above (including being employed, self-employed or seeking employment at the date of application and throughout most of the five years); and
    • You have not been absent from the UK for more than 180 days in any 12 month period preceding the date of application; and
    • You can provide specified documents to evidence any absence that was for a serious or compelling reason; and
    • You have sufficient knowledge of the English language and life in the UK.
  • Administrative review and Judicial review

    If your application for entry clearance, further leave to remain or settlement on the basis of UK Ancestry has been refused, our immigration barristers can advise on the merits of challenging the decision.

    If the decision-maker failed to apply the Immigration Rules or Home Office policy correctly, we can bring Administrative Review proceedings to challenge the decision.

    If the decision to refuse your application was unlawful, unreasonable or procedurally improper, our immigration barristers can apply for Judicial Review and represent you at Judicial Review hearings.


To arrange an initial consultation meeting with one of our immigration barristers, contact our UK Ancestry visa team on 0203 617 9173 or complete our enquiry form.


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