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How to Apply For a UK Ancestry Visa

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.  In this post, we look at who is eligible to apply for a UK Ancestry visa

Requirements for a UK Ancestry Visa

In order to qualify for a UK Ancestry visa you will need to satisfy the following requirements:

  • You must be at least 17 on the date that you intend to arrive in the UK if you are applying for entry clearance and if you are under 18 on the date of application, parental consent must be provided;
  • You must be a Commonwealth citizen;
  • You may be required to provide a valid medical certificate, confirming that you have undergone screening for active pulmonary tuberculosis and that this tuberculosis is not present in you;
  • You must have a grandparent born in the UK or Islands;
  • You must be able to work and intend to take or seek employment in the UK;
  • You must be able to maintain and accommodate yourself adequately without relying on public funds;

Who is a Commonwealth Citizen?

To be considered as a Commonwealth citizen, you must be one of the following:

  • a British Overseas Territories citizen;
  • a British National (Overseas);
  • a British Overseas citizen;
  • a British subject;
  • a citizen of a country listed in Schedule 3 to the British Nationality Act 1981.

A valid passport or travel document issued by a Commonwealth country can be included as evidence of citizenship.

Financial Requirement for a UK Ancestry Visa

There is no specified amount of funds that an applicant must hold for the purpose of a UK Ancestry visa application.  Home Office guidance states at page 20: “There is no set level of funds, but applicants and their dependants on these routes must instead show they  can adequately maintain and accommodate themselves and any dependants without receiving public funds (public funds are defined in paragraph 6 of the immigration Rules).” 

It is worth noting that the Home Office may accept credible promises of support from a third party, such as financial help from a relative or friend. 

How to Demonstrate UK Ancestry

You must show that one of your grandparents was born in the UK, in the Isle of Man, in the Channel Islands, in Ireland (born before 31 March 1922) or on a British-owned or registered ship or aircraft.

Your grandparent can be your blood grandparent or if you or your parents were adopted the adoption process must be valid and recognised by UK law. There is also no requirement for your parents or grandparents to have been married at the time of your birth.

Eligible dependants

Dependants of UK Ancestry visa holders must apply and be granted entry clearance before arriving in the UK. If they have been present in a country listed in Appendix T of the Immigration Rules for more than 6 months, a valid medical certificate must be provided.

To satisfy the relationship requirement, you must have been granted permission or are applying and being granted at the same time as your dependent partner. If you and your partner are not married, you must have been living together in a relationship similar to marriage or civil partnership for at least 2 years prior to the date of application. Your relationship must also be genuine and subsisting. 

Any dependent child must be under 18 on the date of application and if 16 or over, must not be leading an independent life. As above, you must have been granted permission or are applying and being granted at the same time, on the UK Ancestry route when your dependent child submits the application. Both parents must either be applying at the same time as the dependent child or have permission to be in the UK but not as a visitor. There are however exceptions to this rule, such as if the migrant on the UK Ancestry route is a sole surviving parent.  

If your dependants are applying for permission to stay in the UK, they must be in the UK on the date of application and must not have, or have last been granted, permission:

  • as a visitor; or 
  • as a Short-term Student; or 
  • as a Parent of a Child Student; or
  • as a Seasonal Worker; or
  • as a domestic worker in a private household; or
  • outside the Immigration Rules. 

How to Apply for a UK Ancestry Visa

A person applying for a UK Ancestry visa must apply online on the website on the specified form. You can apply from the UK if you have been previously granted permission on the UK Ancestry route as a person with UK Ancestry, but otherwise the application must be submitted from outside the UK. 

The visa application fee of £516.00 must be paid. As part of your visa application, you may also have to pay for the immigration health surcharge.

Indefinite leave to remain on the basis of UK Ancestry

To qualify for settlement on the basis of UK Ancestry, you must be a Commonwealth citizen on the date of application. You must have spent a whole 5 year period lawfully in the UK on the UK Ancestry route and meet the continuous residence requirement.  

Unless you are over the age of 65, or have a disability which prevents you from meeting the requirement, you must meet the Knowledge of Life in the UK and English language requirement.

In order to meet the English language requirement, you must demonstrate English language skills on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages in speaking and listening to at least level B1.

Contact our Immigration Barristers

For expert advice and assistance with a UK Ancestry visa application contact our immigration barristers in London on 0203 617 9173 or via the enquiry form below.


To arrange an initial consultation meeting, call our immigration barristers on 0203 617 9173 or fill out the form below.

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