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UK Ancestry Visa: Conditions of Stay

If you are granted entry clearance or permission to stay under the UK Ancestry visa, there are a number of conditions you must comply with whilst in the UK.

It is possible to obtain a UK Ancestry visa if you are a Commonwealth citizen over the age of 17 on the date of intended arrival and it can be established that you have a grandparent born in the UK. Further details of the requirements for a UK Ancestry visa can be found in our previous blog.

This post details the conditions of stay once an application for a UK Ancestry visa is successful and leave is granted. Alongside the listed conditions, you will also be allowed to bring family members, such as a spouse and children to live in the UK as your dependants.

No Access to Public Funds Whilst on the UK Ancestry Visa

Under the UK Ancestry visa, you are not permitted to access public funds. This is the reasoning behind the maintenance and accommodation requirements of the visa application. Public funds include the majority of state benefits and housing or homelessness assistance. This includes but is not limited to:

  • Attendance allowance, severe disablement allowance, carer’s allowance and disability living allowance under Part III of the Social Security Contribution and Benefits Act 1992
  • Income support, council tax benefit and housing benefit under Part VII of the Social Security Contribution and Benefits Act 1992
  • Income based jobseeker’s allowance under the Jobseekers Act 1995
  • Universal Credit under Part 1 of the Welfare Reform Act 2012 or Personal Independence Payment under Part 4 of that Act
  • Universal Credit, Personal Independence Payment or any domestic rate relief under the Welfare Reform (Northern Ireland) Order 2015
  • council tax reduction under a council tax reduction scheme made under section 13A of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 

The full definition of public funds is set out at paragraph 6.1 of the Immigration Rules which is available here.

Employment Whilst on the UK Ancestry Visa

You can take on any type of employment or self-employment, such as through setting up your own business, under the UK Ancestry visa. There are no restrictions on whether the work is on a full-time basis or part-time, paid or unpaid. 

Once granted entry clearance or permission to stay, there is no need to obtain further permission from the Home Office to work. Such work does not have to be with a sponsor for licensed Worker or Temporary Worker visas.

Studying in the UK Whilst on the Ancestry Visa

Under the UK Ancestry visa, you are able to study in the UK, subject to Appendix ATAS which is explained below. 

On the UK Ancestry visa, study should not be the primary reason for coming to the UK but it may be taken into account that studying can enhance employability prospects in the UK.

No limits are imposed on the type of course you may study or the hours of study. Studies do not need to be with a licensed Student sponsor. 

ATAS Conditions to Studying in the UK

As an exception to the usual rules on studying above, if you wish to study a subject which is listed under Immigration Rules: Appendix ATAS and are not a national of an exempt country, it is necessary to obtain an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) clearance certificate. This is obtained from  the Counter-Proliferation and Arms Control Centre of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office prior to commencing studies.

Disciplines included in Appendix ATAS are research, or doctorates or master’s by research in:

  • Subjects allied to Medicine, Biological Sciences, 
  • Veterinary Sciences, Agriculture and related subjects
  • Physical Sciences
  • Mathematical and Computer Sciences
  • Engineering
  • Technologies
  • And taught masters in related disciplines.

A full list of disciplines included and nationals who are exempt from the ATAS requirement are available here.

Registration with Police

Prior to 4 August 2022, in exceptional circumstances, an immigration officer may have imposed a condition of police registration whilst in the UK. This scheme has ended and you no longer need to register. If you were previously told to do so, you no longer need to do this.  Updated information can be found on the government website here.

Consequences of Breach of Conditions Imposed under the UK Ancestry Visa

If under the UK Ancestry visa, you breach your conditions of stay, you may be subject to any or all of the following penalties:

Obtaining Indefinite Leave to Remain under the Ancestry Visa

Once you have lived in the UK for a period of five years or more under the Ancestry visa, since the visa is valid for five years, you may be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain. This process is set out in further detail in this blog post.

However, if one or both of your parents are British citizens and you were born outside the UK, you may be British by descent. This means that you can claim citizenship without undergoing indefinite leave to remain applications and can register for British citizenship. Further information on this is set out in this blog post.

Contact our Immigration Barristers

Our immigration barristers are experts on the requirements of the 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 visa application. 

For expert advice and assistance with an application for a UK Ancestry Visa, contact our immigration barristers in London on 0203 617 9173 or complete our enquiry form below.


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