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UK Ancestry Visa - What Is It and How To Get One?

If either of your grandparents were born in the UK, you could be eligible for a UK Ancestry visa and be on the route to settlement in the United Kingdom. Under paragraph 186 of the Immigration Rules, you will need to fulfil the following requirements:

Requirements for a UK Ancestry Visa

(i) be a Commonwealth citizen 

A full list of commonwealth countries can be found here. This can be proved by providing your passport.

(ii) be aged 17 or over

Similarly this can be fulfilled by evidencing your passport or birth certificate.

(iii) be able to provide proof that one of his grandparents was born in the United Kingdom and Islands and that any such grandparent is the applicant’s blood grandparent or grandparent by reason of an adoption recognised by the laws of the United Kingdom relating to adoption

You will need to prove that at least one of your parents or grandparents were born in the UK, including the Channel Islands; Isle of Man; British registered ships and aircraft; and, if born before 31 March 1922, Ireland. The grandparent must be your blood grandparent or grandparent by reason of an adoption that is recognised by the UK.

(iv) be able to work and intends to take or seek employment in the United Kingdom

In order to qualify for a UK Ancestry visa you will need to prove that you are able to work and intend to work whilst in the UK. In order to meet this requirement, you will need to either:

  • Have a job in the UK;
  • Genuinely intend to look for a job and be realistically able to do this (When this is assessed, UK Visas and Immigration will look at your age, your health and whether there are any medical problems that may prevent you from taking employment).

There are no restrictions on the type of work you can do in the UK with a UK Ancestry visa. Therefore, you can work as an employee, open your own business, or combine the two.

It is important to note that, to be eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain on the basis of UK Ancestry at the end of the five years, you must be able to provide evidence that you have been working or genuinely seeking work during the five years of your visa.

(v) be able to maintain and accommodate himself and any dependants adequately without recourse to public funds

In order to meet this requirement for a UK Ancestry visa you will need to show that you have adequate maintenance and accommodation. Adequacy in relation to the maintenance and accommodation requirement means that, after income tax, national insurance contributions and housing costs have been deducted, there must be available to the family the level of income that would be available to them if the family was in receipt of income support. The income support level for a couple is currently £114.85 plus £66.90 per child, per week. You will need to therefore show you meet at least this minimum amount.

You will need to show that there is adequate accommodation for you and your dependants in the property and that there would not be any overcrowding.

(vi) hold a valid United Kingdom entry clearance for entry in this capacity

In order to meet this final requirement for a UK Ancestry visa, you will need to have valid entry clearance before coming to the UK. This means that you need to apply for a visa outside the UK.

How our immigration barristers can help

Our immigration barristers are experts on 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 application for a UK Ancestry visa.


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

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