Who Ancestry Visa is for?
UK ancestry visa is for citizens of the Commonwealth countries who have a grandparent born in the UK and who wish to come to the UK to work. British overseas citizens, British overseas territories citizens, British nationals (overseas), or citizens of Zimbabwe can also apply for the UK ancestry visa if they both have a grandparent born in the UK and they wish to come to the UK to work.
For the purposes of ancestry visa, born in the UK means being born on the British Islands including the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.
Applicants have to demonstrate that they are able to work and intend to take or seek employment. They should have sufficient funds to support themselves and any dependants without recourse to public funds.
Applicants should be 17 years of age and over. There is no upper age limit.
UK ancestry visa is issued for five years and leads to settlement after five years of continuous residence.
It may be worth noting that in some limited circumstances there may be a parallel entitlement to registration as a British citizen if the applicant's mother is born outside the Commonwealth to a British-born father or if there was historic discrimination that was a bar to becoming a British citizen. The applicant has to have been born before 1983.
Where & how to apply for UK Ancestry Visa
Ancestry visa application is made from your country of residence or country of nationality. If you are resident in the UK in another immigration category and decide to apply for permission to stay under the Ancestry route, you have to leave the UK and apply from abroad.
You will be required to pay the application fee and the Immigration Health Surcharge for yourself and your dependants.
In order to qualify under this route, you have to have all birth certificates proving your connection with the UK born grandparent. In addition, you have to demonstrate that you are able and willing to work in the UK.
You dependants (spouse or unmarried partner and children under the age of 18 as of the date of application) can apply with you. Dependants of ancestry visa holders have the right to work in the UK.
How much money you need for the application
You should have sufficient funds to support yourself and your dependants without recourse to public funds. There is no specific amount of money you should have, but each application is considered on its own merits. For example, if you are staying with friends or relatives, you will need less funds than if you intend to rent your own accommodation. If you have a job offer or your profession is on a shortage occupation list you are more likely to rely on prospective earnings, and your earnings can be projected in line with your skills and experience. It always helps if you have savings to cover accommodation and living expenses for the initial period until you can count on income from employment in the UK.
UK Ancestry Visa application fees
The government fees include the visa application fee, which is currently £531, and Immigration Health Surcharge which is calculated as £624 per year (£3120 when you apply for a five-year visa).
If you are applying for a visa extension in the UK, the application fee is £1048. There is also the Immigration Health Surcharge of £3120 for the five year period. There is no option to extend for a shorter period of time.
Legal fees vary depending on the complexity of evidence. Typically, our fee is around £1800.
Eligibility for indefinite leave to remain
You can apply for indefinite leave to remain after five years of continuous residence with UK ancestry visa.
Absences from the UK of more than 180 days in any 12-month period break the continuity of residence. Thus, excessive absences may be a barrier to indefinite leave to remain. Alternatively, the visa can be extended for another five-year period. The extension application can be made from the UK. There is no limit on these extensions.
Continuous employment throughout the five year period is not mandatory, and intention to work requirement is met if you are working at the time of application. If you are not, you will have to demonstrate that this is a temporary state of things and that you have always had and continue to have the intention to work.
Dependants of persons with UK ancestry
This is perhaps the most privileged immigration category in the whole UK immigration system.
Dependants of ancestry visa holders include the partner and children who were under 18 at the time of the initial application.
What sets dependants of ancestry visa holders apart from dependants of other migrants is that they can join the main visa holder at any time and apply for indefinite leave to remain at the same time as the main applicant. There is no requirement for any probation period and no requirement for minimum stay in the UK, there are no restrictions on absences before applying for ILR.
Moreover, the spouse of a British citizen who held an ancestry visa before becoming a British citizen is entitled to apply for indefinite leave to remain without the usual drag of the spouse visa and without the requirement to have spent five years in the UK.
However, if the main applicant does not meet the requirement for ILR due to excessive absences, dependent family members cannot apply in their own right. The usual way forward is to extend the ancestry visa for an additional stretch of five years. If the main applicant still does not meet the residence requirements, the dependent family members may have the option of applying for indefinite leave to remain under the long residence rule.
Does ancestry visa allow me to study in the UK?
Yes, you can study in the UK and you don't need sponsorship from the university (CAS) as a foreign student. However, you will still have to pay foreign student tuition fees.
If I previously held ancestry visa to the UK, can I apply second time?
There is no restriction on the number of times you can be granted the ancestry visa. If you were in the UK on an ancestry visa before but had to leave the country before you could apply for indefinite leave to remain, you can apply again.
What if my child turns 18 before we get indefinite leave to remain?
If the child came to the UK as your dependent, they will qualify for indefinite leave to remain at the same time as you as long as they don't live independently and have not formed their own family.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.