Who Qualifies for UK Ancestry Visa and How to Apply?

Immigration Tips
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Are you planning to apply for an Ancestry Visa in the United Kingdom? This guide will tell you who is eligible, how to apply, and what the requirements are for the initial application. If you’re wondering who qualifies for a UK Ancestry Visa, it’s available to qualified applicants who can prove that they have a UK ancestry visa holder.

If you’re eligible, the visa allows you to live and work in the UK for up to five years. This category leads to settlement and British citizenship or British nationality. You can then apply for a British passport. Let’s take a closer look at the eligibility requirements and application process for people who choose to take the Ancestry Visa route for a successful application. If your application is successful you will be issued with a biometric residence permit.

Who Can Apply for a UK Ancestry Visa?

Who Qualifies for UK Ancestry Visa Application

Eligible persons who can apply for a British Ancestry Visa are Commonwealth nationals or citizens, British overseas citizens, British Overseas Territories citizens, overseas British nationals, and Zimbabwe citizens. The application must be made from your home country and the main applicant will require prior entry clearance at a visa application centre. Aside from the aforementioned, a UK Ancestry Visa applicant must also show that they are at least 17 years old and older; with enough sufficient funds to support themselves and their dependants, if any; and will work (job offer) or find work in the UK.

In terms of ancestry, the applicant should be able to show proof that:

  • Either grandparent was born in the UK, the Channel Islands, or the Isle of Man
  • Either grandparent was born in (now) Ireland before March 31, 1922
  • Either grandparent was born on a ship or an aircraft that belonged to or was registered in the UK.

Should the applicant be adopted or if his/her parents were adopted, the adoption should be a recognized valid process under UK law. Whether or not the grandparents or parents were married bears no consequence to the UK Ancestry Visa application as long as the rest of the requirements are fulfilled.

In the case of the applicant’s partner who is considered his/her dependant, one of the following must be proved:

  • The applicant and his/her partner are in a civil partnership or marriage recognized by UK law
  • The applicant and his/her partner should be in a relationship and living together for at least 2 years (unmarried partner) before the application

In the case of the applicant’s dependent children, the requirements are as follows:

  • The child must be under 18 years of age. Should the child be 18 or older, s/he must be included as a dependant on a previous visa
  • The child must not be in a civil partnership, married, or have children
  • The child must be supported by the applicant’s funds or savings and not use any public funds
  • Unless the child is in a boarding school or away from home for education, s/he must live with the applicant

How to Apply for a UK Ancestry Visa?

Qualifies for UK Ancestry Visa

At least 3 months before the intended date to travel to the UK, an applicant may already apply for a UK Ancestry Visa. Through the online application, the applicant may also be required to have an appointment at an visa application centre.

In the application center, the applicant’s biometric information such as fingerprints and photographs will be taken. It would also be wise to have all the required documentation when going to the application center.

The applicant’s dependants and other family members are required to apply individually online.

If the applicant’s dependants are already inside the UK on a different visa, they can switch to the Ancestry visa if you are already in the UK and only if they are not:

  • Under the visas for Visitor, Short-term Study, Seasonal Worker, Parent of a Child Student or Domestic Workers in a Private Household.
  • Under immigration bail or permitted to stay due to several factors.

If the dependants have one of the previously mentioned cases or visas while inside the UK, they would need to apply from outside the country.

Once the visa is approved, the applicant would need to stay in the UK for 5 whole years while maintaining the continuous residence requirements. The Ancestry Visa holder may also opt to apply for an Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) as long as he or she is still a Commonwealth citizen.

However, if the applicant (1) is already over the age of 65 during the application for ILR or (2) may have a disability that prevents him or her from meeting the requirements for ILR; both the “Knowledge of Life in the UK” and English language requirements should be fulfilled.

Requirements to Apply for a UK Ancestry Visa:

Ancestry Visa applicants and their dependants who apply for a UK Ancestry Visa will need to prepare for the fees required. The Ancestry Visa costs £516 along with some other costs such as the immigration health surcharge. It’s recommended that you have documentation to support the following requirements before your appointment at the application center.

Documentary Requirements:

  • Up-to-date and valid passport with at least 1 remaining blank page for the Ancestry Visa or a valid travel document
  • Original birth certificates of the (1) applicant, (2) parents, and (3) grandparents, the last two of whom the Ancestry Visa claims are based on.
  • Job offers, business plans, or current employment—any of which should be within the UK.
  •  One or more of the following documents to prove you meet the financial requirements: bank statements, personal savings account, payroll receipts, or potential salary offer.
  • The Financial Requirements for applying for the Ancestry Visa are not specific, so long as the applicant can support him/herself and his or her dependants without relying on public funds.
  • Financial help from a credible relative or a friend may also be a form of proof for financial requirements.

Supplementary Documentary Requirements:

The below would only be required depending on the applicant’s circumstances:

  • Any change of name from the applicant’s parents or grandparents should be backed with proof such as dead polls, marriage certificates, or civil partnership documents.
  • Adoption papers if either the applicant or his/her parents were adopted.
  • Tuberculosis test results, should the applicant be coming from any of the countries listed here on the UK Home Office website.
  • Marriage certificate or civil partnership document of the applicant’s partner who would also apply for an ancestry visa through the dependant route.


The good news is that applying for a UK Ancestry Visa shouldn’t be difficult, especially not with the help of expert immigration solicitors adept in UK immigration rules like My Legal Services.

If you would like more information on UK Ancestry Visas or if you’re ready to apply, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the team at My Legal Services. We have a wealth of experience and expertise in this area and would be more than happy to help you through every step of the process with your UK visas from start to finish, even with refusals and appeals.

Simply contact us here or give us a call at 02037 324 736 for a free consultation or to speak to our team about your next step for starting your new life in the UK, no matter what type of visa you might need.

You can always count on My Legal Services to deliver expert legal advice. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

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