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Ancestry Visa UK

Commonwealth citizens and British overseas nationals may be eligible to apply for a UK Ancestry visa depending on their family circumstances.

If you are looking for more information and/or legal advice regarding your UK Ancestry visa application, dial +44 (0)161 826 9783 today to speak with one of our immigration experts.

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    What is a UK Ancestry Visa?

    A UK Ancestry visa allows people belonging to the one of the following categories to live and work in the UK for five years, provided they meet the eligibility requirements:

    • A Commonwealth citizen
    • A British overseas citizen
    • A British overseas territories citizen
    • A British national (overseas)
    • A citizen of Zimbabwe

    After five years, an Ancestry visa holder may either apply to renew their visa or settle in the UK, known otherwise as indefinite leave to remain (ILR), if they are able to fulfil the relevant terms and conditions. Visa holders may also eventually apply for British citizenship.

    To qualify, one does not need to have a prior job offer, which makes the UK ancestry route more appealing. After arriving in the UK, you may get engaged in full-time or part-time work. It does not matter whether your job is paid or voluntary as long as you can cover your expenses in the UK. You may also be self-employed or pursue a study course.

    You can also bring your spouse/partner and children to the UK as your dependants. You or your dependent family members, however, will not be able to access public funds in the country.

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    UK Ancestry Visa Requirements

    Commonwealth citizens, British overseas citizens, British overseas territories citizens, British nationals (overseas), and Zimbabwe citizens may apply for UK Ancestry visas if they:

    • Have one grandparent born:
    • In the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man, or
    • Before 31 March 1922 in the territory which is now Ireland, or
    • On a British-registered ship or aircraft
    • Are over 17 years of age
    • Have sufficient financial means to support themselves and their dependants
    • Are eligible to work in the UK and intend to do so

    Proving your British heritage is the key to be eligible to apply through this route. You may also claim ancestry if:

    • You or your parent (who is the son/daughter of the concerned grandparent) were adopted
    • Your parents or grandparents were not married

    However, please be advised that step-children cannot claim UK ancestry.

    Documents Required for a UK Ancestry Visa

    You will be required to submit the following supporting documents along with your visa application:

    • Current passport or any other similar travel ID
    • Your birth certificate
    • The birth certificates of the concerned parent and grandparent based on whom you are claiming your UK ancestry
    • Documents proving that you are planning to work in the UK
    • Proof of sufficient financial means to cover your and your dependents’ (if any) expenses (such as bank statements dated within 31 days from your visa application date)
    • Documents proving that the concerned parent or grandparent of yours has changed their name since birth, if applicable
    • Legal adoption papers (in case you or your parent is adopted)
    • Tuberculosis test results (where applicable)
    • Proof of relationship if your eligible family members are applying with you (e.g. marriage certificate, birth certificates, etc.)

    Ancestry Visa UK Application Process

    You will need to apply for a UK Ancestry visa from outside the UK. You will not be allowed to switch to this visa if you are already in the UK on a different visa.

    Similar to all UK visas, applying for a UK Ancestry visa is an online process. You will have to start with creating an account on the Home Office website with your valid email ID. Please have all your supporting documents and other relevant information ready with you so as to answer the questions on the online form completely and accurately.

    Once you have completed the online form, please submit the same along with scanned copies of required documents and pay the required processing fees. Next, please book an appointment at a UK visa application centre near your location in your home country.

    On the date of your appointment at the local visa application centre, you will be submitting your passport and supporting documents at the centre as well as providing your biometric details. You may also have to attend a visa interview.

    You cannot apply for your visa more than three months before you travel to the UK.

    UK Ancestry Visa Cost & Processing Time

    Typically, the Home Office takes up to three weeks to process a UK Ancestry visa application from the day of document submission. However, this may increase if your application is incomplete or not accurate, or you are asked to submit further evidence, or your local UK embassy/consulate is experiencing an increased visa demand.

    You may avail the super priority service to get a decision in the next working day by paying an additional fee of £1,000 or the priority service to get a decision within five working days by paying £500 in addition to the usual visa processing fee.

    The processing fee for a UK Ancestry visa is £637. You may also have to pay a healthcare surcharge for yourself and your dependants (if any) while applying for the visa, which is £1,035/year per adult and £776/year per minor.

    Speak to our legal team today. They can help with any matter. Contact Us

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      Ancestry Visa Renewal/Extension in UK

      A UK Ancestry visa is valid for five years, renewable as many times as you wish thereafter as long as you apply before your current visa expires and you continue meeting the eligibility requirements. Your dependants may apply to extend their visa either at the same time as you or at any time before their current visa expires.

      To renew, you will need to apply online and pay a processing fee of £1,048 and the applicable healthcare surcharge. You will also have to make an appointment at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) service point to provide your biometric information. You can also have your supporting documents scanned at your UKVCAS appointment if you are unable to submit them online during application.

      The Home Office may take up to eight weeks to reach a decision. You will be allowed to stay in the UK during this period as long as you have applied before your current visa expiry date. However, please do not travel outside of the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man until you get a decision, to avoid the withdrawal of your application.

      Alternatively, you may apply for ILR after living in the country for five years on a UK Ancestry visa, provided you meet the relevant requirements. You can use ILR to become a British citizen eventually.

      How Manchester Immigration Lawyers Can Help

      Obtaining a UK Ancestry visa appears to be a straightforward process, but involves a considerable time commitment and several requirements that you must meet.

      It is worth noting that in the past, it was proposed several times to abolish this visa route. Although the route still exists, the onus of proving their UK ancestry is entirely on the applicants, who must convince the Home Office of the genuineness of their claim to get a positive decision on their visa application.

      Our team of expert and empathetic immigration advisers at Manchester Immigration Lawyers have the required experience and legal knowledge to assist you, even if your case is complicated. If you are seeking overall advice with your UK Ancestry visa application, or would like an immigration expert to complete your application on your behalf, we are here to help.

      Get in touch with our legal team today on +44 (0)161 826 9783, to receive bespoke immigration advice or discuss how we can help you.

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                Frequently Asked Questions

                Yes. A valid UK Ancestry visa holder can bring their spouse/partner and children to the country as their dependants. Your dependent family members do not have to be Commonwealth citizens.

                There is no automatic right of appeal if a UK Ancestry visa application is refused by the Home Office. You may, however, request an administrative review if you are sure there have been error(s) involved in your visa decision process.