Ancestry versus Spouse visa – Which one do you qualify for?

Nov 3, 2023

There are numerous visas available to enter the UK. The qualifying criteria as well as the requirements and costs can be very overwhelming. Everyone’s situation and family history are different, the laws are constantly changing, and there are so many websites and opinions.

Below we have differentiated between an Ancestry visa and a Spouse visa along with all the information related to both. You can compare the information and apply it to your situation to gain a better understanding of which may be best for you.

If you would like some assistance and insight into your unique situation, please get in touch with us for your free 10-minute consultation with one of our expert immigration lawyers.

Main Factors UK Ancestry visa Spouse visa UK

You must prove:

  • You are aged 17 or over
  • Have enough funds available without support from public funds to provide for yourself and any dependants
  • Intention to work in the UK
  • One of your grandparents was born in the UK

You must prove:

  • You are in a genuine and eligible relationship with a British citizen, or a person settled in the UK
  • You meet the financial requirement
  • You have suitable accommodation in the UK

You meet the English language requirement: at least level A1 for your first visa application

Financial Requirement There is no set level of funds to show. However, there should be enough funds to cover the cost of trips, maintain and accommodate yourself, and any dependants joining them in the UK without any recourse to public funds. You must prove an income of at least £18,600 a year unless you meet the stated exemptions.
Visa fees effective from October 2023 £637 per applicant

£1,846 if your application is made outside the UK

£1,048 if your application is made inside the UK

Processing time It can take up to 3 weeks for decision to be made.

It can take up to 24 weeks for a decision to be made when applying outside the UK.

When applying inside the UK, the decision will usually be made within 8 weeks.

Initial Period


Extension Period

5 years


Another 5 years (optional) or apply for settlement (ILR)

2 years and 9 months


2 years and 6 months

  • Be able to leave and re-enter the UK freely.
  • Be able to work without any conditions.
  • Family members can apply and join with you as dependants.
  • Be able to study in the UK.
  • No set funds to show for financial requirement
  • After initial period, you can apply for straight settlement in the UK (ILR). No extension required.
  • Quicker decision.
  • Be able to leave and re-enter the UK freely.
  • Be able to work without any conditions.
  • Family members can apply and join with you as dependants.
  • Be able to study in the UK.

We can help you apply for the relevant visa, Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), citizenship and more. Simply get in touch and allow us to help you make this a reasonably stress-free move!

This reflects the law and market position at the date of publication and is written as a general guide. It does not contain definitive legal advice, which should be sought in relation to a specific matter.
Sherry Fitzgerald

Sherry Fitzgerald

Partner, Head of Immigration

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