Ancestry Visa

Is or was one of your grandparents a British Citizen but your parents are not? This visa may apply to you.

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The UK Ancestry route enables Commonwealth citizens, British overseas citizens, British Overseas Territories citizens or British national (overseas) who have at least one grandparent born in the UK, the Channel Islands or Isle of Man to come to work, study and eventually settle in the UK.

Applicants can work and study in the UK. Dependants can join main applicants and after continuous residence of 5 years they qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK.

How we can help

We have significant experience in UK Ancestry applications, we assist clients by ensuring the application is sound to increase their chances of a successful application.  Herrington Carmichael’s experienced Immigration team can ensure your application is managed in a co-ordinated manner, with you kept updated every step of the way.


Who can apply for a UK Ancestry Visa?
The Ancestry visa can be applied for if you are:
  • A Commonwealth citizen
  • a British overseas citizen
  • a British overseas territories citizen
  • a British national (overseas)
  • a citizen of Zimbabwe
What are the eligibility requirements for the UK Ancestry visa?

You are aged 17 or over

  • You have enough money to support yourself, and your dependants
  • You intend to work in the UK
  • You have a grandparent born in one of the following circumstances:
    • In the UK, Channel Islands or Isle of Man
    • Before 31 March 1922 in Ireland
    • On a ship or aircraft that was either registered in the UK or belonged to the UK government
  • People from countries with high levels of TB (tuberculosis) will be required to do a TB test to demonstrate that they are not ill or carriers of the disease.

If you are from a non-English speaking country, you will need to fulfil the English language requirement. You can do this through providing evidence in one of the following ways:

  • Write and pass the SELT test at the level of at least A1 at an approved English language test centre to prove your English language ability. You will need to include your pass certificate in your portfolio of evidence to submit to the Home Office.
  • You hold a degree or higher qualification taught in English at an educational institution recognised by NAIRC
  • You are over 65
  • You are a recognised refugee
  • You are living in the UK as an orphan or widow
  • You are a victim of domestic abuse
  • You have a mental or physical condition which prevents you from sitting the exam


Are there any financial or other relevant requirements?
  • You need to prove you have enough money to support yourself (and dependants, if applicable) without the help of public funds
  • Plan to work in the UK and have the ability to
  • You do not have an English Language requirement however you will need to prove your English skills when applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain
  • Adopted children and grandchildren can also apply. Children of parents who were adopted may apply. As can children whose parents were not married. Step-children will not be able to claim ancestry.
  • You may need to do a TB test if you are from a qualifying country. 
  • You will need to provide biometric information by attending an appointment at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) service point in your country.
Can I bring my dependants on this visa?

Both your spouse or partner and your children can join your UK Ancestry Visa application as dependants. You will need to provide evidence of your relationship when you apply.

A dependent can by any of the following:

  • Your partner
  • Your child(ren) under 18
  • Your child(ren) over 18 who was previously on your partners visa before turning 18


What are the requirements for my partner?

You will need to prove your relationship with your partner with one of the following:

  • You are in a civil partnership or marriage that the UK recognises
  • You have been living together for a minimum of 2 years when applying
  • You have been in a relationship together but due to circumstances, have not been able to live together. Circumstances may include working or studying in different locations, or it is not accepted in your culture/religion. 

In the case that you are not living together, you will need to provide evidence of your commitment:

  • Regular communications (WhatsApp messages over the years, emails, phone calls, social media, etc)
  • Proof of financially supporting one another
  • Caring for any children together
  • Photos and proof of spending time together on holidays, at events, etc. 
What are the requirements for any children? 

Your child(ren) must:

  •  Live with you permanently (unless they are in full-time education at a boarding school or tertiary institution)
  • Not be married, have children or be in a civil partnership
  • be supported by you without the use of public funds.
What if I have a child in the UK while on the visa? 

Your child will not automatically become a British citizen. You will need to add them as a dependent on your visa. 

You will need to provide a full UK birth certificate for the child born in the UK, showing the names of both parents. They will need to be on your visa for travel into and out of the country. 

How long can I stay in the UK on this visa?

You can stay in the UK for up to 5 years on this visa. 

Will I need to extend my visa?

The Ancestry visa allows you to stay in the country for 5 years. After 5 years you can either apply for indefinite leave to remain (settlement) or you can extend your visa. 

If you choose to extend your visa, the extension will be valid for another 5 years and you will need to apply for each dependent on your visa as well as pay the extension fee of £1,048 per each person applying and the healthcare surcharge of £1,035 per year of the visa per person. 

Does the UK Ancestry visa lead to settlement in the UK?

Yes, subject to meeting eligibility requirements, this visa can lead to indefinite leave to remain (ILR) in the UK after 5 years in the UK on this route. After 12 months on ILR, you can apply for British Citizenship.

What does the visa cost?

It costs £637 per person for the visa and you will most likely need to pay the IHS (healthcare) surcharge. The surcharge is currently £1,035 per year. Since this visa is for 5 years, you will need to pay for the 5 years upfront for each dependent. 

How long does it take to get a decision on a UK Ancestry visa?

You should get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks of submitting the application from overseas, or within 8 weeks of submitting your application from within the UK. Please note, these timeframes are a guideline, and some applications do take longer to receive a decision.

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