You can apply for a UK Ancestry visa if you are the citizen of a Commonwealth country (like Canada, New Zealand, or Australia) and one of your grandparents was born in the UK.
This type of Family Visa lasts for five years and lets its holder live, work and study in the UK. After five years, someone on an Ancestral Visa can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain. This allows you to live as a settled person in the UK without being restricted by visa requirements or responsibilities. If you choose, you can then apply for UK citizenship.
You must make an Ancestry Visa application from outside the UK; you can’t apply for this category in-country. Call us on 020 3883 6530 to find out more.
Ancestry Visa requirements
You must register for British citizenship if you:
- Were born in the UK, after 1983, to one or more parents who became British citizens after your birth; and
- You have lived in the UK until you were at least 10 years old; or
- You were born outside the UK to one or more British parents
You do not need to register for citizenship if you were born in the UK to one or more parents who were British at the time of birth.
To register a child for British citizenship by birth, you can fill in an online form via the gov website, and then book an appointment at a UKVCAS centre. Here, the child will be provided with their biometric information.
Documents for an Ancestral Visa
To prove that you are eligible for this type of visa, you must be able to produce documents which prove your relationship with your stated grandparent is real and that they were born in the UK as a British citizen.
- Your full birth certificate
- The full birth certificates of your parent and grandparent who you are making an ancestry claim based on
- Marriage certificates of your parents and grandparents, if applicable
- Evidence that you plan to work in the UK (job offers, job applications, business plans)
Ancestry Visa application working requirements
To be eligible for this visa category, you need to prove that you either have a job set up in the UK, that you have been applying for roles, or that you sincerely plan to look for roles once you’re there. If you plan to be self-employed, you must demonstrate this instead.
To prove your work intentions are genuine, you can submit any of the follow documents along with your Ancestral Visa application forms:
- An official job offer from a UK company/employer
- Job applications (such as indeed applications)
- Proof that you are qualified to take on work in a specific role (for example a degree, vocational training, or some other form of qualification)
- If you plan to be self-employed, you can submit a business plan or evidence of jobs/clients you have set up in the UK
Conditions of a British Ancestry Visa
A UK Ancestral Visa allows you to do several things and is relatively non-restrictive compared to other UK visa types.
If you hold this kind of visa, you can:
- Change jobs
- Bring family members
- Extend your visa
- Use it as a path to Indefinite Leave to Remain.
- Switch onto any other visa category
- Access public funds
Fees & costs
The Ancestry Visa application cost is £516. There is also an extra cost for the NHS health surcharge which is £400 per year. On a five-year Ancestral Visa, this works out as an extra £2,000.
You can opt to pay for priority service if you want to receive a faster decision on your application. This costs an extra £800 on top of the application fee.
The UK Ancestry Visa processing time can vary from person to person, but the estimated time for which you should expect to hear back once you’ve lodged your application is three-eight weeks.
If you opt for the Home Office priority service, which incurs an extra cost, then you can receive your decision one-two working days after you have submitted your application.
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You can live in the UK with an Ancestral Visa for five years, and once this period has been completed, you can either choose to extend it or you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).
Extending it will grant you a further five years’ residency under the same conditions. ILR grants you unrestricted leave to remain in the UK for an unset period. There are conditions involved in this status – particularly for those who wish to use it as a path to British citizenship – however, you are no longer bound by visa restrictions or conditions if you hold it.
You must have at least £1,200 – £1,600 in your bank account to show that you can support yourself when you first arrive in the UK. You should show this by providing at least three months’ worth of bank statements.
Yes, you can study in the UK while holding an Ancestral Visa. Universities accept this as a valid form of entrance visa when they conduct their immigration assessments at the application phase.
You can apply for this type of visa if you are:
- A citizen of a Commonwealth country
- Outside the UK
- Able to demonstrate that at least one of your grandparents was born in the UK
- Are able to work in the UK
- Are planning to work in the UK