What Is The UK’s Ancestry Visa?

If you can trace your ancestry back to the UK, you might qualify for a UK Ancestry visa. This visa offers great flexibility, enabling individuals to work and study for periods of up to 5 years.

This article aims to provide comprehensive information about the UK Ancestry visa, covering its advantages, intended recipients, eligibility requirements, application procedures, necessary documentation, and associated expenses.


What is the UK Ancestry Visa?


The UK Ancestry Visa falls under the UK Family Visa classification, granting Commonwealth citizens with at least one UK-born grandparent the opportunity to reside in the United Kingdom.

Valid for 5 years, this visa provides the freedom to live, work, and study within the UK. Following this period, applicants can seek an extension for their Ancestry Visa or pursue settlement in the UK through Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), which additionally facilitates eligibility for British Citizenship.


UK Ancestry Visa Eligibility Requirements


US citizens are not eligible for the UK Ancestry Visa. However, if you are a citizen of a Commonwealth country residing in the US, you may still qualify. In addition to being a Commonwealth Citizen, several other eligibility criteria must be met for the Ancestry Visa:

  • Being 17 years of age or older
  • Having a British grandparent born in the UK, Channel Islands, or Isle of Man
  • Intending to work or being capable of working in the UK
  • Demonstrating the ability to financially support yourself in the UK without relying on public funds

It’s important to note that eligibility remains valid even if you or your parent were adopted, or if your parents or grandparents were married. However, UK Ancestry cannot be claimed through step-parents.

Furthermore, you can apply for this visa if your grandparent was born in the Republic of Ireland before March 31, 1922, or if they were born on a UK-registered ship or aircraft, or owned by the UK government.

How to Apply for a UK Ancestry Visa?


Here’s a step-by-step guide to applying for the UK Ancestry visa:

  • Fill out the online Ancestry Visa Application Form. This must be completed before coming to the UK, with the earliest application deadline being three months before your planned trip. Each dependant accompanying you will be required to complete a separate application
  • Upload any supporting papers needed to authenticate your application
  • Pay the application, healthcare surcharge, and BRP (Biometric Residence Permit) costs (details supplied below)
  • Schedule an appointment with a visa application facility in your current country of residence. This appointment is necessary for the biometric enrollment process, which includes capturing your photo and fingerprints for your BRP
  • Anticipate receiving a decision on your application within a three-week timeframe


Evidence to Support a UK Ancestry Visa Application


As part of the UK Ancestry visa application process, UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) will request several documents and pieces of evidence. These may include, but are not limited to:

  • A passport or an equivalent travel document
  • Full birth certificate
  • Proof of ancestral connections to the UK:
    • Full birth certificates of parents and grandparents to establish ancestry
    • Evidence of name changes for parents or grandparents (e.g., marriage or civil partnership certificate, deed poll)
    • Adoption papers if the applicant’s parents were adopted
  • Proof of adequate financial support (e.g., bank statements dated within 31 days before the application date)
  • TB test results (if required)
  • Marriage certificate or civil partnership registration document if bringing a partner to the UK


Required Documents

Apart from proving your relationship with your British relative, several other documents are crucial for your UK Ancestry Visa application, forming the backbone of your case:

  1. Your current passport with sufficient blank pages for the visa or an acceptable travel document
  2. Your complete birth certificate
  3. Evidence illustrating your intent to work in the UK, like a job offer or a business plan for self-employment
  4. Proof of financial capability to sustain yourself and any accompanying family members in the UK, typically recent bank statements dated within 31 days of application
  5. If required by your country, add TB test results
  6. If you are relocating with a partner, please bring a marriage certificate or civil partnership registration


How Long Can You Be Out of the UK on an Ancestry Visa?

To be eligible for ILR (Indefinite Leave to Remain), you must have five years of continuous residency in the UK. This requires spending no more than 180 days outside the United Kingdom in any given year over five years. Furthermore, it is critical to have a genuine desire to work in the UK. Prolonged absences from the UK may raise questions about your intentions and risk your visa status.

The UK heritage Visa allows those of British heritage to live, work, and study in the UK. By satisfying the qualifying requirements and presenting the relevant documents, candidates may begin on a journey to reconnect with their history while living in the United Kingdom. Apply for the UK Ancestry Visa now and begin your journey in the UK!