UK Ancestry Visa

UK Ancestry Visa

One of the best routes to gaining British citizenship is the UK Ancestry Visa. This visa allows those who have a special connection to the UK via a grandparent or indeed their own nationality to gain British citizenship. In this article, we will look at the UK Ancestry Visa in more detail and look at who is eligible and what benefits you gain from being eligible for UK Ancestry Visa.

Who is eligible for a UK Ancestry Visa?

There are several ways in which you can be eligible for a ancestry visa;

  • You are a Commonwealth citizen
  • You are applying from outside the UK
  • You are able to prove that one of your grandparents was born in the UK
  • You are able and planning to work in the UK
  • You meet the other eligibility requirements of the visa
  • You are 17 or over
  • You have enough money without help from public funds to support and house yourself and any dependants
  • Plan to work in the UK

These are very much in line with most of the UK's visa routes and perfectly achievable if you are eligible. If you are concerned about your eligibility then please get in touch and we can work out if you are eligible and help you to form your application.

How early can I apply?

You can apply for the UK Ancestry Visa up to three months before travelling. It is worth applying as early as possible to ensure that you have the best chance of success. You will also need to take the time that it takes to process the application in to account. The Home Office faces large backlogs at many stages of the year and it is worth bearing this in mind when considering when you will lodge your application for a UK Ancestry Visa. You will usually receive a reply within 3 weeks, but it is worth leaving significantly longer than that to make the application.

How much does the UK Ancestry Visa cost?

The application fee is £496 - you will also need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge so that you can gain access to free at the point of use healthcare in the UK once you arrive. The Immigration Health Surcharge is taken at the time of application and as it is based on how long you intend to stay you may need to pay a large sum upfront.

The Immigration Health Surcharge covers all of your GP and hospital costs and ensures that you enjoy a seamless experience when using healthcare while you stay in the UK. You will be entitled to sign on with your local GP and have access to the local services that are provided in your area. For more information please visit the NHS website where you will find out more information about healthcare in your local area.

How long before I get a decision?

The standard processing time for the UK Ancestry Visa is three weeks so you must ensure that you leave plenty of time for processing before travelling to the UK.

Please note that these are standard times and are subject to how busy the Home Office is at the time that you apply. You should apply as early as possible to maximise your chances of getting your visa processed in time to travel to the UK.

How long can I stay in the UK?

Up to 5 years, but you can apply to extend and/or settle at the end of this period. You will be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after 5 years and you can apply to be a British citizen after spending at least 12 months in the UK with Indefinite Leave to Remain.

This route is a very popular one for those with a connection to Britain and is very valuable to those that do have this connection - if you have a connection to the UK this is probably the ideal visa for you. If you are not sure as to whether this is the right visa for you or indeed for advice on any immigration query then please give us a call and we'll be more than happy to discuss your case with you.

What can I or can't I do?

As you can imagine like any other visa route there are things that you can or cannot do while in the UK on a UK Ancestry Visa these include:

You can:

  • Work
  • Study
  • Bring family members

You can't:

  • Change ('switch') into this visa if you're already in the UK on another visa
  • Get public funds (such as welfare benefits)

You can work freely on this visa and that is one of the major factors that make it quite so appealing to those who have a connection to the UK. Certainly when compared to a Tier 2 General Visa it is clear that there are significant benefits to the UK Ancestry Visa that cannot be matched.

Can I become a British citizen with a UK Ancestry Visa?

Yes, you can become a British citizen via the same route that the other visas use - Indefinite Leave to Remain. After spending at least 12 months in the UK after receiving Indefinite Leave to Remain you will be able to apply to become a British citizen. This is the ideal target for many on the visa and it is very achievable via the UK Ancestry Visa route.

Because of your British ancestry you should not face too many issues when applying for British citizenship but if you are unsure or need any help then please speak to one of our immigration solicitors and we'll be only too happy to guide you through the process.

How we can help

Our immigration lawyers are highly trained and experienced in helping people just like you with their immigration queries. So for more information on the UK Ancestry Visa or any other immigration or visa query then please get in touch today and we can begin to help you with your individual case.

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