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Individuals can apply under the UK ancestry visa category if they can prove that they are:

  • A Commonwealth citizen;
  • Seventeen years of age or over;
  • The individual plans to work or is able to work in the UK;
  • The individual can prove that without the help of public funds, they can effectively support and accommodate themselves and their dependants.

The individual must also be able to prove that at least one of their grandparents was born:

  • On a British-registered aircraft or ship;
  • In the United Kingdom as well as the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands;
  • Prior to the 31st of March 1922 in what is now known as the Republic of Ireland.

If the individual can prove their relationship to the relevant grandparent is in the legitimate line or not, he or she can claim ancestry.

An individual can also apply for the UK Ancestry Visa if they or their parents (through whom they are claiming ancestry) are adopted and the individual must also include in their application form, the evidence of legal adoption. Although, an applicant cannot claim UK ancestry through their step-parents.

The following applications under the category of the UK Ancestry Visa that can be submitted to the Home Office, UKBA are:

  • Entry Clearance as a Person with UK Ancestry
  • UK Ancestry Visa Extension
  • Dependants of a Person with UK Ancestry
  • ILR-UK Ancestry

UK Ancestry Visa Entry Clearance

If you are a common wealth citizen, you should be able to apply to come into the United Kingdom if you can demonstrate that you are 17 years old or over and you are able or plan to work, and you can support yourself in the UK without recourse to public funds.

Furthermore, applicants must show that at least one of their grandparent was given birth to in the United Kingdom (including the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man) or prior to 31-03-1922 in the region now referred to as the Republic of Ireland; or on a British registered ship or airplane.

It is important to note that you will be able to lay claim to UK ancestry regardless of whether or not your relationship to the grandparent is in the legitimate line or not. You will not be able to lay claim to UK ancestry through a step-parent. However you will be able to lay claim to UK ancestry if your relationship with the relevant grandparent is by adoption. Note that you will need to show proof of legal adoption in your application.

UK Ancestry Visa Extension

If you are currently resident in the UK as one who was granted entry clearance based on your UK ancestry, you should be able to apply to renew your UK ancestry visa prior to the expiration of your current leave. Importantly, the UK ancestry visa extension was designed to assist persons who cannot go through to their Indefinite leave to remain application at the end of their 5 years continuous residency in the UK under the route. This might be as a result of unspent criminal convictions, etc. The extension period will normally allow for the rehabilitation of the offender to enable them apply for settlement in the future.

UK Ancestry ILR

If you have resided continuously in the UK for a period of 5 years as a person laying claim to UK ancestry, you will be able to make an Indefinite Leave to remain application using the application form SET (0).

Dependants of a person with UK Ancestry Visa

The UK immigration rules defines a dependant as a partner or child of the main applicant. Please note that only child dependants who are below the age of 18 can apply as dependants. However children over 18 may still apply as dependants provided they became 18 in the country as dependants.

Entry Clearance as a Dependant of a person with an ancestry Visa

In order for a dependant of a person with a UK ancestry visa to be granted entry clearance, they must be aged 18 and above on the date of they are due to arrive in the country. Note further, that child dependants must be under 18 years of age as at the time of entry. Child dependants who are over 18 may still be regarded as dependants under the immigration rules if they become 18 in the UK having had their entry clearance in the UK while under 18. If you have a child whilst on the UK Ancestry visa, they may be able to make an application from inside the UK.

Switching into a Dependant of a Person with UK Ancestry Visa depdendant

As a result of changes to the Immigration Rules which came into force since the 1st of October, 2013, switching into this UK immigration route is now allowable unless the applicant is on a visit to the UK or is on a temporary admission or release in the country. Please note that dependants applying to switch must be over the age of 18 years as at the date of application. Child dependants applying to switch under this route must also be under the age of 18 as at the date of the application.

Extension of stay

Individuals looking to extend their stay as a dependant of a person with a UK ancestry visa are able to extend their leave to remain in line with when the main applicant (the holder of the UK Ancestry Visa Dependant of a person with a UK Ancestry Visa ILR If you are currently in the UK as a dependant of a person with a UK Ancestry Visa, you can apply for ILR at the time the person your visa is dependent on is applying for his/her ILR.

UK Ancestry Visa FAQs

Switching into the UK Ancestry Visa from another visa category is not permitted. You are only permitted to get the UK Ancestry Visa initially from your country of nationality.

To make an application under the UK Ancestry Visa category you must be 17 years old and above at the time in which the application for the visa would be made.

Applications for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) as a UK Ancestry visa holder can be put forward via the UKBA Premium Service Centres’ (PSC) same day visa service and you will receive a decision within 24 hours from the Premium Service Centres (PSC) of the Home Office.

Obtaining British citizenship is only possible where nationality is passed from one generation only. This means that you can only become British by decent where your immediate parent is British. So unfortunately, you will not be able to claim British ancestry through your grandparent.
It is important to note however there may be other routes available to you if you have other family members or ancestors who are British and born in the UK.

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