UK Ancestry Visa

If you are a Commonwealth citizen (aged 17 or older) and have a grandparent who was born in the UK or the Islands, you may be able to apply for the UK Ancestry Visa. What the UK Ancestry Visa will give you is permission to live and work in the UK with a route towards permanent residence.

The UK Ancestry Visa will also enable Ancestry visa holders a right to work or study in the UK on a temporary basis with the option to settle in the UK eventually.

About the UK  Ancestry Visa Application

The UK Ancestry Visa is a potential route of entry for people who are UK descendants, namely a grandparent born in the UK, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, or Ireland prior to 31 March 1922.

Successful applicants for an ancestral visa will be granted 5 years of stay with the option to extend their Ancestry Visa for another 5 years, or pursue 5-Year Indefinite Leave to Remain should they meet the requirements.

Successful Ancestry Visa Applications

If you successfully apply for a UK Ancestry Visa, you will be able to work, study, and bring your partner and children to the UK.

In addition, your work can be part-time, full-time, paid or voluntary, and you can be either self-employed or employed by somebody else.

Switching Visas

However, you cannot switch to this visa type if you have gained entry to the UK on a different visa. You have to apply for Entry Clearance from abroad before entering the UK as an Ancestry Visa holder.

The earliest you can apply is 3 months before you travel, and at the time of application you must meet a number of requirements on top of your UK Ancestry claim.

Consulting with the skilled immigration lawyers at QC Immigration is recommended to discuss all your visa options.

UK Ancestry Visa requirements


Just like any visa, you must meet certain criteria before you can apply for an Ancestry Visa. It is highly recommended that you perform your own due diligence with your family tree research to ensure you are eligible for this visa option.

It is also important to remember that you should apply for a UK Ancestry visa before you plan any travel to the UK.

General requirements are as follows.

To meet the eligibility criteria you must:

  • Be over the age of 17.
  • Be able and intend to work in the UK.
  • Be financially independent in that you can support yourself, and any dependents you plan to bring with you, without the need for public funds.

Commonwealth nationals:

You must be able to prove that you are a Commonwealth citizen, in order to do so you must meet be either:

commonwealth citizenship countries

This can be proven with a valid passport or travel document that has been issued by a Commonwealth country. This also applies for those who have recently been naturalised Commonwealth citizens.

Ancestry visa requirements:

To be eligible for this visa, you will need to show that you have one grandparent born either:

  • In the UK
  • In the Channel Islands (Bailiwick of Guernsey or Bailiwick of Jersey)
  • In the Isle of Man
  • In what is now Ireland (before 31 March 1922)
  • On a British-owned or registered ship or aircraft if the requirements of either section 50(7)(a) of the British Nationality Act 1981, or section 32(5) of the British Nationality Act 1948, as applicable, are met

You will be required to provide supporting documents to evidence claims you make regarding the above, please see below.

UK Ancestry Visa financial requirement

According to the Home Office guidelines for the Ancestry Visa, there is no specific monetary amount required to be demonstrated by applicants.

The sole condition is that you must be able to prove you can support yourself and your family without relying on public funds.

Ancestry Visa Applications from Unmarried Parents or Adopted Children 

You will be eligible if your parents or grandparents were not legally married. You cannot, however, claim ancestry from a step-parent or step-grandparent.

You also cannot qualify on the basis of ancestry claim of having a great-grandparent or more distant ancestor born in the UK or Islands.

You will also be eligible if you or family members of your parents were adopted outside the UK so long as the adoption process is recognised as valid for work in the UK for purposes of UK law.

There are government resources for further guidance on valid adoptions.

Contact QC Immigration to make sure that you are meeting all the eligibility requirements for the UK Ancestry Visa, and receive guidance on how best to build your case to increase your chances of being granted the visa.

Our London-based immigration law team has extensive experience in this area and will be able to make sure you are pursuing the right visa route with a strong and convincing application, saving you valuable time. Our experts will review the eligibility requirements and advise you about your eligibility.

No matter where you are located in the world, our immigration experts can assist you in-person or remotely with their local UK knowledge and first-hand experience.

Documents for an Ancestral Visa

Evidence and documentation

Submitting the appropriate documentation is a necessity when applying for the UK Ancestry Visa.

When making an ancestral visa application you will need crucial documents, including and not limited to:

  • A current passport or another valid travel document.
  • Evidence that you are able and plan to work in the UK (job offers, business plan or other examples).
  • Evidence that you can appropriately support yourself and any dependants financially, such as a bank statement, dated within 31 days from when you submit your application.
  • Your birth certificate (the full birth certificate is needed not the abbreviated version).
  • The full birth certificate of your grandparent(s) (not abbreviated) that you are claiming an Ancestry Visa based upon.
  • The full birth certificates of the parent your Ancestry Visa claim is based on. The birth certificate is seen as an essential part of the documentary evidence for the application.

You may also need to provide, where relevant:

  • Evidence of any name changes for your grandparents or parents.
  • Legal adoption papers.
  • A marriage certificate or civil partnership certificate for your spouse, if they want to join you.
  • Biometric information/ biometric residence permit
  • Bank statements showing you will have enough money to support your life in the UK
  • Your tuberculosis test results if you are coming from a country that requires a TB test.

UK Ancestry Visa work requirements

In order to successfully apply for an Ancestry Visa, you must also prove that you intend on securing, or have already secured, employment in the UK.

You can do this through a job offer, business plan or similar document if you intend to be self-employed or to run your own business.

This can include unpaid voluntary work so long as you meet the financial requirements.

There are other ways that can show that you are actively seeking work or have managed to successfully seek employment, our team who has dealt with many applications – all with unique circumstances – will be able to help you prove your intention to work in the UK.

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Partner or Family Application for Visa

Partner application

Under the immigration rules, relating to UK Ancestry visa, you will be allowed to bring some family members with you to reside in the UK. The list of family members includes:

  • civil partners
  • unmarried partners
  • spouse
  • dependent minor children

Please note that if you are the partner or spouse of someone within the UK who has a UK Ancestry visa, you must apply online.

If you are applying for dependents, you need to ensure that you are able to show that adequate maintenance and accommodation requirements will be met without any recourse to public funds. You will need to evidence that you can support and maintain your partner and dependents without claiming benefits. 

You and your partner should aim to submit the applications at the same time so you can travel to the UK together. Nevertheless, partners can apply later and travel separately.

Partners already in the UK who were granted entry clearance as a short-term student, seasonal worker visa, parent of a child student visa or visitor are not eligible to apply to reside with you. The same applies if your partner has been granted immigration bail or temporary permission to stay outside the immigration rules.

If you are applying for leave to enter or leave to remain, then as part of the application process your partner will need to attend a visa application centre. At the visa application centre they will be required to submit their biometric information.

This will include a digital photograph of themselves and a scan of their fingerprints. They can attend a visa application centre in the home country that they are currently residing in.

If they are switching their existing visa in the UK, they can attend a UKVCAS service point to submit their biometric data.

UK Ancestry Visa Extension

If you do not intend to apply for an Ancestry Visa to achieve Indefinite Leave to Remain but plan to stay in the country for more than 5 years, you can extend your Ancestral Visa. This should be done before the expiration of the current permission document.

An Ancestry Visa extension grants you the right to legally stay in the UK for additional 5 years. The visa can be extended an unlimited number of times, provided you meet the latest requirements.

Family members' Ancestry Visas will not be automatically extended. They also need to apply for an extension either with you or at any other time before their current permission document expires.

UK Ancestry Visa Refused

Refusal of the British Ancestry Visa is not unusual. Among the most common reasons for refusal are:

  • Unspent criminal convictions.
  • Non-payment of the relevant fee.
  • Lack of evidence confirming the job search in the United Kingdom.
  • Insufficient funds for living in the country.
  • Lack of evidence that the grandmother and/or grandfather were born in the United Kingdom.
  • Submission of an incomplete set of documents or incorrect filling.
  • Inability to provide additional information requested by the Home Office.

UK Ancestry Visa cost

The application fee for obtaining a UK Ancestry Visa is £637. Additionally, you must pay an annual Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) fee of £1,035 per year.

How QC Immigration Can Help

Our team of legal experts can assist you in putting together an application that has a positive chance of being accepted, provided all legal and financial requirements are in place. We can highlight the important information to include, reducing any wasted time or resources on unnecessary tasks or documents. 

Our immigration law specialists will be able to provide the practical guidance that is needed to ensure your applicable traits for the Ancestry Visa are highlighted.

Please get in touch with us online book a consultation with one of our lawyers. Alternatively, you can phone us on 0203 637 8633 or email us at


What is a UK Ancestry Visa?

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The Ancestry Visa is a category of visa issued by the UK which is designed for those with British or Irish ancestral connections, offering a pathway to reside in the UK while exploring work and educational opportunities.

Who qualifies for a UK Ancestry Visa?

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Individuals over 17 years old from Commonwealth countries, British overseas territories, or Zimbabwe who can prove a grandparent born in the UK, the Channel Islands, or the Isle of Man.

How long does a British Ancestry Visa take to process?

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You can apply for a UK Ancestry Visa no earlier than 3 months before your intended trip to the United Kingdom, and a decision on your application is typically made within 3 weeks.

How much money do you need in your account for a UK Ancestry Visa?

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As per UK Ancestry Visa guidance, the UK government hasn't defined a specific monetary amount. However, you must demonstrate you can support yourself and any dependants without public funds.

How easy is it to get a UK Ancestry Visa?

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Obtaining a UK Ancestry Visa can be straightforward if all eligibility criteria are met and documents are properly submitted. Our QC Immigration lawyers can guide you through the process, ensuring efficiency and ease.

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