Ancestral Ties to UK could open up your Visa Route

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Ancestry Visa Route to the UK

If you were born in the commonwealth, did you know that you could have ancestral ties to the UK? If your grandparents were born in the UK, the Channel Islands, or the isle of Man you maybe entitled to live and work in the UK for an initial period of five years with the Ancestry Visa.

The UK Ancestry Visa criteria is quite simple

  • You are a commonwealth Citizen
  • Are able and plan to work in the UK
  • Have sufficient funds to support and accommodate yourself and any dependents
  • Aged 17 or older
  • Most importantly, you can show that you have a grandparent born
    • In the UK, including the isle of Man or the Channel Islands
    • Prior to the 31st of March 1922 in what is now Ireland
    • On a British registered ship or aircraft

Unfortunately, the Ancestry rights stop at your grandparents so any UK ancestors further back from them will not be eligible. If you have a parent who was born in the UK, then you can apply via the ‘Right to Abode’.

To make an application, you would need to provide the following documentation about yourself

  • Current passport
  • Bank statements to show you have enough money to support yourself
  • A tuberculosis test  if you’re from a country where you have to take the test
  • Your full birth certificates
  • your marriage certificate or civil partnership registration document if your husband, wife, or civil partner wants to join you
  • legal adoption papers if you or your parents are adopted
  • evidence that you are planning to work in the UK, for example job offers you have received or a business plan if you are self-employed

Its worth noting, The Ancestry visa does not require that you have a job offer or position prior to applying, only that you have an intent to work. You will be required to evidence your intent, so have a plan about what jobs you will be wanting to do and how you plan to find work.

The Ancestry documents you would need to provide to support your application include

  • the full birth certificates of the parent and grandparent your ancestry claim is based on
  • marriage certificates for your parents and grandparents if they were married

What if I cannot find my grandparents evidence?

This is a familiar problem as documents such as birth certificates can get lost through people’s lifetimes. Trying to find evidence for someone you might not have even met can be difficult, but there are websites where you can apply for copies of birth and marriage certificates. These are regional so it helps to know where your grandparent was either born or married.

For England and Wales

Certificates cost £11 and are sent 4 days after you apply. If you do not have a GRO index reference number, you’ll have to pay £3 extra for each search. Certificates are sent 15 working days after you apply. If you need the certificate sooner, you can use the priority service for £35. It will be sent the next working day if you order by 4pm. Extra copies are the same price.

For Scotland

One certificate (any type) – £12, Two or more certified copies of the same certificate (must be ordered at the same time) – first certificate will cost £12, each additional copy will cost £10. Priority service – £15 per certificate in addition to the certificate fee. If multiple copies of the same certificate are ordered, the priority fee is only charged on the first certificate.

For Ireland

One Certificate (any type) – £15.00, 2 or more certified copies – first certificate costs £15, each additional copy £8

Always check the detail

The UK visa application process can be extremely frustrating and expensive! You obviously want a successful application, so it is important to minimise the chances of a failed application by ensuring all the evidence you are submitting is correct and within the criteria. The full list of criteria is on the UK Gov page

As an immigration expert of many years, I have seen lots of applications fail due to wrongly interpreted criteria, or lack of evidence submitted, so its worth having your application checked prior to submitting.

If you’d like to discuss a new application or require some advice on an existing application you can  contact us on or book an appointment

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