UK ancestry visa permits Commonwealth citizens to migrate to the UK to live and work on the basis of their ancestral ties to the UK. To qualify for this visa, candidates must have one or more grandparent born in the UK, Channel Islands, or the Isle of Man. Applicants with a grandparent born in the Republic of Ireland before March 1922 is also eligible. The qualifying grandparent can be alive or deceased. This is also if the applicant or either parent was adopted by a UK citizen and they can provide valid proof of their adoption.
Commonwealth citizens, in order to successfully obtain the UK ancestry visa, need to fulfil the following eligibility criteria:
- Applicants must be a citizen of a Commonwealth country irrespective of how the citizenship was acquired.
- Applicants must be a minimum of 18 years of age.
- Applicants must have a grandparent born in the UK, Channel Islands, Isle of Man or a grandparent born in the Republic of Ireland on or before 31st March 1922.
- Applicants must have the intention of undertaking employment whilst in the UK.
- Applicants must be able to support themselves and any dependants without recourse to public funds whilst in the UK.
- Applicants must have adequate accommodation whilst in the UK.
The Ancestry visa is valid for a period of 5 years after which the visa holder can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK and even UK citizenship. To apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain, the applicant needs to fulfil the following criteria:
- Should continue to meet all the essential requirements of the UK Ancestry visa.
- Prove they have continually spent the 5 year period in the UK and had regular employment during this time. They must not have spent more than 90 days outside the UK during the 5 years.
Applicants of the UK Ancestry visa must seek and intend to undertake employment whilst in the UK in order to support themselves and any dependants without recourse to public funds. Visa holders are free to take up any employment without any restrictions and do not require a work permit. Spouses and unmarried partners of Ancestry visa holders are issued with an Ancestry Dependency visa, which allows them the same benefits as the primary applicant.
Extending the Ancestry Visa
The Ancestry Visa is initially granted for a period of 5 year, after which the commonwealth citizen can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK. In this instance the applicant will need to prove that they have not been out of the UK for a consecutive period of 90 days.
Applicants who were issued the Ancestry Visa before April 2006 will have a visa that is only valid for 4 years. These visa holders are permitted to apply for a 1 year extension, again after which they are eligible to apply for ILR Remaining on ILR for 12 months then entitles Ancestry Visa holders to apply for naturalization or British citizenship
UK ancestry visa holders are entitled to the following benefits during their 5 year tenure:
- No requirement to be assessed under points based system. Entry in to the UK for this visa is based solely on family connections.
- No requirement of a prior employment offer. Successful applicants can work and live in the UK without restriction.
- No requirement of a work permit or sponsor.
- Applicants are not required to invest any finances in the UK unlike with the Investor category route.
- No restrictions on the type of employment undertaken during their stay in the UK.
- The opportunity to become a UK citizen through British naturalization. This visa serves as a good route to permanent settlement in the UK.