What is the UK ancestry visa?

04 Oct 2023, 32 mins ago

The United Kingdom has always been a land of diverse cultures and rich history. For those who can trace their ancestry back to the UK, there exists a unique immigration route known as the UK Ancestry Visa. This visa offers a great opportunity for individuals with British ancestry to explore their roots, live, work, and study in the UK.

The UK Ancestry Visa is a visa category designed for individuals who have a grandparent born in the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands, or the Isle of Man. This visa is not only a gateway to the UK, but also provides a pathway to full British citizenship for those who meet the eligibility criteria.

To be eligible to apply for an ancestry visa, you must demonstrate that:

  • you are over 17 years of age;
  • you are a Commonwealth citizen (including British Overseas Territories citizens, British Nationals (Overseas), British Overseas citizens and British subjects);
  • you are applying from outside the UK from a country where you are lawfully resident;
  • you are able and genuinely intend to work in the UK (this can include voluntary work);
  • you have enough money to support and accommodate yourself and any dependent family members without having to rely on public funds.

You must also be able to prove that one of your grandparents:

  • was born in the UK or Islands (i.e., the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands); or
  • was born before 31 March 1922 in what is now the Republic of Ireland; or
  • was born on a British-registered ship or aircraft.

If your application is approved, you will be issued with a visa which will be valid for five years.

At the end of this period, you can either apply to extend your visa, or, if you satisfy the requirements, apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK (otherwise known as settlement).

As an ancestry visa holder, you are permitted to work in the UK (including self-employment and voluntary work) without restriction. You are also permitted to study in the UK, subject to certain conditions.

While the UK Ancestry Visa offers an exciting opportunity, applicants may encounter challenges during the application process. One common obstacle is the availability of original documents, especially when tracing ancestry back several generations. Birth certificates and other historical records may be lost or difficult to obtain, potentially causing delays or complications. Moreover, discrepancies in names or dates on documents can raise concerns during the application review.

To navigate these issues successfully, it is advisable to seek the assistance of immigration experts. We can guide you through your application, help you resolve discrepancies, and ensure that your application is complete and accurate.

How Gherson can assist

Gherson’s Immigration Team are highly experienced in advising on family immigration matters. If you have any questions arising from this blog, please do not hesitate to contact us for advice, send us an e-mail, or, alternatively, follow us on TwitterFacebookInstagram, or LinkedIn to stay-up-to-date.

The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please do not hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.

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