Ancestry Visas to the UK

What is an Ancestry Visa?

An Ancestry Visa allows Commonwealth citizens who have a grandparent born in the UK, the Isle of Man, or the Channel Islands to live and work in the UK for five years.

What You Can Do

If at least one of your grandparents was born in the UK, the Isle of Man, or the Channel Islands, regardless of whether they are still alive, you are eligible to apply for a UK Ancestry Visa.

Before 2006, the visa allowed successful applicants to live and work in any job in the UK for four years. These applicants can now apply for an extension on their visa. All successful applicants now receive a visa that is valid for a period of five years. Employment opportunities are unrestricted; Ancestry Visa holders can work in any jobs throughout the full five year term.

After five years, as a foreign national on a UK Ancestry Visa you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), or permanent residency.

Unless you are under 18 years or over 65 years of age, you must have sufficient knowledge of the English language and of life in the UK to gain ILR approval. For more information about the official Life in the UK test, or to take the Visa Bureau preparation test, take a look at our website. It is important to remember if you spend more than two years abroad after being approved ILR, your residency status may be revoked.

After one year of permanent residency, you may be approved British citizenship.

What You'll Need

To get approval for a UK Ancestry Visa, you will need to prove your British ancestry to the UK immigration authorities, and that you will be able to financially support yourself without accessing public funds.

You will also need to declare any medical problems to authorities, so they can assess whether you will use valuable resources within the health system.

If your passport expires while you are living in the UK on an Ancestry Visa, you must apply for a new passport from your country of origin and request a transfer of conditions.

Security

The Home Office requires you to declare any criminal offences you may have had charged against your name, even if they are minor offences such as drink driving. The Government will deny your application for an Ancestry Visa if they feel you might threaten the security of UK citizens and residents.

How to Apply

You should first see if you are eligible for a UK Ancestry Visa by taking an assessment test. The Visa Bureau website provides a free online assessment to see if you match the requirements as determined by the UK Government.

You must also apply for the UK Ancestry Visa while you are still in your country of origin.

  • To find out more about UK Ancestry Visas, visit the UK Ancestry Visa section at the UK Visa Bureau.