Bishop & Sewell

What is an Ancestry visa?

Ancestry visas are designed to enable Commonwealth citizens with one grandparent born in the UK to come to the UK in order to work.

What are the main requirements?

Applicants must demonstrate that:

  • they are over 17 years of age;
  • they are a commonwealth citizen;
  • they are applying from outside the UK;
  • they have a job in the UK or they are genuinely intending to find a job in the UK;
  • they have enough money without help from public funds to support and house themselves and any dependants.

Applicants must also be able to prove that one of their grandparents:

  • was born in the UK; 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.

Length and conditions of stay in the UK

Applicants can apply to come to the UK for an initial period of five years. The visa allows them to work and study and family members can also accompany them. Access to public funds is not permitted. Applicants can apply to extend this visa for a further five years.

Indefinite Leave to Remain

An application for Indefinite Leave to Remain can be made once an applicant has held an Ancestry visa for at least five years. In order to be eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain, an applicant must demonstrate that they have met the requirements listed above and demonstrate that:

  • they have spent a continuous period of five years in the UK;
  • they have sufficient knowledge of English language and have passed a Life in the UK test; and
  • they have not breached UK immigration law.

How we can help?

The requirements of the Ancestry visa are highly prescriptive and the Home Office routinely refuse applications that do not fully comply with the Immigration Rules and guidance. Our highly experienced team of immigration lawyers will assist in preparing and submitting your application to achieve the best possible outcome.

They will also fully advise on the requirements to be satisfied for extension, settlement and British nationality applications.

If you’d like to discuss matters further, please email our Immigration team on or complete the online enquiry form on this page.

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