USA and the UK
What is the UK Ancestry Visa?
The UK Ancestry Visa is part of the UK Family Visa category. It allows Commonwealth citizens with at least one grandparent who was born in the UK to come to the United Kingdom. The visa is valid for 5 years, whilst in the UK you will have the freedom to live work, and study.
After 5 years you can apply for an Ancestry Visa extension or you can also apply to settle in the United Kingdom with Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), this also opens up the possibility of applying for British Citizenship.
Who is eligible?
US citizens are not eligible for this visa, but if you are a citizen of a Commonwealth country who is living in the US, then you still may be able to apply for this UK Ancestry. As well as being a Commonwealth Citizen, there are several other eligibility requirements you will need to meet for the Ancestry Visa.
These requirements include:
- Being aged 17 years or over
- Having a British grandparent who was born in the UK, Channel Islands, or the Isle of Man
- Planning to work or able to work in the UK
- Being able to support yourself financially whilst in the UK without recourse to public funds
It’s worth noting that you can still apply for this visa if you or your parent were adopted or if your parents or grandparents were married. However, you cannot claim UK Ancestry through step-parents.
You can also apply for this visa if your grandparent was born in the Republic of Ireland before 31 March 1922 or if they were born on a ship or aircraft registered in the UK or owned by the UK government.
How to apply?
The earliest that you can apply for the Ancestry Visa is 3 months before you intend to travel to the UK. You must also apply for entry clearance on this visa before you enter the UK, so you must apply from your home country outside the UK.
You can submit your application to the Home Office by filling out the online form that is available on the Gov UK website. When applying, you will also need to book an appointment at a visa application center in the US, or whichever country you are in.
This appointment is to prove your identity. During it you will have your biometric information taken, this is your photograph and fingerprints. You may also need to take your passport and some other documents with you.
How can I prove my ancestry?
Because you are applying as the relative of a British person for this visa, you must show detailed evidence of your relationship with your relative who was born in the UK.
To do this, you will be expected to provide the birth certificates of the parent and grandparent that your claim for ancestry is based on.
You may also need to provide some other documents, depending on your specific circumstances. These could include:
- Evidence that your parents or grandparents have changed their name since birth, for example, marriage or civil partnership certificates or a deed poll.
- Legal adoption papers if you or your parents are adopted
As well as providing documents to prove your relationship with your British relative who was born in the UK, there are many other types of documents that you will need to apply for this visa. Your documents will make up a portfolio of evidence to support your application and are a vital part of the application for a UK Ancestry Visa.
Documents that you will be required to provide include:
- Your current passport, with at least one blank page for your visa, or another valid type of travel document.
- Your full birth certificate
- Evidence that you plan to work in the UK, this could be proof of an offer of employment in the UK that you’ve received or a business plan if you intend to be self-employed.
- Proof that you can support yourself and any family members whilst in the UK, this can include bank statements but they must be dated within 31 days of when you submit your application.
- You may also need to submit a copy of your tuberculosis test results if you are coming from a country where you are required to take a test
- If you plan on bringing a partner with you, you will need to provide your marriage certificate or civil partnership registration.
The Ancestry Visa allows you to bring dependents with you to the UK. The family members that count as dependents include:
- your partner
- your child under 18
- your child aged 18 or over who was previously on your or your partner’s visa as a dependent
Each dependent will need to make their own application to join you in the UK. They can apply online and will also be required to have their biometric information taken at a visa application center.
Your partner or children may be able to apply from within the UK if they are already here on a visa that is eligible to switch from.
To bring your partner with you, you will need to prove that you are either in a marriage or civil partnership that is recognized in the UK or that you have been in a relationship and living together for at least two years.
How can IAS help?
Ancestry Visas can be complex, you will need to prove that you are a citizen of a Commonwealth and that you meet the other eligibility requirements.
Our expert immigration lawyers can advise you on your application for an Ancestral Visa UK. Your lawyer will discuss with you to ensure that your heritage makes you eligible to apply. They will also assess your documentation to confirm that it is suitable.
Your lawyer will write a Letter of Representation. This will reference your case, evidence, and UK immigration laws in support of your application. They will also communicate with the Home Office on your behalf. Using our services will maximize your chances of a successful result on your British Ancestry Visa. Our lawyers offer a range of other immigration services to assist you with applying for your visa.
If you want to apply for a UK Ancestry Visa, get in touch with our lawyers today on +1844 290 6312 to get started on your application.
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If your application is successful, then with the UK Ancestry Visa you may live, study and work in the UK for up to five years.
You will also be entitled to bring family members with you to the UK.
It’s worth noting that this visa does not entitle you to access public funds whilst in the UK
It currently costs £516 to apply for a UK Ancestry Visa. As well as this, you may also be required to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge which gives you access to the NHS.
You will also need to pay the same application fee for each dependent that you intend to bring with you.
After a five year period, you may apply for an extension of your Ancestry visa for another five years. You can apply for an extension as many times as you like, but each time you will need to prove that you can still meet all of the eligibility requirements.
This visa is also one of the routes to Indefinite Leave to Remain. An applicant can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK once they have lived in the UK for 5 years on the Ancestry Visa. Indefinite Leave to Remain will allow you to settle in the UK permanently and is also a stepping stone to becoming a British Citizen.
To find out more about how you could apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain, or an extension of your visa, speak to our team today on +1 844 290 6312.
You could qualify for Ancestry Visa if you are a citizen of a Commonwealth country and have a grandparent born in the UK, Isle of Man, or the Channel Islands. As well as one of your grandparents being born in the UK, you will also need to meet some other requirements to qualify.
If you are still unsure about whether you qualify for this visa, one of our immigration lawyers can assess your eligibility. Simply get in touch today on +1 844 290 6312.