Who Is Eligible for Ancestral Visa in the UK?

Who Is Eligible for Ancestral Visa in the UK?

The UK Ancestry visa is a type of visa for non-UK residents who have some connection to the UK due to their heritage or place of birth to come to the UK to work.

There are plenty of eligibility criteria for the UK Ancestry visa, so who can apply? We’ll answer this and give you more information on the Ancestry visa in this blog.

What are the Eligibility Criteria for a UK Ancestry Visa?

What are the Eligibility Criteria for a UK Ancestry Visa?

To be eligible to apply for the Ancestry visa in the UK, you need to be either:

  • a Commonwealth citizen
  • a British overseas citizen
  • a British overseas territories citizen
  • a British national (overseas)
  • a citizen of Zimbabwe

You must also prove that your grandparent was born in the UK or Channel Islands.

There are 56 commonwealth countries and 14 British overseas territories, so millions of people are eligible to apply for an Ancestral visa for the UK.

However, applicants must also:

  • Be over 17 years old
  • Prove their intention to live and work in the UK
  • Prove their relationship with their ancestor via official documents (such as birth certificates)
  • Prove their ability to financially support themselves while in the UK with bank statements or a job offer
  • Complete and submit the application form online
  • Provide results of a negative tuberculosis (TB) test if from one of the listed countries

While applicants don’t have to have a job offer to receive a successful result on their application, they have to show their intention for work, and the viability of them finding work in the UK. So if you don’t have a job offer, you may have to provide evidence of your qualifications and experience, or a suitable business plan if you wish to start your own business once you have arrived in the UK.

You may also have to provide information regarding any health concerns you have, as those with significant disabilities may have their visa application rejected on the ground that they cannot work, and would subsequently have to claim public funds to support themselves. This is not always the case, so make sure to provide financial statements to support your application if you have a severe disability that may make working in the UK more difficult.

If you meet the criteria, you can apply for the Ancestry visa.

Are there Language Proficiency Requirements for UK Ancestry Visas?

Most people who apply for UK visas between the ages of 19 and 65 must show they have at least B1 level English by submitting an English test result or showing they have completed research or a degree in the English language. However, you do not need to provide evidence of your English language skills when applying for the UK Ancestry visa, as English is an official language of all commonwealth countries, British overseas territories and Zimbabwe. If you are eligible for the Ancestry visa, you will thus be exempt from completing a language proficiency test as you will be from an English-speaking country.

How to Apply for an Ancestry Visa

How to Apply for an Ancestry Visa

Once you have made sure you are eligible to apply for a UK Ancestry visa, you can begin gathering your supporting documents, ready to start your online application.

To apply for an Ancestry visa, you’ll need to submit:

  • A current passport (with space for your visa) or a different valid travel document
  • Your full birth certificate
  • The full birth certificates of the parent and grandparent who were citizens of British territories
  • Evidence that you’re planning to work in the UK, for example, a job offer or business plan
  • Evidence you can support yourself (and any dependents) financially for at least the first month in the UK while you look for work or accommodation, such as bank statements dated within 31 days from the start of your application

You must then complete the online application form, pay the application fee of £637 per applicant (any dependents will have to apply separately and pay the relevant fees) and pay the immigration health surcharge (IHS).

The IHS will allow you to access public services including the NHS which is free at the point of use, although you will have to pay any prescription charges as British citizens do. The charge is mandatory and the cost will change according to how long you’ll be granted residency in the UK.

Once your application is sent, you’ll receive a response from the Home Office within 3 weeks. You may then be called in for an appointment at your nearest UK visa application centre to have your biometric information (photo and fingerprints) taken for your visa. This will be printed in your passport and sent back to you.

What Are Your Rights As an Ancestry Visa Holder in the UK?

What Are Your Rights As an Ancestry Visa Holder in the UK?

Once in the UK with an Ancestry visa, you will be permitted to live, work and reside for up to 5 years. Each Ancestry visa is issued for 5 years and can be extended towards the expiration date.

There are no restrictions regarding work that Ancestry visa holders can do in the UK, except those positions reserved for British citizens such as standing as a member of parliament. You may be employed or run your own business. If you cannot find a job, you must show your efforts in searching for work to prevent having your visa revoked.

While you do have the right to study in the UK, the Ancestry visa is more of a work visa, so you cannot study full-time, as you need to be working, or searching for work. You can study part-time while you search for work, or alongside your work, however.

You can also bring your dependents to the UK with you. Dependents include:

  • Spouses, civil partners and long-term partners
  • Unmarried dependent children below the age of 18

You can bring a long-term partner with you as your dependent, however, in most cases, you need to be able to prove that you have been living together for at least the last 2 years to be considered. You can also get married in the UK once there.

Ancestry visa holders may also travel in and out of the UK as many times as they wish during the length of their visa. However, if you wish to extend your visa, you need to show your intention to continue living and working in the UK, which may be compromised by frequent or long-term visits outside of the UK.

Moreover, spending too long outside of the UK will affect any applications for permanent residency you may make at a later date.

Who Is Eligible for British Citizenship?

Who Is Eligible for British Citizenship?

If you are the child of a British citizen and were born outside of the UK, you do not need to apply for an Ancestry visa to live in the UK, you can directly apply for British citizenship. British citizenship allows you to live, work, study and vote in the UK indefinitely, with full rights, as well as obtain a British passport.

However, applicants without a British citizen relative must live in the UK for at least 5 years and have permanent residency in the UK for at least 12 months to be eligible to apply for British citizenship.

How Do You Get Permanent Residence in the UK?

After living in the UK with an Ancestry visa for 5 years – and making sure you haven’t spent more than 450 days outside of the UK during that time – you can start your application for permanent residency, also known as settlement or indefinite leave to remain (ILR). This removes any restrictions on how long you may stay in the UK.

To apply for ILR, you must:

You will then receive a response within 6 months of submission, so ensure you have long enough on your current visa before applying.

Contact Synergy Immigration Solutions for Visa Help

Synergy Immigration Solutions has a team of experts ready to provide an outstanding visa service for individuals applying for visas for the UK. If you need visa assistance, contact us today.

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