Philip Gamble is our UK Nationality expert - read more
UK Ancestry Visa
Yes, you can. Not only are there provisions in nationality law allowing a claim from a grandparent (normally born in the UK, but they could have been born in another former British territory), but there are anomalies in the drafting of old colonial nationality law that derive British Nationality in the modern day. It's a complex area, and any claim from a grandparent would be termed a Non-Standard route to British nationality.
What are the common routes?
Let's be clear - these are Non-Standard routes to British Nationality, and will require the services of a professional nationality expert. But the the most common circumstances are:
You were born between 01.01.1949 and 31.12.1982
- You have a UK-born grandparent with a parent who was in Crown Service at the time of your birth;
- You were born in a British Protectorate, British Protected State, Mandated Territory or Foreign Country with ETJ and you have a UK-born grandparent;
- A parent was born in a British Protectorate, British Protected State, Mandated Territory or Foreign Country with ETJ and one of their parents (i.e. your grandparent) was born in the UK;
- A parent was born in a Post 1949 British Colony and one of their parents (i.e. your grandparent) was born in the UK;
- You were born in a Post 1949 British Colony and one of your grandparent was born in the UK;
- A parent was born in a British Protectorate and one of their parents (i.e. your grandparent) was born in India before 1949;
- You were born in a British Protectorate and you have a grandparent born in India before 1949;
- You were born in Rhodesia between 02.03.1970 and 18.04.1980 and you have a UK-born grandfather;
- You were born before 1966 outside of Rhodesia, your father was born in Rhodesia, and you have a UK-born grandfather;
- A parent was born after 01.01.1949 and that parent had a parent born in the UK;
- You were born in South Africa between 30.05.1962 and 31.12.1982 and you have a UK-born grandparent; OR
- A parent was born in South Africa between 30.05.1962 and 31.12.1982 and that parent had a parent born in the UK.
You were born after 01.01.1983
- You have a UK-born grandparent who was in Crown Service at the time of your parent's birth;
- A parent was born in a Post 1949 British Colony and one of their parents (i.e. your grandparent) was born in the UK; OR
- A parent was born before 1949 in a British Protectorate, British Protected State or Mandated Territory and one of their parents (i.e. your grandparent) was born in the UK.
Click here for more details on what territories are included in:
- British Protectorates
- British Protected States
- Mandated Territories
- Foreign Countries with ETJ
- Post 1949 Colonies
There are hundreds of other circumstances that would result in a valid claim but they are complex and would rely on a case-by-case analysis by a nationality expert. If you feel that you or your children may have such a claim, then we suggest you follow our 4 STEP PROCESS to find out the answer (see below).
Children under the age of 18 and a claim through a UK-born grandparent
There are additional provisions allowing children under the age of 18 to claim British Nationality from a British parent who was born outside of the UK. In most cases, this parent is classified as British by Descent, and can normally not pass British Nationality. These are generally covered by the following situations:
- A British parent has spent at least 3 years in the UK in the past;
- A British parent spends at least 3 years in the UK in the future, as long as the child is still under 18 at the time of application;
- A British parent gives birth to a child who is "Stateless" at the time of birth (in other words, the child does not automatically take on the citizenship of their country of birth or a parents' nationality);
- A British parent is in long-term employment with a UK-domiciled company, but working outside of the UK; OR
- A discretionary registration in exceptional cases (sporting excellence, for example).
Again, there are many more situations where children under 18 could qualify, and these require a case-by-case analysis of the circumstances.
How do I find out if I have a claim to British Nationality?
We suggest following our 4 STEP PROCESS, designed to simplify the complex laws of British nationality (and to avoid unnecessary and expensive application fees) to find your answer:
Step 1: Determine whether you have a Standard Route (birth in the UK before 1983, or a parent born in the UK before 1983)
Step 2: If not, complete our free Nationality Assessment
Step 3: Order a free British Passport Review
Step 4: Conduct a Status Trace
Complete our nationality assessment
If you have a grandparent born in the UK, there are possibilities that you may already meet the requirements of British Citizenship by Descent (from a British parent or a mother or father born in the UK) or British Citizenship Double Descent (from your UK-born grandparent).
If the parent through which you can obtain this Ancestry Visa spent at least 2-3 years in the UK, and you have not yet turned 18 years old (i.e you are younger than 18), then you may be able to Register as British under new UK Immigration rules. Please refer to British Citizenship by Double Descent (PG-UKM2010).
An extension to the Ancestry visa is available (strictly speaking, the visa is re-issued) to a candidate holding an existing and valid Ancestry visa. This occurs at the expiry of an existing Ancestry Visa and happens when you have NOT yet met the UK residency requirements for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).
More information about the UK Ancestry Visa
Strictly speaking, this Visa is an Employment category visa. This is because the candidate must demonstrate that they are employable and should make every effort to maintain this during their stay in the UK. It is still a TEMPORARY RESIDENCY visa, but it is formally considered WORK AUTHORISATION.
The Ancestral visa entitles holders to seek employment in any field in the UK for a period of up to five (5) years. After five years, holders may be able to apply for ILR as long as they continue to meet the requirements of their visa and have not travelled outside the UK for longer than the permissible time periods. No more than 180 whole days absence are allowed in any of the five, four, three or two consecutive 12 month periods. Contractual work travel can normally be excluded from this calculation, but advice should be sought if this to be relied upon.
To read more about the specific countries that contribute the most UK Ancestry Visas issued, please see:
Click here for more information on: