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You qualify for a UK Ancestry Visa if you hold a passport from a Commonwealth country and at least one of your grandparents was born in the United Kingdom.

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).

Strictly speaking, this Ancestry 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 Ancestry 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.


Ask Philip Gamble whether you (or your children) have a claim to British nationality.

Learn more about these routes to British Nationality:

WhatPassport.com is a specialist UK Nationality and British Citizenship site offering an online search and assessment. Claims to hold a British Passport can be complex and the site offers a quick, simple search to give you the answers. While many people qualify for the UK Ancestry Visa based on holding a Commonwealth passport with a UK born grandmother or grandfather, we have found that if you have a grandparent born in the UK, or if your mother is British or your father is British, then there are several scenarios where you can claim British Nationality and the right to hold a British Passport. This stems from Britain’s collection of British Colonies, British Protectorates and British Protected States in the middle of last century and the Nationality rules concerning what are now the countries of the Commonwealth.

WhatPassport.com is a subsidiary of Sable International.

Sable International offers a range of services relating to UK and Australian immigration. For over 20 years, we have been helping people with their UK and Australian visa applications. We assist with applications for Ancestry visas, spouse visas, work visas, Tier 1 visas, UK working holiday visas, UK dependant visas, Tier 4 visas, UK Visitor visas, sponsorship visas or UK permanent residency or indefinite leave to remain. We also specialise in UK visa extensions. If you’ve overstayed your visa, our Overstayer Status Trace service can assist to regularise your visa status.