UK Ancestry Visa

If you meet the requirements of the UK Ancestry Visa, then you could also be eligible for a British Passport. There are provisions (and anomalies) in nationality law allowing a claim from a UK-born grandparent.

Requirements of the UK Ancestry Visa

The main criteria for qualifying for a UK Ancestry Visa are:

  • Any grandparent (a grandfather or a grandmother) born in the UK;
  • You are 17 or older;
  • You have a Commonwealth Passport (this includes Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Canada); AND
  • Intention to move to the UK to live and work.

There are no financial requirements to be met, no upper age limit, and you can bring over your spouse and any dependent children.

How could I qualify for British Nationality?

Having a grandparent born in the UK means that one of your parents is (or was) British. If it can be shown that this parent is "British Otherwise Than by Descent", then British Nationality can be passed from this parent to you. In other words, British Nationality passes two generations - from your UK-born grandparent to you.

While it is a complex area of British Nationality law, the general categories are:

  • You or a parent born in a Qualifying Territory;
  • Children under the age of 18 Children can claim British Nationality;
  • You or a parent was Registered as a British Citizen;
  • Your parents were married before 1949, and your Paternal Grandfather was born in the UK.

Philip Gamble & Partners, a British Nationality and UK Immigration firm based in London, specialise in complex British Nationality cases.

How do I find out?

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

To find out whether you or your children might have a claim, take a couple of moments to complete our FREE online passport assessment.

British Nationality Assessment

More Information

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 Indefinite Leave to Remain (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.

If you have held an Ancestry Visa previously, you can rea-apply for the visa as long as you still meet the criteria of the visa.

If you hold the Ancestry Visa, it cannot be taken away from you, even if you are not living in the UK. It can be renewed after the 5 years is up, and the criteria used will be those that applied at the time of the original application. What this means is that if the UK Ancestry Visa is scrapped, you can still renew your visa.

To read more about the specific countries that contribute the most UK Ancestry Visas issued, please see:

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