UK Ancestry Visa

When looking at StatsSA data, it has been found that many South African emigrants moved to the UK in the last decade – and a large proportion of them entered on a UK ancestry visa. Whilst seeming like this could be a very specific visa, it’s actually easier for some to qualify for than it is for a working visa and there is also no upper age limit. If you think that you do have the potential ancestral roots to qualify for this visa, it is best to start the application process early as it can sometimes be quite tricky. Asking an expert solicitor is often a good idea, as they can help to simplify some of the more difficult areas.

What is an ancestry visa?

An ancestry visa is available for commonwealth citizens who have a grandparent born in either the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man or Ireland (before 1922) and who wish to work in the United Kingdom. It is predominantly used by young Canadians, South Africans, Australians and New Zealanders of British descent who are coming to the UK to work. If your grandparent was born in the UK before 31st March 1922 then this can also help you with an application for an ancestry visa.

What will your ancestry visa allow you to do?

On this visa you will be able to study, live and work in the UK for up to five years, and this also means that you can apply for a UK job after you have arrived in the country without any extra need for a work visa or for sponsorship. Despite not being subject to many restrictions, you will not have access to public funds as an ancestry visa holder.

An ancestry visa is a type of UK family visa, providing you a gateway to permanent residence to the UK.

Can I bring my family with me?

If you are entering the UK on an ancestral visa, then you luckily can also bring your family with you to live in the UK. A dependent of a UK ancestry visa holder can be:

  • A spouse
  • A civil partner
  • An unmarried partner
  • A child under the age of 18 years

It is worth noting that if your children are over the age of 18 then they are unlikely to be granted a dependent visa and would have to qualify for a separate visa on their own merit. In some cases, there are exceptions, but you would have to speak to a qualified solicitor in order to ascertain whether this would be the case. All the members of your family can apply for their visa at the same time, so you would all be able to enter the UK together. You would also all be able to eventually apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain at the same time. This is the case even if the dependents have been in the UK for a lesser period of time than the ancestral visa holder, but they will still have to have fulfilled the full five-year residence period in the UK before they can get British citizenship.

Documents that you will need to provide

As well as your passport photo, you will also need to provide:

  • A valid travel document or passport
  • Evidence to support the information that you have given
  • Previous passports
  • Evidence of funds (since you will not have access to public funds on an ancestry visa)

If you are not a national of the country where you are applying from, you will also need to prove that you have permission to be in that country. This could be a current visa or a residence permit.

If you think that you can qualify for an ancestry visa then it is always worth checking with a specialist, and you can begin the process of applying. With the right documentation, then you can soon be in the UK with your family.

AWH immigration solicitors Manchester offer a specialist immigration service for those who wish to go through their immigration application with confidence.