Ancestry Visa

A UK Ancestry visa is one of the most popular routes to UK residency. To check if you qualify, call us on 0203 909 8399 or contact us online.

If you are a Commonwealth citizen and have a grandparent who was born in the UK, you could be eligible for a UK Ancestry Visa.  You can live and work in the UK for a period of up to five years with an Ancestry visa, as well as exit and re-enter the UK freely on multiple occasions.


To be eligible, you must show that:

  • You are a Commonwealth citizen
  • You are aged 17 years or over
  • You have a grandparent who was born in the UK
  • You are able to work
  • You intend to take employment in the UK
  • You are able to support and house yourself and any dependants without recourse to any public funding

You may bring your spouse, partner and/or dependent children with you. They are allowed to stay for the same time as you are and there usually aren’t any restrictions relating to their employment.

UK born grandparent

An applicant must be able to provide proof that one of their grandparents was born in the UK and is the applicant’s blood grandparent or grandparent by reason of a UK recognised adoption. The grandparent must have been born:

  • in the UK (this includes the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man)
  • in what is now the Republic of Ireland before 31 March 1922, or
  • on a British registered ship or aircraft

The applicant’s relevant grandparent may be in either the legitimate or illegitimate line. This means that they or their relevant parent’s birth may be either within or outside marriage.

Employment/seeking employment requirement

An applicant in the UK ancestry category must prove they can work and intend to take or seek employment in the UK. For the applicant to meet this requirement, they must satisfy they either:

  • have a job in the UK
  • genuinely intend to look for a job (or become self-employed) and are realistically able to do this.

The applicant need only demonstrate they are able to work and genuinely intend to seek employment.

Adoption cases

If the applicant or their parent is adopted, they will meet this requirement if they can prove one of the following:

  • they have been adopted by someone who has a parent born in the UK
  • one of their parents was adopted by someone born in the UK •
  • their grandparents by birth (blood grandparents) were born in the UK

The adoption must be through an adoption process recognised as valid for the purposes of UK law. An applicant cannot claim UK ancestry through step-parents.

Maintenance and accommodation

The applicant is required to maintain and accommodate themselves and any dependants adequately without recourse to public funds. Usually, funds have to be in the applicants account maintained for a minimum of 3 months.


Ancestry visas are normally issued for five years. At the end of that period, if you have lived in the UK continuously – spending fewer than 180 consecutive days outside of the country – you may apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).

If you have an Ancestry visa that was issued before April 2006, this period will most likely be for four years. If your Ancestry visa is for four years, you may apply for a one-year extension and then for ILR.

After spending 12 months on ILR, you may be eligible to naturalise as a British citizen and gain UK citizenship.

Further information, help, and advice

As one of the leading immigration solicitors in Holborn London, we also work on a broad range of other immigration application with an experienced in-house team of solicitors to represent applicants who have grounds to apply visas that involve marriage, civil partnership, asylum, human rights, and the European Union free movement.

For further help or information Get In Touch

Frequently Asked Questions

I can’t raise the funds to sustain myself in the UK for Ancestry Visa

When applying for an Ancestry visa you must have around £1200 – £1600 in your account 90 days prior to your date of application.

Now let’s be clear: You don’t have to raise these funds yourself.

A lot of applicants secure these funds through a sponsor (something the UK government fully supports). You can always use a close confidant as your sponsor – a parent, colleague or friend will do. They will need to send the UK government a formal letter of sponsorship stating that you possess the requisite funds to sustain yourself during your first few months of living in the UK.

I don’t have my grandparent’s original birth certificate.

This is the most common difficulty we come across, and the one with the simplest solution. If you don’t have your grandparent’s birth certificate or your parents’ marriage certificate, just give us a shout and we’ll source it for you. We’ll get hold of the original, unabridged document and make sure it gets posted directly to us, safely and securely.

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