The UK ancestry visa is for CommonWealth citizens who can prove that one of their grandparents was a UK citizen. Certainly, a person on an ancestry visa can stay in the UK for 5 years. And also can renew (extend) and apply for permanent settlement in the UK after 5 years. Moreover, a person can work, study and bring dependant family members i.e. spouse or civil partners and children under 18 years of age. However, an applicant can’t either change (‘switch’) into the ancestry visa category if he/she is already in the UK on another visa. Moreover, a person on an ancestry visa is not entitled to public funds in the UK. Therefore, it is imperative to make an initial application for UK ancestry visa from outside the UK whilst meeting the financial requirements.
Ancestry Visa Guidance for Applications from Outside the UK
A person can apply for a UK Ancestry visa if he/she is a citizen of a CommonWealth country or territory and is applying from outside the UK and can prove that one of his/her grandparents was born in the UK. And also is an able person, who is planning to work in the UK and can meet the eligibility requirements
Eligibility Requirement for the UK ancestry visa?
A CommonWealth citizen can apply for a UK ancestry visa if his/her grandparent was born in the UK, including the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, or on a British-registered ship or aircraft. And also if a person’s grandparent was born before 31 March 1922 in the Republic of Ireland then also he/she may apply for UK ancestry visa. Moreover, a CommonWealth citizen can claim ancestry if either he/she or the relevant parent was adopted or born within or outside marriage in the UK. However, a person cannot claim UK ancestry through his/ her step-parents.
The applicant also needs to prove that he/she is more than 17 years of age. And have sufficient funds, for him/herself including dependants, to support the cost of living and accommodation in the UK without recourse to public funds. Certainly, the applicant can work in the UK on an ancestry visa.
How to Apply and Application Fee from Outside the UK
Apparently, a CommonWealth citizen can apply for UK ancestry visa up-to three (3) months prior to the travel date. For instance, an applicant can apply for a UK ancestry visa from July 1, 2019, if he/she is planning to travel on October 1, 2019.
Furthermore, an applicant needs to apply online for UK ancestry route visa from outside the UK. The cost of the UK Ancestry entry clearance visa is £516. Moreover, an applicant also needs to pay £2000.00 immigration healthcare surcharge (IHS) @£400 per year for the 5-year visa. However, the IHS fee is refundable in case of application refusal.
Ancestry Visa Processing Time from Outside the UK
Perhaps, for application processing, the UK ancestry visa is categorized as a non-settlement visa type. And the service standard of UKVI for a non-settlement visa from outside the UK is to process 90%, 98% and 100% applications within 15, 30 and 60 working days i.e. 3, 6 and 12 weeks, respectively. Therefore, it is quite likely that a UK ancestry entry clearance visa applicant from outside the UK may get a decision within 3 weeks (15 working days). However, an application may experience delays due to a host of factors such as documents verifications, interview, additional information etc.
UK ancestry visa priority service from outside the UK
Perhaps, at present, the priority visa service for UK ancestry entry clearance application from outside the UK is not available at any of the UKVACs.
Documents Checklist for UK Ancestry Visa
An applicant in order to prove his ancestry and fulfil eligible requirements needs to provide the following types of supporting documents with the application form.
- a current passport with a blank page to put the ancestry visa vignette or other valid travel identification
- bank statements to meet the financial requirement for supporting the cost of living and accommodation in the UK
- tuberculosis test results, if an applicant is coming to the UK for more than 6 months and is a resident of a country such as India, Pakistan, Nigeria etc.
- a full birth certificate of the applicant
- a marriage certificate or civil partnership registration document if an applicant’s spouse or civil partner intends to join the applicant
- the full birth certificates of the parent and grandparent on whom ancestry claim of an applicant is based on
- marriage certificates for an applicant’s parents and grandparents if they were married
- legal adoption papers if an applicant or applicant’s parents are adopted
- evidence of a work plan in the UK, for instance:
- a job offer
- a business plan for a self-employed applicant
- An applicant may provide additional documents depending on his/her personal circumstances.
Only Citizens of CommonWealth can apply for UK ancestry visa
Certainly, only citizens of 52 CommonWealth countries, exclusive of the UK, can apply for UK ancestry visa. Therefore, it is important to note that the 53 member countries of CommonWealth are:
- Africa: Botswana, Cameroon, The Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Kingdom of eSwatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia. And also Nigeria, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia
- Asia: Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, India, Malaysia, Pakistan, Singapore and Sri Lanka
- Caribbean and Americas: Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana. And also, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, St Kitts and Nevis, St Vincent and The Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago
- Europe: Cyprus, Malta and United Kingdom
- Pacific: Australia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu
Ancestry Visa Guidance for Extension Applications
A person can apply for the UK ancestry visa extension (aka renewal) inside the UK before the expiry of the 5-year entry clearance visa. Accordingly, the extension application enables a further 5-year leave to remain in the UK. However, instead of an extension, a person can also apply for settlement (ILR) under the ancestry route after 5-year if he/she meets the residency and language requirements.
Applying for UK Ancestry Visa Extension (Renewal)
An applicant needs to apply online [FLR (IR)] for extension (renewal) under the ancestry route. Moreover, an applicant needs to ADD any dependants, including children who turned 18 during the applicant’s stay in the UK, on his/her extension application.
The UK ancestry visa renewal (extension) fee from inside the UK is £1,033, which are also subject to IHS. Moreover, an applicant also has to pay £19.20 for biometric information i.e. fingerprints and a photo after application submission.
The processing time for leave to remain application under the ancestry route is 8 weeks. However, an applicant for a straight-forward case may opt for the same day 24-hr super-priority service by paying £610. However, payment for super-priority does not either guarantee favour or expedient decision, especially if an application is not straightforward. For instance, if the Home Office needs to verify the supporting documents or calls an applicant to attend an interview. Moreover, if an applicant has a criminal conviction.
Ancestry Visa Guidance for Settlement Applications
A person can apply for settlement (‘indefinite leave to remain’) if he/she is living and working in the UK for 5 years with a UK Ancestry visa. And also have spent no more than 180 days outside the UK in any 12 months of the last 5 years (known as ‘continuous residence’). Moreover, if the applicant is between 18 to 64 years of age then also needs to pass the Life in the UK Test and meet the English language requirements.
Applying for Settlement under the Ancestry Route
An applicant needs to apply online [SET(O)] for settlement under the ancestry route. And an applicant can add his/her partner and/or any children if they are applying as dependants. Apparently, the settlement (ILR) application fee under the ancestry route is £2,389 per applicant. Moreover, the application also includes an application for a biometric residence permit (BRP).
UK settlement processing time under the ancestry route
Usually, the processing time for settlement (ILR) under the ancestry route is within 24 weeks or 6 months). Perhaps, an applicant can get a settlement decision within 1 working day if he/she pays £610 extra for super-priority service. However, payment for super-priority does not either guarantee favour or expedient decision, especially if an application is not straightforward. For instance, if the Home Office needs to verify the supporting documents or calls an applicant to attend an interview. Moreover, if an applicant has a criminal conviction.
UK Ancestry Visa Refusal on General Grounds
An application for settlement under UK ancestry route may be refused under General Grounds for refusal if an applicant has:
- a criminal record in the UK or another country
- provided false or incomplete information to the Home Office
- broken UK immigration law
Can family members (dependants) apply for settlement?
Yes, an applicant’s partner and children under 18 years of age can apply at the same time as if they’re eligible.
Eligibility Requirements for partners
An applicant’s partner may qualify for settlement (ILR) under the ancestry route if he/she is able to fulfil all the following requirement:
- the spouse or partner has permission to be in the UK, provided they do not have a visitor visa
- the spouse or partner is in a genuine relationship with the main applicant and both intend to live together
- applicant has enough income to support him/herself and his/her dependants
- the applicant is resorting to public funds
- the spouse or partner needs to pass the Life in the UK Test and meet the English language requirements
Eligibility for settlement of children under UK ancestry route
An applicant’s children can apply if they:
- have permission to be in the UK, provided they do not have a visitor visa
- are not married or in a civil partnership
- will live with the applicant
- the applicant can support the children without using resorting to public funds
Moreover, both the applicant and child’s other parent needs to be in the UK legally, or currently applying to enter, remain or settle, for the child to be allowed to settle. However, an applicant’s child can also apply to settle in one of the following situations:
- the applicant is the child’s sole surviving parent
- applicant has the sole responsibility for the child’s upbringing
- there are serious or compelling family or other considerations. For instance, if the applicant or his/her child has a serious illness
Further, if the child is over 18 years of age, he/she needs to apply online.
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