This relates to UK ancestry visa guidance for entry clearance applications and renewals (extensions).
UK Ancestry Visa Guidance 2020
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. Moreover, a CommonWealth citizen can claim ancestry if either the applicant or the relevant parent of the applicant was adopted or born within or outside marriage in the UK. However, a person cannot claim UK ancestry through step-parents.
Accordingly, the UK ancestry visa requirements are that the applicant:
- is a citizen of a Commonwealth country or territory
- is applying from outside the UK
- can prove that one of his/her grandparents was born in the UK
- is an able person, who is planning to work in the UK
- is more than 17 years of age
- has sufficient funds, for him/herself and dependant family members to support the cost of living and accommodation in the UK without recourse to public funds.
An applicant needs to provide the following types of supporting documents with the UK ancestry visa application:
- Filled Online 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
- Any additional documents depending on his/her personal circumstances
How to apply for the UK ancestry visa?
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 UK visa fees for the ancestry visa entry clearance application is £516. Moreover, an applicant also needs to pay £2000/- immigration healthcare surcharge (IHS) @£400 per year for the 5-year visa. However, the IHS fee is refundable in case of application refusal.
UK Ancestry Visa Processing Time
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. Presently, the priority visa service for UK ancestry entry clearance application from outside the UK is not available at any of the UKVACs.
Can a person on ancestry visa work and study in the UK?
Yes, quite clearly, a person on an ancestry visa can work and study in the UK. And can also bring dependant family members i.e. spouse/civil partners and children under 18 years. However, Paragraph 186(v) of the Immigration Rules requires a migrant on ancestry visa to maintain and accommodate himself and family adequately without recourse to public funds.
How long a can person live in the UK on the ancestry visa?
Certainly, a person can stay in the UK for 5 years on the ancestry visa. Accordingly, can renew the ancestry visa and also apply for permanent settlement in the UK after 5 years.
List of CommonWealth Countries
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
UK Ancestry Visa Statistics
UK Ancestry Visa Success Rate
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UK Ancestry Visa Extension or Renewal Application
A person can apply for the UK ancestry visa extension (aka renewal) from 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. Therefore, the migrant 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.
UK Ancestry Visa Renewal Fees and Processing Time
The Home Office fees for UK ancestry visa renewal/extension 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 straightforward 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.
Can a person switch to ancestry visa from inside the UK?
No, an applicant can’t change (‘switch’) into the ancestry visa category if he/she is already in the UK on another visa.
UK Ancestry Visa Renewal Statistics
Dependants Grants – 2008-17
During 2018, as many as 170 decisions made relating to the UK visa ancestry dependant visa renewal applications. And there was no refusal.
ILR - Settlement
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. Accordingly, 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.
Dependant Family Members
Indeed, an applicant’s partner and children under 18 years of age can get ILR, if he/she is able to meet the following UK ancestry visa ILR requirements:
- 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
- an applicant has enough income to support him/herself and his/her dependants
- the applicant is not resorting to public funds
- the spouse or partner needs to pass the Life in the UK Test and meet the English language requirements
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:
- if the applicant is the child’s sole surviving parent
- the 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.
UK Ancestry Visa ILR Processing Time
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.
Refusal on General Grounds
Indeed, an application for settlement under UK ancestry route may be refused under General Grounds of the Immigration Rules due to:
- criminal record in the UK or another country
- provision of false or incomplete information to the Home Office
- breaching the Immigration Law
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