UK Ancestry Visa guidance and FAQs for applications and renewals!

Ancestry visa guidance and financial requirementsThis relates to UK ancestry visa guidance for entry clearance applications and renewals (extensions). Accordingly, the post covers the following topics:

  • UK ancestry visa guidance: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
  • Ancestry Visa Guidance for Renewal (Extension) Applications
  • Ancestry Visa Guidance for indefinite leave to remain ILR (Settlement) Applications

UK ancestry visa guidance: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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.

Which countries are part of the CommonWealth?

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

How long can a person live in the UK on the ancestry visa?

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.

Can an applicant work and study and bring dependants?

Yes, an ancestry visa applicant can work and study in the UK. Moreover, the migrant can bring dependant family members i.e. spouse or civil partners and children under 18 years of age.

Can a person switch to ancestry visa route 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.

Is the migrant entitled for public funds in the UK?

No, 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 a UK ancestry visa from outside the UK whilst meeting the financial requirements.

Adequate maintenance and accommodation for an ancestry visa

Furthermore, Paragraph 186(v) of the Immigration Rules requires an ancestry visa applicant to maintain and accommodate himself/herself and also any dependants adequately without recourse to public funds.

What are the Eligibility Requirements 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 for UK ancestry visa entry clearance application?

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.

What is the 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.

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.

What are the supporting documents for the 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.

  1. a current passport with a blank page to put the ancestry visa vignette or other valid travel identification
  2. bank statements to meet the financial requirement for supporting the cost of living and accommodation in the UK
  3. 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.
  4. a full birth certificate of the applicant
  5. a marriage certificate or civil partnership registration document if an applicant’s spouse or civil partner intends to join the applicant
  6. the full birth certificates of the parent and grandparent on whom ancestry claim of an applicant is based on
  7. marriage certificates for an applicant’s parents and grandparents if they were married
  8. legal adoption papers if an applicant or applicant’s parents are adopted
  9. evidence of a work plan in the UK, for instance:
    • a job offer
    • a business plan for a self-employed applicant
  10. An applicant may provide additional documents depending on his/her personal circumstances.

How many applicants apply for a UK ancestry visa?

Perhaps, every year approximately 4,000 CommonWealth citizens (applicants) apply for UK ancestry visa. For instance, during 2018, as many as 4,028 decisions made on UK visa ancestry visa applications. And 36 applications withdrawn and 1 application lapsed. Therefore, the UK ancestry visa success and refusal rate was 95.78% and 3.30%, respectively. For further details please refer to the table below:

Quarter/YearDecisionsSuccess RateRefusal Rate
20184,02895.78%3.30%
2016 Q11,27596.63%2.67%
2016 Q21,20896.27%3.31%
2016 Q397993.56%6.13%
2016 Q484695.98%4.02%
20164,30895.71%3.90%
2017 Q11,03996.15%3.66%
2017 Q294796.41%3.38%
2017 Q31,05896.88%2.93%
2017 Q478995.94%3.42%
20173,83396.37%3.34%
2018 Q11,00595.32%4.08%
2018 Q21,03295.06%4.36%
2018 Q394995.26%3.27%
2018 Q41,04297.41%1.54%

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.

How to apply 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.

What is the UK Ancestry Visa Extension (Renewal) Fee?

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.

How many UK ancestry visa renewals (extensions) are granted?

Since 2016, approximately 600 UK ancestry visa renewal grants are made the main applicants. For instance, during 2018, as many as 581 decisions made relating to the UK visa ancestry visa renewal applications of the main applicant. Only 9 ancestry visa renewal applications of the main applicants refused. Accordingly, the UK ancestry visa renewal success and refusal rates were 98.45% and 1.55%, respectively. For further details please refer to the table below:

YearUK Ancestry Visa Renewal Decisions - Main ApplicantsSuccess RateRefusal Rate
201858198.45%1.55%
20084,00297.90%2.10%
20093,48797.82%2.18%
20101,53298.11%1.89%
201174498.79%1.21%
201275198.67%1.33%
20131,17595.57%4.43%
201475198.14%1.86%
201565198.00%2.00%
201657997.58%2.42%
201751496.30%3.70%

UK ancestry visa renewals (extensions) – Dependants

During 2018, as many as 170 decisions made relating to the UK visa ancestry dependant visa renewal applications. And there was no refusal. For further details please refer to the table below:

YearUK Ancestry Visa Renewal Decisions - DependantsGrantsRefusals
20181701700
20081,4741,4740
20091,1691,1663
20104674616
20112232194
20121961942
20132822766
20142372343
20152032030
20161811810
20171641631

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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