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The UK Ancestry Visa

What requirements do I need to meet?

· Commonwealth citizen

· Grandparent born in the UK

· Aged 17 or above

· Intention and ability to work in the UK

· Sufficient funds to maintain and accommodate yourself in the UK

Commonwealth citizens

The UK Ancestry Visa is available to all Commonwealth citizens and it is important to note that this includes citizens of Malta and Cyprus, who until recently enjoyed free movement but who now may need to make use of this category (unless they have already obtained settled or pre-settled status) in order to live and work in the UK).

Additionally, for the purpose of this visa category, Zimbabwean citizens can also qualify.

Grandparent born in the UK

This can be a maternal or paternal grandparent. It cannot however be a great grandparent.

If you or your relevant parent were adopted you can still qualify. You cannot however qualify through a step-parent.

Age Requirement & Working in the UK

You must be 17 or older when you submit your application. Whilst there is no upper age limit you must have both the intention and ability to work once you are in the UK. This can be in the form of employment or self-employment, or a combination of both.

Once in the UK you can work unrestricted which makes this a highly attractive Visa.

Settlement & Citizenship

Ancestry Visas are issued for 5 years and once you have spent 4 years and 11 months in the UK you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (permanent residency). You will be required to show evidence that you have been working or have been self-employed for the duration of your time in the UK.

Once you hold ILR you can, after 12 months (or sooner if you are married to a UK citizen), apply to naturalise as a UK citizen. It is important to note that some countries, for instance, South Africa, have requirements for retaining home citizenship and holding dual nationality.

If you do not qualify for ILR it is possible to extend a UK Ancestry Visa. It is also possible to apply for a second Ancestry Visa if you have left the UK and wish to return once your initial Visa has expired.

English Language

It is important to note that whilst there are no English language requirements to be met when you apply for a UK Ancestry Visa you will need to meet these further down the line when applying for ILR and then to naturalise.


You will need to show evidence of sufficient personal funds to support you and any dependents in the UK without needing to access public funds.


Family members who can be included in an application are:

· Spouse

· Unmarried partner where you have compelling documentary evidence that you have been living together for at least the most recent 2 years

· Children under the age of 18

Dependents can be included in your ILR application however they will later on need to complete their own naturalisation applications provided they meet the requirements.

Your GDB Legal Solutions consultant can undertake a full assessment of your eligibility for a UK Ancestry Visa and assist you with any questions you may have.

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