UK Ancestry Visas

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UK Ancestry Visas allow commonwealth nationals with a grandparent who was born in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man to enter the UK for a period of 5 years.

Commonwealth nationals with a grandparent born in the Republic of Ireland before 31 March 1922 are also eligible to apply for an Ancestry Visa.

An Ancestry Visa offers full freedom to work in the UK, including working as a self-employed person or starting your own business.

Eligibility Criteria

To qualify you must satisfy the following Ancestry Visa requirements:

  • You must be 17 years of age or over.
  • You must be a citizen of a commonwealth country.
  • You must have a grandparent who was born in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man or you must have a grandparent that was born in the Republic of Ireland prior to 31 March 1922.
  • You must intend to and be able to work in the UK.
  • You must be in a position to support yourself and any dependants without claiming public funds.


If your application for a UK ancestry visa is successful you will be granted permission to remain in the UK for five years. At the conclusion of this five year period you will then be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) provided that:

  • You continue to meet the requirements of the Immigration Rules for UK ancestry, and
  • You have spent five years continuously in the UK and can show that you have an employment history throughout that five year period. If you intend to apply for ILR you should not spend more than 180 days per year outside the UK during this five year period.
  • If at the end of your five year ancestry visa you do not meet all of the ILR qualifying criteria you may apply for an extension to your ancestry visa.

Additional information

In certain circumstances it may be possible for you to change your visa status to an ancestry visa from within the United Kingdom, however in most cases you must apply for your this visa in your home country or the country where you legally live. You must also apply for entry clearance prior to coming to the UK.

If you have a spouse, unmarried partner or dependants under 18 years of age you can apply for them to join you in the UK on an Ancestry Dependency Visa.

If you or your parent who you are claiming ancestry ties through is adopted you can still apply for entry clearance to the UK under the ancestry category.

Want to find out if you qualify for an Ancestry Visa?

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