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UK Ancestry| Working in the UK | Commonwealth Citizens

UK Ancestry Visa

The UK Ancestry Visa is an application route derived through the British Nationality Law 1981, as it allows a Commonwealth citizen to apply for this working visa, based on their grandparent being born in the UK & Island. 

At the date of application, you must be aged 17 years or over to apply for the working visa. The application must be applied from outside of the UK, at the country of residency and must be able to provide sufficient evidences to show your intention to work in the UK. 

It is important that when you apply for a UK Ancestry visa, the evidences must be all in English. If your document is in another language which is not usual, the Home Office expects to see the document to be translated. You cannot translate the documents even if you are a registered translator because the evidences provided must be reliable. Failure in providing the translated document can lead to a UK Ancestry visa refusal. Please do not expect the Home Office to contact you, as we hear this quite often, those applying for a UK visa. 

Moving to the UK Ancestry Visa route

The immigration rules sets out the policy related to meeting the UK Ancestry visa requirements. This is one of the fewest categories which have not gone through any legal transformation over the last decade, and remains part of the working categories, whereby others have been closed down or moved to a different part of the immigration framework. 

One of the fundamental requirements of the visa category is that your grandparent must be born in the UK and will need to demonstrate the link between you, your parent and your grandparent. If you were adopted, this must a legal adoption and certain requirements must be met in order to apply for the UK Ancestry visa. 

Unlike other immigration visa categories, the UK Ancestry Visa allows further flexibility of the evidences that can be submitted. Given the type of visa you are applying, which is the UK Ancestry visa, you may not have the set of evidences available due to the time periods it had lapsed, such as a full birth certificate being available. Depending on the circumstance’s, the Home Office may accept other alternative evidences but they must be credible evidences. For example, a letter from the local authority may be acceptable to support your claim as being related. 

Further to this, as you apply for this visa, you will need to satisfy that there are intention to work in the UK and the UK Ancestry visa comes with a flexibility policy. It permits you to demonstrate about your previous employment behaviour and the ability to find work in the UK. The recent change permits you to demonstrate that voluntary employment is also accepted as part of the UK Ancestry visa requirements.

Finally, you will need to demonstrate that you can be supported financially in the UK, and that you would have adequate accommodation. Unlike the Appendix FM visa category, you do not need to have a certain financial threshold. 

UK Ancestry Visa conditions

Once granted under the UK Ancestry Visa, you would be given a 5 years visa to enter the UK. The visa will contain conditions that you must adhere during the periods of residency in the UK. There will be no provisions to access the State’s funds and whilst study is permitted, there are conditions, as this is a working visa category and unless permission is granted, you may not be able to study in this UK Ancestry visa category. 

The UK Ancestry visa allows you to bring dependants to the UK including spouses and dependent children. There are no provisions to bring adult dependants, however you may be able to apply once you have secured indefinite leave to remain, otherwise known as settlement. 

As with any immigration application, there will be a fee associated including visa centre costs and also the new immigration health surcharge. You would be able to check the current visa fees for the UK Ancestry on the UKVI website. Alternatively, you can speak to us on 0207 237 3388 to discuss the UK Ancestry visa requirements and all the associated visa fees. 

Extending your leave to remain under UK Ancestry Visa

The UK Ancestry Visa permits you to extend your leave to remain, however switching from another immigration category is not permitted. This simply means, if you don’t hold a UK Ancestry Visa, then you cannot apply from the UK. 

When applying for the extension under the UK Ancestry Visa, you must demonstrate that you are able to prove your ancestry ties once more, are meeting the working threshold and can support yourself in the UK. 

There may be exclusion applicable on meeting the financial adequacy requirements, as long as you are not dependent on the State funds. Whilst you must be employed at the date of your application, being unemployed at the date of application, does not mean the application would be refused. The Home Office will consider the periods of unemployment and if there are any underlying issues, for example, health issues may impact your employment. Nonetheless, each application is treated on their own merits.

There are no immigration caps on how long you can spend on the UK Ancestry Visa and can extend the visa as many times as you wish and will not be required to explain your reasons.  

Applying for indefinite leave to remain under UK Ancestry Visa

Once you have completed a period of 5 years under the UK Ancestry visa, you would be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain otherwise known as settlement in the UK. One of the main requirements of the indefinite leave to remain application under the UK Ancestry visa is to demonstrate that you are a person of good character and are no conducive to public good. 

As you may be aware, the public interest arguments are a key essential consideration of all immigration application especially, those applying for indefinite leave to remain. Whilst an indefinite leave to remain status can be revoked or cancelled, the Home Office will only do this, if you have committed a criminal offence however the Home Office Criminal Case Working Unit considers each application on its own merits. 

Now moving back to the requirements for the indefinite leave to remain application under the UK Ancestry visa, you must demonstrate that you meet the absence policy and that you meet the knowledge of life requirements. Further to this, you must not be in breach of immigration laws and must demonstrate the 5 years period of employment in the UK. If you are self-employed, this will be accepted as well. 

One of the key flexibility policies under the UK Ancestry visa is the ability to apply for indefinite leave to remain once you have completed 5 years albeit you moved to another category and use the previous residency period to apply for indefinite leave to remain. 

UK Ancestry Visa refusal

We know that sometimes a decision may be wrong or that you have failed to complete the application correctly or the evidences were missing. Getting a UK Ancestry visa refusal is not pleasant news you want to receive. As with all immigration applications, you can seek to challenge the decision. 

However not all challenges are appropriate because if you have failed to provide the evidences or missed critical information to the application, then submitting an administrative review would not be advised. At first, please email us a copy of the decision letter, we will advise on the merits of the refusal and whether it would be advisable to challenge or simply reapply for the UK Ancestry Visa. As we say, going back to the root cause of the problem is better and correcting this, could potential delay in coming to the UK. 

Taking legal advice on your UK Ancestry Visa

A visa application needs to be carefully planned and lodged, so if you meet the requirements of your UK Ancestry Visa, we can help and prepare the application. At ICS Legal, we care about how an application is prepared and lodged. 

We make sure that you meet each and every requirements of the UK Ancestry visa is met prior submission and provide clear guidance’s. You can speak to one of our UK Immigration Lawyers on 0207 237 3388 or you can email us at info@icslegal.com. 


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