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Apply for a UK Ancestry visa

A UK Ancestry visa is one of the most popular routes to UK residency.
This visa is available to people who have some kind of family connection to the UK.

You can live and work in the UK for a period of up to five years with an Ancestry visa, as well as exit and re-enter the UK freely on multiple occasions. 

You can apply for this visa if:

  • One of your grandparents was born in the UK
  • You are a Commonwealth citizen
  • You intend to seek work in the UK

If you are a Commonwealth citizen and you are able to show that one of your grandparents was born in the UK, you may apply for an ancestry visa.

You must apply for an ancestry visa from your home country. You can contact our Cape Town or Melbourne offices to make sure that your application is successful.

To be eligible, you must show that:

  • You are a Commonwealth citizen
  • You are aged 17 years or over
  • You have a grandparent who was born in the UK
  • You are able to work
  • You intend to take employment in the UK
  • You are able to support and house yourself and any dependants without recourse to any public funding

You may bring your spouse, partner and/or dependent children with you. They are allowed to stay for the same time as you are and there usually aren’t any restrictions relating to their employment.

Attaining Indefinite Leave to Remain

Ancestry visas are normally issued for five years. At the end of that period, if you have lived in the UK continuously - spending fewer than 180 consecutive days outside of the country - you may apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). 

If you have an Ancestry visa that was issued before April 2006, this period will most likely be for four years. If your Ancestry visa is for four years, you may apply for a one year extension and then for ILR.

After spending 12 months on ILR, you may be eligible to naturalise as a British citizen and gain UK citizenship.

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