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Ancestry Visas – A guide

It seems that not many people are aware of this visa category and it is quite surprising to see how many enquiries from persons who might fall into this visa category.

The Ancestry visa is essentially a working visa category for Commonwealth citizens with UK ancestry. The visa will allow you limited leave to remain with no conditions to the type of employment you may wish to pursue. As you can imagine, this is a much better option than a normal Tier 2 (General) working visa as you will not be bound to your employer in the UK. You will be allowed to live and work in the UK for 5 years and you can apply for a settlement visa at the end of the fifth year.

The general requirements for this visa are as follows:

• You are a Commonwealth citizen;
• You are above the age of 17;
• You are able to work and you plan to work in the UK;
• You are able to adequately support and accommodate yourself and your family without any recourse to UK public funds.

Most applications do not succeed due to the reason that the applicant had failed to show that they are able to work and planning to work in the UK. A lot of applicants especially when it involves younger applicants, mistaken this visa as an alternative to a Tier 4 (General) visa where a higher requirements needed to be satisfied in order to successfully make an application. This is a big mistake made by the applicant (or perhaps, their parents) as the visa is clearly intended to be used to seek employment in the UK.

It is also quite interesting to note that there is no set amount for ‘adequate support’ and it is sufficient to show that you have enough finance to live in the UK. This is definitely different than the general Points Based System requirements where you are normally required to have specific funds for a specific period before you can make your application.

You can only make this application abroad and as guide, the UKBA has set out the following guide for documents to be included in your application:

• your full birth certificate
• your parents’ and grandparents’ marriage certificates, and legal adoption papers if you or your parents are adopted
• the full birth certificates of the parent and grandparent through whose ancestry you are applying
• your marriage certificate or civil partnership registration document, if your husband, wife or civil partner intends to join you in the UK
You are also expected to submit other supporting documents to support your application and we usually advice our clients to provide financial evidence, employment evidence as well as academic qualifications to show that you have the necessary qualification to seek employment in the UK.

If you are interested in finding out more about this Visa, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Shareena Rahman

Westkin Associates


5th Floor, Maddox House,
1 Maddox Street
United Kingdom
0207 118 4546

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