How to Qualify for the UK Ancestry Visa
To qualify for this type of visa you have to be a Commonwealth Citizen, 17 years of age or older, and you must be able to prove that you have a grandparent who was born in the United Kingdom, Channel Islands or the Isle of Man. Good news for Zimbabwean readers is that although Zimbabwe is no longer part of the Commonwealth, Zimbabwean nationals are considered by the UK Home Office as such for UK Ancestry applications.
The grandparent can be on your mother or father’s side of the family. Adopted children also qualify, as well as cases where the parent through whom a person is claiming ancestry is an adopted child. It is not possible to claim Ancestry through step-parents.
Length Granted for UK Ancestry Visa
The UK Ancestry Visa is granted for five years. After successfully completing a five-year period as the holder of the UK Ancestry Visa, you will be able to apply for UK Permanent Residence, also known as Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). Provided of course that you meet the relevant requirements.
Should you not meet the requirements for ILR, you may submit an application for the extension of your UK Ancestry Visa till you can meet the requirements for Indefinite Leave to Remain.
A Second UK Ancestry Visa
Clients sometimes end up in situations where they have to return to their home countries for whatever reason, and the UK Ancestry Visa expires during this time. Fortunately, it is possible to apply for another UK Ancestry Visa. You can extend your leave to remain if you meet the published requirements at the date of application.
The UK Ancestry Visa and Age Limits
To apply for the UK Ancestry Visa, the applicant must be 17 years of age or older. You also have to prove an intention and ability to work in the UK under the Ancestry Visa. Subject to this, there is no upper age limit.
Work Restrictions and the UK Ancestry Visa
One of the main rules of the UK Ancestry Visa is that you must be able to work and intend to work while in the UK. If it is not your intention to work, and you confirm this in your application, the application will be refused.
Furthermore, to be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after five years on this type of UK Visa, you must be able to provide evidence that they have indeed been working during the five years of their visa. The visa has no work restrictions; therefore you are able to open your own business, or take up employment or even combine the two.
Dependants and Partners
The UK Ancestry Visa holder can apply for his/her Spouse, Civil Partner or Unmarried Partner and any dependent children under the age of eighteen years to join them in the UK. They will receive the same period of leave as the main applicant and be able to work without restriction.
UK Ancestry Visa Criteria
To qualify you have to be a Commonwealth citizen, 17 years of age or older, and you must be able to prove that you have a grandparent who was born in the United Kingdom, Channel Islands or the Isle of Man. A grandparent born in the Republic of Ireland prior to 1922 will also mean you meet the eligibility requirements. The grandparent can be on either side of your family. A person can also apply for the ancestry visa if they are adopted, or if the parent through whom they are claiming ancestry is an adopted child. The applicant must have the intention to work, be able to work and be able to support and accommodate him/herself and any dependants without using public funds.
Benefits of the UK Ancestry Visa
Persons fortunate enough to qualify for the UK Ancestry Visa, will have many benefits attached to the visa including:
- There are no work restrictions attached to the visa.
- A person will be able to work for an employer, be self-employed or combine the two.
The visa is granted for five years, and at the end of a five-year period on this visa, one can qualify to apply for permanent residence. The Ancestry visa holder can apply for their spouse, civil partner, unmarried partner and dependant children to join them in the UK. They will be granted the same period of leave as the main applicant and be able to work without restriction.
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