Tue | Dec 12, 2017

Immigration Corner | Can I apply for an ancestry visa?

Published:Tuesday | September 5, 2017 | 12:00 AM

Dear Mr Bassie,

I read your column where you advised on who may be eligible to apply for a UK ancestry visa. I believe that I may be eligible and I would like you to provide more details in terms of how to apply and if it can be extended.

- G.C.

Dear G.C.,

Persons making applications from outside of the United Kingdom must apply online for a United Kingdom ancestry visa. They will need to have their fingerprints and photographs taken at a visa application centre - this is known as 'biometric information'. They may also have to pay the health-care surcharge. It is advisable to check how much you will need to pay before applying. The speed at which the application is processed will depend on which country the application is made in and as such, it is best to check with the visa application centre within that country.

With respect to extending the visa, persons can only extend this visa if they are already in the United Kingdom. If extending this visa, persons should include any dependents who are on the current visa, including children who have turned 18 during the stay. Please note that the application should be made before the current visa expires.

It should be noted that with respect to an ancestry visa, persons can also apply to settle in the United Kingdom permanently if they have lived in the United Kingdom for five years on this visa. Also, persons are able to extend their visas for a further five years.

Persons, the applicant and any dependent, will pay £993 if applying to extend their visa by post and £1,583 if applying in person using the premium service. They will also have to pay the health-care surcharge as part of the application. The cost of this can be checked prior to making the application.

Before attempting to apply for an extension, persons should read the full guidance online. If persons are within the United Kingdom, they should download the form and apply by post - the address is on the form; or download the form and use the premium service at a premium service centre. Please be reminded that you will need to get a biometric residence permit as part of the application.

A decision will be made within eight weeks for postal applications, and usually on the same day if the premium service is used. The applicant will be contacted if the application is complex and will take longer, for example if the applicant's supporting documents need to be verified; if the applicant needs to attend an interview; because of personal circumstances, for example, if he/she has a criminal conviction. Once the application has been made, persons can stay in the United Kingdom until a decision is made, as long as the application was made before the last visa expired.

- John S. Bassie is a barrister/attorney-at-law who practises law in Jamaica. He is a justice of the peace, a Supreme Court-appointed mediator, a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, a chartered arbitrator and a member of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association (UK). Email:

lawbassie@yahoo.com