Wed | Jul 8, 2020

Immigration Corner | Eligibility for a UK visa

Published:Tuesday | March 31, 2020 | 12:17 AM

Dear Mr Bassie ,

I WOULD like to know on what basis a person can apply for a United Kingdom (UK) Ancestry visa.

Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

– B.B.

Dear B.B.,

Persons can apply for a UK Ancestry visa if they are a Commonwealth citizen; are applying from outside the UK; are able to prove that one of their grandparents was born in the United Kingdom; are able and planning to work in the United Kingdom; and meet the other eligibility requirements.

Persons should note that the earliest persons can apply is three months before they travel, and persons should get a decision on their visa application within three weeks when applying from outside of the United Kingdom.

Persons should also be aware that it may be possible to pay for a faster decision. If persons are applying to extend their stay in the United Kingdom, they can pay an extra £800 for the super priority service. Those persons will get a decision by the end of the next working day after providing their biometric information, if the appointment is on a weekday and two working days after providing the biometric information if the appointment is at the weekend.

Once the successful applicant is in receipt of the decision letter, the biometric residence permit will take up to 10 working days to arrive. Please note that working days are Monday to Friday, not including bank holidays.

Five-year Stay

The successful applicant will be able to stay in the United Kingdom for five years on this visa. Those persons can also apply to extend the visa and/or apply to settle in the United Kingdom permanently.

With the UK Ancestry visa, persons can work, study and take family members with them. However, persons cannot change (‘switch’) into this visa if they are already in the United Kingdom on another visa or have access to public funds.

To be eligible for the UK Ancestry visa, persons must prove that they are 17 years old or over; have enough money without help from public funds to support and house themselves and any dependents; and plan to work in the United Kingdom.

With respect to their ancestry, persons must also show that they have a grandparent born in one of the following circumstances:

• In the United Kingdom, including the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man;

• Before March 31, 1922, in what is now Ireland;

• On a British-registered ship or aircraft.

Persons can claim ancestry if either they or the relevant parent:

• Were adopted;

• Were born within or outside marriage in the UK.

Please note that persons cannot claim United Kingdom ancestry through step-parents.

Please be aware that the UK Ancestry visa will cost £516. Also, persons may have to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of the application. Persons are advised to check how much they will have to pay before applying.

I hope this helps.

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: