Fri | Jun 18, 2021

Immigration Corner | Applying for a UK Ancestry visa

Published:Tuesday | May 11, 2021 | 12:07 AM

Dear Mr Bassie,

I am a Commonwealth citizen. Please advise me under what circumstances I may be eligible to apply for a United Kingdom (UK) Ancestry visa.


Dear YL,

Persons can apply for a UK Ancestry visa if all of the following are true:

• They are Commonwealth citizens;

• They can prove that one of their grandparents was born in the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man;

• They are able and planning to work in the UK;

• They meet the other eligibility requirements.


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;

• Can and plan to work in the UK.

They must also be able to show that they have a grandparent born in one of the following circumstances:

• In the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man;

• Before March 31, 1922 in Ireland; or

• On a ship or aircraft that was either registered in the UK or belonged to the United Kingdom government.

Persons can claim ancestry if:

• They or their parent was adopted;

• Their parents or grandparents were not married.

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


The earliest that persons can apply is three months before their intended date of travel. Persons should get a decision on their visa application within three weeks of the date from when they apply from outside the UK.

With respect to fees, a UK Ancestry visa costs £516. Persons may also have to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of their application. Persons are advised to check online how much they will have to pay before applying. Persons may also want to find out online about paying for a faster decision.


Persons can stay in the UK for five years on this visa. With respect to applying to stay longer in the United Kingdom, if persons have lived in the UK for five years on this visa, they may be able to either:

• Apply to extend their visa for a further five years; or

• Apply to settle permanently in the UK (apply for ‘indefinite leave to remain’).

Just for completeness, persons should be aware that while they are on this visa, they can work, study and bring their partner or child. However, they are not permitted to change (‘switch’) into this visa if they went to the United Kingdom on a different visa, and they will not be eligible to get public funds.

All the best.

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, global vice-president of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and a member of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association (UK). Email: