UK Ancestry Visa

Commonwealth citizens with a grandparent who was born in the UK, may be able to live and work in the UK on the basis of UK Ancestry.

Applicants for UK Ancestry visa must show that one of their grandparents was born in the UK, in the Isle of Man, in the Channel Islands, in Ireland (born before 31 March 1922) or on a British-owned or registered ship or aircraft. The grandparent can be a blood grandparent or and adopted grandparent. If you or your parents were adopted the adoption process must be valid and legally recognised in the UK.

Work and Studies

Persons with UK Ancestry can take any kind of employment or self-employment. The job does not have to be with a licensed sponsor. Persons on the UK Ancestry route are allowed to study in the UK. However, study should not be the main reason for the person coming to the UK on the UK Ancestry route.

Financial requirement

The Home Office does not specify the amount of funds required to be held by applicants. Applicants and their dependants on these routes must instead show they can adequately maintain and accommodate themselves and any dependants without receiving public funds. Unlike any other immigration categories, applicants on this route may rely on credible promises of support from a third party, such as financial help from a relative or friend.


Applicants must show they have resided in the UK for a continuous period of five years. Whilst it is not a requirement to have been continuously employed while in the UK to qualify for settlement, the Home Office will consider the applicant’s financial circumstances and if the applicant is unemployed at the time of their application for settlement the Home Office may ask for their employment (paid or unpaid) record.

Although a person with leave on the UK Ancestry route will have already demonstrated their ancestry in their initial application, the Home Office will expect to see the evidence relating to the UK-born grandparent with each application on this route.

Cyprus and Malta

It is interesting to note that, Cyprus and Malta are Commonwealth countries, as well as being European Union Member States. Prior to the UK’s withdrawal from the EU (11pm on 31 December 2020), nationals of Cyprus and Malta were able to rely on their EU free movement rights to enter, live and work in the UK, and therefore did not need permission under the Immigration Rules. Nationals of Cyprus and Malta who have not resided in the UK prior to the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, are now able to apply for UK Ancestry visa provided they meet the requirements for UK Ancestry visa.

How to track down parents/grandparents’ birth certificates

The General Register Office provides a public index that lists basic details of every birth recorded in England and Wales since 1837 as well as records for some British Nationals born overseas. You can order birth, adoption, marriage, civil partnership and death certificates from the General Register Office (GRO) to help you research your family history and family tree. .

You can  also search local archives and the National Archives to help research your family history.

Our immigration experts assist clients with UK ancestry. Please contact Robert Sookias and Jarmila Entezari, who will be happy to assist.