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United Kingdom Ancestry

This page describes how Commonwealth citizens with a grandparent who was born in the UK may be able to apply for permission to live and work here.
If you are a citizen of a Commonwealth country and one of your grandparents was born in the United Kingdom (including the Channel Islands or Isle of Man), you have United Kingdom ancestry.

You can come here to work if you can show that:

  • you are a Commonwealth citizen;
  • you have a visa or other form of permission to enter the United Kingdom because of United Kingdom ancestry, or your permission to stay here in this category has previously been extended;
  • you are aged 17 or over;
  • you have a grandparent who was born in the United Kingdom (including the Channel Islands or Isle of Man) or a grandparent who was born in what is now the Republic of Ireland before 31-March-1922;
  • you are able to work and you plan to do so in the United Kingdom; and
  • You can adequately support and accommodate yourself and your dependants without help from public funds.


You must get permission to enter the UK the basis of United Kingdom ancestry before you visit here. We call this permission entry clearance. It will be in the form of a visa or entry clearance certificate. To obtain it, you should apply to the British diplomatic post in the country where you live.
 If you have already entered the UK a different category of visa, you cannot switch to the United Kingdom ancestry category.  Home office will only give you permission to stay in the country on the basis of United Kingdom ancestry if:


  • You entered the United Kingdom holding entry clearance based on your United Kingdom ancestry; or
  • We have already given you leave to remain based on United Kingdom ancestry.

If you come to the UK in this category, you will not need a work permit.


You will be allowed to stay for 5 years. After 5 years, you will be able to apply to live here permanently provide you still meet the requirements for United Kingdom ancestry and you have worked continuously in the United Kingdom for five years. See the section on settlement for details of how to apply.


Eligibility

This page explains how Commonwealth citizens with a grandparent who was born in the United Kingdom may be able to apply for permission to live and work here.

If you are a citizen of a Commonwealth country and one of your grandparents was born in the United Kingdom (including the Channel Islands or Isle of Man), you have United Kingdom ancestry.

You can come UK to work if you can show that:

  • You are a Commonwealth citizen;
  • You have a visa or other form of permission to enter the United Kingdom because of United Kingdom ancestry, or your permission to stay here in this category has previously been extended;
  • You are aged 17 or over;
  • You have a grandparent who was born in the United Kingdom (including the Channel Islands or Isle of Man) or a grandparent who was born in what is now the Republic of Ireland before 31 March 1922;
  • You are able to work and you plan to do so in the United Kingdom; and
  • You can adequately support and accommodate yourself and your dependants without help from public funds (see rights and responsibilities for more information on what this means).


You must obtain permission to enter the United Kingdom on the basis of United Kingdom ancestry before you travel here. We call this permission entry clearance. It will be in the form of a visa or entry clearance certificate. To obtain it, you should apply to the British diplomatic post in the country where you live.

If you have already entered the United Kingdom with a different kind of visa, you cannot switch to the United Kingdom ancestry category. We will only give you permission to stay in the country on the basis of United Kingdom ancestry if:

  • You entered the United Kingdom holding entry clearance based on your United Kingdom ancestry; or
  • We have already given you leave to remain based on United Kingdom ancestry.


If you come to the United Kingdom in this category, you will not need a work permit.

You will be allowed to stay for five years. After five years, you will be able to apply to live here permanently provided you still meet the requirements for United Kingdom ancestry and you have worked continuously in the United Kingdom for five years.

Click here for more information

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