WRK2.3 United Kingdom ancestry
This is internal guidance for use by entry clearance staff on the handling of visa applications for UK ancestry made outside the United Kingdom (UK). It is a live document under constant review and is for information only.
On this page
- WRK2.3.1 What are the requirements?
- WRK2.3.2 What if the grandparent was born in a territory not listed in WRK2.3.1?
- WRK2.3.3 Can only those with legitimate descent claim UK Ancestry?
- WRK2.3.4 Relationship by adoption
- WRK2.3.5 Claims through step-parents
- WRK2.3.6 Employment
- WRK2.3.7 Authenticity of birth / marriage certificates
- WRK2.3.8 What is the endorsement for UK Ancestry?
- WRK2.3.9 What is the right of appeal?
- WRK2.3.10 What are the requirements for dependants of applicants with United Kingdom Ancestry?
- WRK2.3.11 What is the endorsement for dependants?
- WRK2.3.12 What is the right of appeal for dependants of a person with UK Ancestry?
WRK2.3.1 What are the requirements?
Rules paragraphs 186-193
Under this provision, Commonwealth citizens must be able to demonstrate that the grandparent on whom the claim is based:
- was born in the United Kingdom and Islands (the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man); or,
- if the grandparent was born before 31 March 1922, in what is now the Republic of Ireland; or,
- was born on a British registered ship or aircraft.
Applicants must be related to the UK born grandparent by blood or adoption.
If they can prove their UK Ancestry, and the Commonwealth citizen intends to take up or seek employment in the UK, they may be granted an entry clearance on the basis of his / her UK Ancestry.
A person seeking entry on the basis of their UK Ancestry will normally be given leave to enter for five years. Shortly before this leave expires they are eligible to apply for settlement.
Prior entry clearance is mandatory.
WRK2.3.2 What if the grandparent was born in a territory not listed in WRK2.3.1?
An application from a person whose grandparent was born in any territory other than those listed above, including a former British colony or military base overseas, would fall to be refused.
WRK2.3.3 Can only those with legitimate descent claim UK Ancestry?
No. It makes no difference whether the relevant grandparent is in the legitimate or illegitimate line.
WRK2.3.4 Relationship by adoption
An applicant who has been adopted by his / her parents through an adoption process recognised as valid for the purposes of UK law can qualify if:
- he / she has been adopted by someone who has a UK-born parent; or
- one of his / her parents was adopted by a person born in the UK; or
- his / her natural grandparents were born in the UK.
WRK2.3.5 Claims through step-parents
A claim to UK ancestry cannot be made through step-parents.
Applicants should be able to provide evidence that they have employment in the UK or that they genuinely intend to seek employment and are able to do so. An ability and an intention to seek employment must be realistic in the circumstance. When assessing it may be relevant to consider the applicant's:
- health, that is, does he / she have any medical problems that may prevent him from taking employment?
The applicant need only demonstrate that he / she is able to work and genuinely intends to seek employment. His / her application should not be refused on the grounds of a disability alone. However, refusal may be appropriate if there is a reason to believe that there is little realistic prospect of his obtaining employment or living without recourse to public funds.
An applicant who has not worked, or cannot show evidence of attempts to find employment, during their initial 5 year leave period will not normally qualify for settlement.
WRK2.3.7 Authenticity of birth / marriage certificates
You should cross-check all documents, for example, the birth certificates of grandparent, parent and applicant. This is to ensure that all details correspond and that there is a clear line of descent from applicant to grandparent. You should look for any indication that the documents may have been altered.
Applicants may submit marriage certificates but these are not mandatory as ancestry can be claimed through the legitimate or illegitimate line. If you have doubts about their authenticity, you should ask for further documentary evidence, particularly if records of birth and marriage are known to be generally unavailable or suspect.
WRK2.3.8 What is the endorsement for UK Ancestry?
Leave to enter should begin on the intended date of travel as stated in the VAF.
Relevant foreign nationals who are granted entry clearance for longer than six months should be required to register with the police. See ECB16 Police Registration.
WRK2.3.9 What is the right of appeal?
Refusal of entry clearance under UK Ancestry attracts a full right of appeal.
WRK2.3.10 What are the requirements for dependants of applicants with United Kingdom Ancestry?
Prior entry clearance is mandatory.
Spouses and dependent children of applicants with United Kingdom Ancestry (Rules paragraphs 194-199)
Unmarried or same-sex partners: (Rules paragraph 295J)
WRK2.3.11 What is the endorsement for dependants?
See ECB13 Endorsements.
Entry clearances should be endorsed 'D: ACCOMPANYING/JOINING WIFE/HUSBAND/PARENTS'. Code 1 for a period normally equal to, but in any event not in excess of that granted to the spouse / parent.
Relevant foreign nationals who are granted leave to enter for longer than six months should be required to register with the police. See ECB16 Police Registration.
WRK2.3.12 What is the right of appeal for dependants of a person with UK Ancestry?
Refusal of entry clearance as the dependant of a person with UK Ancestry attracts a full right of appeal, except where the principal applicant has themselves had their application for entry clearance refused.