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Applying for the UK Ancestry Visa

Applying for the UK Ancestry Visa

So you’ve decided you want to live abroad and move to the UK! How exciting! And you realised you also qualify for the UK Ancestry Visa!

What an exciting time! You’ve made the choice you’re going to head over to the United Kingdom and experience a new life abroad, but first how on earth do you go about applying for the Ancestry Visa?  If you are anything like me, you took one look at the government page and realised just how vague it is and scratched your head in confusion at the process and also maybe choked a little when you saw the price.  Not to worry, the visa may not be cheap, but saving for it it totally doable and worth it!

OK so let’s break it down.


What is the Ancestry Visa?

Before we get into the actual application process for the Ancestry Visa you might be asking what exactly is this visa?

Well the Ancestry Visa is a five year visa allowing qualifying individuals to live and work in the United Kingdom who have at least one grandparent whom was ‘born in the UK including the Channel Island and the Isle of Man, before March 31, 1922 in what is now Ireland or was born on a British-registered ship or aircraft. ‘- this is straight is from the Government site 


Check out my YouTube video on Why I moved Abroad to the UK

Eligibility for the UK Ancestry Visa

  • You must be a commonwealth citizen and at least 17 years of age or older with one grandparent born in the UK – see above.
  • You must apply from outside the UK – I applied for the Ancestry Visa while in Canada
  • If you or your parent were adopted you can still qualify for the Ancestry Visa.  Sorry but step parents don’t count.  It’s only through blood relation or adoption.
  • You fully intend to live and work in the UK
  • You need some money hunny! You must have enough funds to support yourself while in the UK on the Ancestry Visa and any dependants who come with you.




How Much Does the UK Ancestry Visa Cost?

The not so fun part – this visa is on the rather pricier spectrum of visas but its soooo worth it!  What I loved most about this visa and am so thankful to be able to apply for it, is the fact that it’s for five years!  Five whole whopping years to live and work in the beautiful UK with no need to worry about going home after one or two years like most of the Working Holiday Visas. So if you actually break down the cost by looking at it on a year to year basis, it looks a lot more reasonable.  And the majority of the price actually goes towards your health care here in the UK – The NHS

Visa Cost – £516

NHS Fee – £400 for every year of the visa = £2000

Total cost – £2516  British pounds roughly $4,072 Canadian Dollars.

If you break that down on a yearly basis its roughly $800 CND a year.  Not to shabby!


Documents Needed for the UK Ancestry Visa

This part I found super vague on the government site as its not fully laid out and this isn’t a process you want to take lightly as you are paying a decent amount of mula for this visa and I imagine if you are applying for it then you are pretty serious about it.

I found speaking with people on various Facebook groups (Canadians in London is a good one) and also by doing some deep google research, I was able to come across some helpful tips.  One lovely lady from the FB group even sent me her checklist that she got from a visa application Centre.


Documents You Must Submit

  • Your birth certificate – certified copy and long version
  • Your parent’s birth certificate that has the ancestral link to your UK born grandparent – certified copy and long version which has the full name of your parent and their birth parents (grandparent’s name)
  • Your grandparent’s UK birth certificate – certified copy and long version
  • Proof of intent to work – this can be job applications and proof that you can signed up with certain job sites like Indeed and Reed.co.uk or proof you have spoken with recruitment companies (anything to prove you are intending to work)
  • Your resume/CV
  • Proof of funds – there isn’t a direct amount of money laid out on the government site which makes this a bit tricky. The suggested amount for the Youth Mobility Scheme Visa (Tier 5 two year visa) is minimum £1,890.  This is pretty low especially if you are planning to come to London.  I would aim for at least $5,000 CND roughly £3,000 to make sure you can support yourself properly. The more you have saved the better for approval reasons as well. Keep in mind it can take a while to find work and the deposit for a flat can be a hefty cost upfront as well.  I read that you should have 3 months of bank statements showing a minimum balance of £1500.  So I also made sure to include this in my application.
  • Proof of accommodation no more than 28 days old at time of application – I booked a hostel and printed this out for my application
  • Valid current passport or travel document and expired passports (they didn’t use mine but I read it was handy to have them in case)
  • Proof of employment from your current job – I submitted 3 months of pay slips as this showed how much I was earning and had the company’s name on it as well.
  • A list of all the countries outside of the UK you have visited in the past 10 years


Tower Bridge
Tower Bridge, London, UK


How to Begin the Application Process for the UK Ancestry Visa

Ok amazing, you’ve made it this far! So now that you’re ready with all your documents for submission you need to submit an application form online before actually going for your physical biometrics appointment where you get your finger prints and photo taken.

You must be outside the UK when submitting your application and it must be done online

You can apply directly through the government site here 

After you have created your profile, filled out all the questions and submitted your application you will need to book your biometrics appointments with one of the local centres in your area. I booked mine in Toronto which is located up near Bay and Bloor.


When to Apply for the UK Ancestry Visa and How Long Does the Process Take?

Alright this is a bit of the scary part because you can only apply for the Ancestry Visa three months before your intended travel date to the UK. So if you are aiming to come September 1 then the earliest you can apply is June 1.  This can be really worrying given you are planning to uproot your whole live to the UK and you can only apply three months out.

I don’t know exactly why this is case but so it is.  Make sure that the date you put on the application is the actual date you intend to arrive at the earliest in the UK.  I didn’t realise at the time, but your visa is valid on the exact date you put, not whenever you decide to enter the country. For instance I put August 25th as a random date since I was applying on the 25th of May and when I got my application back with a valid entry date with August 25th.  I’m not sure what would happen if you did try to enter the UK earlier than your visa date, but I imagine you could get turned away.  A risk I didn’t want to take.


Kensington Palace
Kensington Palace, London, UK.


Can I stay Longer Than Five Years in the UK on the Ancestry Visa?

Why yes you can!  Another amazing fact about the Ancestry Visa is that after five years you can apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK as long as you have not been out of the country more than the government guidelines.  At the current moment it it 180 days for each calendar year of the visa.

You can also apply to extend your Ancestry Visa for another five years if you decide you want to stay longer and either don’t want to apply to settle permanently in the UK or you don’t qualify.


Your Visa is Approved!

Ok that was the most gruelling three weeks of my life let me tell you.  Everyday I was checking email, wondering, needing to know if it was approved or not.  I got an email one day saying that I needed to submit more documents and I almost had panic attack lol! I needed to submit a different copy of my dad’s birth certificate.  It was a bit of ordeal but we got it sorted! A few days later I had the amazing news that my visa was ready for pick-up from the same place I did the biometrics appointment.  Now they don’t tell you if its been approved or not, they just tell you its ready for pick-up.   I had that gut feeling it was approved 🙂 And yes it was.  I swear I cried when I opened the package in pure happiness and with the feeling of triumph. I had worked so hard towards saving for this visa and this experience that when I realised my dream had come true and I made it happen was such an amazing feeling!

A little reminder that if you have a goal in mind or dream you are chasing, you can make it come true with focus and determination!

Note: when submit your application you can opt to pick up your visa documents at the biometrics location or have it mailed to your home address for a hefty cost.  I believe it was $50 CND.



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#tbt Oxford 2011 . . .Happy August 1 ! New month = new starts, opportunities and goals to crush. My biggest goal this month is getting my 🍑 over to the UK in one piece. Hard to believe there is only 3 more weeks to go and still so many things to do! One of the biggest challenges when moving over to a new country is getting everything ready to go and that includes having your visa in order, selling items, moving out of your place of living, leaving work, spending as much times as possible with fam and friends, calling banks and notifying them you’re leaving the country, making sure any paperwork you need is in order, having a plan for when you arrive to your new country such as phone set up, banking, living accommodation, Medicare or NHS in the UK, travel insurance, having your working ID (social insurance in Canada NI in UK). Applying for jobs and getting that first gig. And of course having enough funds to get set up. Lots to think about, but it’s also super exciting moving abroad! If anyone is thinking of doing it, I highly recommend going for the move! . . My latest blog post is on Why You Should Move Abroad. Link in bio 👉🏻👉🏻—->. . . . . . . . #expatlife #expat #expatblogger #liveabroad #expattravelblogger #expatexplore #expatlifestyle #travelonthemind #wheretonext #destinationearth #theoutbound #wanderout #instavacation #letsgosomewhere #wanderfulglobe #travelbucketlist #seekmoments #globetrotters #passportpassion #wandergram #wanderlost #wanderoften #femaletravelblogger #thattravelgirl #travelplans #exploretocreate #mytravelgram #beyondborders

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Next Steps Once Your UK Ancestry Visa is Approved

When you get your passport back from the UK Visa Centre you will have an entry clearance stamped in your passport that is valid from the date you stated on your application that you planned to enter the UK. It is valid for 30 days from that date. So that means that you have 30 days to enter the UK from your original planned date before that clearance expires. Example: I put August 25th and I had until the 24th of September to enter the UK.  If you are not able to enter between those dates for certain reasons then you must contact the Visa Centre and get an extension.  There is a fee associated to this as well.

Alright time to book flights and head off on your new exciting adventure abroad!

When you arrive in the UK you then have 10 business days to pick up your actual UK Ancesty Visa Resident card from a post office located nearby to the address you stated you were staying at upon your arrival in the UK.  When you get your documents back from the UK Visa Centre, there will be a letter with your visa approval and the address of the post office. Make sure to have valid photo ID (passport when picking it up.)  The card looks like a drivers license with your photo ID on it.

And that is more or less the process for applying for the UK Ancestry Visa.  I hope I was able to provide valuable insight to the Ancestry Visa and if you are considering making the move abroad, I highly encourage it! It’s such an amazing gift to be able to apply for this visa and the whole of Europe travel is at your doorstep while having the opportunity to gain international work and life experience.


If you have any questions on this visa process, leave a comment below or email me and I am more than happy to answer any questions.

Not sure of moving abroad is for you ?  Check out my post on Why You Should Move Abroad

Safe Travels!

Lori xx








  1. September 6, 2019 / 4:23 am

    This content is very nice and informative for me. Keep writing and share with us. Thank you so much.

    • September 6, 2019 / 12:43 pm

      I’m so happy to hear that! If you have any questions at all, Please let me know! Thanks for sharing

  2. Meghan
    February 19, 2020 / 12:49 pm

    Oh my goodness this was very helpful, I’m planning on doing this for a move date or September 2020 so I’ll be applying in June. It’s nice to read about the process from a fellow Canadian (I’ve read a lot of Aussie posts about this process) I didn’t realize I needed the long form birth certificate as well though, back to service Ontario I go.

    • February 21, 2020 / 2:20 am

      Hi Meghan! I’m so happy to hear that this was informative for you. I also feel lost when doing the application. If you have any more questions more than happy to help! Best of luck!

  3. Jake Bowley
    July 6, 2020 / 5:03 pm

    The fee for the Visa itself has now doubled.

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