The Ancestry visa allows commonwealth citizens, with at least one grandparent born in the UK, to enter the UK in order to work. Leave is granted for up to five years after which time applicants can either extend their leave or apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). Here we review the requirements for ILR.
Although applicants would have demonstrated their ancestry when they applied for entry clearance, they will need to do so again for their ILR application.
Meeting the ancestry requirements requires applicants to demonstrate that they are a commonwealth citizen, aged 17 or over and that at least one of their grandparents was born in the UK.
Applicants may need to submit their grandparents’ and parents’ marriage certificates, as well as birth certificates, in order to demonstrate the link between the applicant and the grandparent. Any changes of name of any ancestor should be clear to the Home Office caseworker.
If an applicant or their parent is adopted, they will need to demonstrate that either they have been adopted by someone who has a parent born in the UK, one of their parents was adopted by someone born in the UK, or their grandparents by birth (blood grandparents) were born in the UK.
Accommodation and maintenance
Applicants must demonstrate that they will ‘be able to maintain and accommodate himself and any dependants adequately without recourse to public funds’.
This requirement is quite vague. The term ‘adequately’ is defined in the Immigration Rules as:
“adequate” and “adequately” in relation to a maintenance and accommodation requirement shall mean that, after income tax, national insurance contributions and housing costs have been deducted, there must be available to the family the level of income that would be available to them if the family was in receipt of income support.
This calculation can be complex and is case specific. There is some guidance for meeting this requirement available, however this is much more focused on partner-based applications. Applicants should submit bank statements evidencing income (these should also be provided to evidence work in the UK), as well as any savings accounts or investment accounts.
Home Office caseworkers can also take into account how much space applicants have for their exclusive use and the size of the property, so applicants should provide information about the size of the property and evidence that they reside there, including rental agreements, letters from landlords or property ownership documents. Bills, HMRC documents and council tax documents addressed to the applicant also help demonstrate that the accommodation is genuine.
Employed or seeking further work
Applicants should demonstrate that they are employment or are in self-employment. The guidance document for Home Office caseworkers states that evidence can include employment contracts and letters from employers, along with payslips and evidence of the payment entering the bank account. If the applicant is self-employed then business accounts, tax documentation and an official letter from a registered accountant that confirms self-employment may be used. Evidence of invoices, information about the company and advertising material can also be considered.
Applicants should provide evidence of their work history throughout the five-year period. If the applicant is unemployed at the time of the application they must provide this evidence. If they are seeking employment, applicants should provide evidence of this as well as any reasons why they have not been able to find work.
There will be more scrutiny of an application where the individual is unemployed and Home Office caseworkers will consider how the applicant has managed to support themselves without access to public funds. There should be adequate evidence of the applicant’s maintenance and their source of income in these cases.
Residence in the UK
Applicants must have resided in the UK for five continuous years and should provide evidence of this, such as bills addressed to them in the UK, or details of their work history, throughout their residence.
Applicants also need to meet the absence requirement. The rules regarding the 180-day absence limit have changed and different rules apply depending on whether the applicant’s last grant of leave was before or after 11 January 2018.
If an applicant was granted leave before 11 January 2018 the old rules of no more than 180 days absence per 12 month period (calculated as ending on the date the ILR application is submitted) will apply. If the applicant’s last leave was granted on or after 11 January 2018, the applicant should not be absent for more than 180-days in any 12 month rolling period.