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The many advantages of the UK Ancestral Route

The Ancestral Route remains one of the most popular ways for Commonwealth citizens, with a British-born grandparent, to live and work in the UK.


Image via Adobe Stock

There are many advantages to this immigration route. One of the main reasons for its popularity lies in the fact that the visa is not linked to a UK employer. Furthermore, after five years on this visa, the main visa holders and dependents will be able to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK.

The UK Ancestral Visa and Age Limits

One of the most frequently asked questions that Breytenbachs receives is on the UK Ancestral visa and its age limits.

The only age limit is the lower age limit. You have to be at least 17 years or older to qualify to apply.

There is not an upper age limit on applicants. However, you will have to show that you can work and that you do intend to take or seek work in the UK. Other than that, your age would not prevent you from applying. 

One can even fulfil the work requirement by doing voluntary work in the UK. The Home Office updated its guidance on this issue some months ago. They have now confirmed that voluntary work will suffice. However, you will still have to show that you have sufficient funds to support yourself in the UK. So, if an applicant does not have any income from UK employment, then this requirement would need to be met/evidenced differently when you eventually apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain.

Adopted parents or children

Breytenbachs also has clients who enquire whether the ancestral ties must be through blood relations. The good news is that persons can also apply for the UK Ancestral visa if they are adopted. Or, if the parent through whom they are claiming ancestry is an adopted child. One can also claim ancestry if either you or the relevant parent were born within or outside marriage.

It is, however, not possible to claim UK ancestry through step-parents.

Will there still be an Ancestry Visa after the official Brexit?

Many persons are concerned that they will only have time to apply for the Ancestral Visa Route until the UK formally leaves the EU. Unfortunately, there are also visa agents who scare persons with these stories in order to get them to apply.

Breytenbachs can confirm that UK Ancestral Visa falls outside the points-based immigration system. These routes will stay in place and will not be affected by any new points-based immigration system or Brexit.

How Breytenbachs can help you

Should you wish to apply for the UK Ancestral Visa, or have any other questions on this or other family visas, please email us at or visit our website at

Please note that the information in this article does not constitute professional advice. It is provided for general information purposes, without giving any warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied.