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Obtaining a UK Ancestry Visa: A Guide for Canadian Nationals

UK Ancestry Visa

Almost 400 Canadian citizens enter the U.K. on a five-year Ancestry visa every year. If you are a Canadian citizen and you have a grandparent who was born in the UK, you may be able to apply for a UK Ancestry visa subject to meeting the following eligibility requirements:

  • You are 17 or over,
  • You are a Canadian citizen,
  • You are able to prove that one of your grandparents was born in the UK,
  • You provide proof that you have the ability and intention to work in the UK, and
  • You have sufficient funds to support and accommodate yourself and any dependants in the UK.

Your UK Ancestry

As part of the application, you must show that you have a grandparent born in one of the following circumstances:

  • In the UK, including the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man
  • On a British-registered ship or aircraft.

Before 31 March 1922 in what is now the Republic of Ireland

You can claim ancestry if either you or the relevant parent:

  • Were adopted
  • Were born within or outside marriage in the UK.


If you or one of your parents were adopted, you will meet this requirement if you can prove one of the following:

  • You have been adopted by someone who has a parent born in the UK
  • One of your parents was adopted by someone born in the UK
  • Your grandparents by birth (blood grandparents) were born in the UK

The adoption must be through an adoption process recognised as valid for the purposes of UK law. An applicant cannot claim UK ancestry through step-parents

Evidence Required

A Canadian citizen applying for a UK Ancestry Visa should submit enough evidence to prove they have a UK born grandparent. Documentary evidence can include:

  • your full birth certificate
  • the full birth certificates of the parent and grandparent through whom you are making the ancestry application
  • legal adoption papers if you, or your parents, are adopted.
  • your marriage certificate or civil partnership registration document if your spouse or civil partner intends to join you in the UK
  • offers of employment or, if self-employed, business plan and/or company accounts
  • you may include the marriage certificates of parents and grandparents – this is not always required because ancestry can be through the legitimate or illegitimate line: this means the parents and/or the grandparents do not need to be married.

This is the most common difficulty Canadian citizens encounter is being unable to obtain their grandparent’s birth certificate or their parents’ marriage certificate. In this case, please contact Sterling Immigration and we will secure this for you through our UK office and forward it to you by secure courier.

Employment/seeking employment in UK

Paragraph 186(iv) of the Immigration Rules says an applicant must be able to work and intend to take or seek employment in the UK.

For you to meet this requirement, UK Visas must be satisfied that you either:

  • have a job in the UK
  • genuinely intend to look for a job (or become self-employed) and are realistically able to do this. To assess this UK Visas will take into account your age, health, career history and intended activity in the UK.

You only need to demonstrate that you are able to work and genuinely intend to seek employment. UK Visas cannot refuse a Canadian citizens’ UK Ancestry Visa application on the grounds of disability alone.

You do not have to be working at the time they apply. You are allowed to show that you will be studying in the UK and will be working part-time. You are not allowed to claim welfare/public funds in the UK.

To apply for an Ancestry visa, you don’t need to show that you have a job in the UK – only that you’re in the process of looking for a job. Evidence showing that you have updated your CV, registered on UK employment portals, sent your CV and Cover Letter speculatively to employers, registered with recruitment agencies and conducted research into potential employers in your intended destination in the UK are required.

Maintenance Funds

When applying for an Ancestry visa you must have around £4,750 in your account 90 days prior to your date of application. Your bank statements and bank certification should be dated within 30 days of when you make an application.

These funds can be given to you by a Sponsor, such as your parents or sibling(s). Your sponsor will need to provide a formal affidavit/statutory declaration confirming their financial support. This scenario is particularly relevant for young applicants who do not have much work experience.

What Are Some Common Mistakes in UK Ancestry Visa Applications?

Ancestry Visa applications are often refused due to failure to provide the required supporting evidence in the specified format such as providing bank statements which are out of date or do not cover a sufficient period of time.

What Are the Advantages of a UK Ancestry Visa?

If you obtain a visa in this category, you will be given a five-year visa and will be allowed to work, study and bring family members to the UK such as your spouse/partner and children.

The major attraction of this visa is that you will be able to apply for permanent residence in the UK upon completing 5 years lawful residence in this category. To learn more please schedule a consultation.

See also: British Ancestry Visa

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