Some UK Ancestry dependants can settle sooner than you may think
07 February 2023
If you are the partner or child of a person with UK Ancestry, you may be eligible to apply for settlement in the UK earlier than you may think, and in some cases immediately.
In this article ‘person with UK Ancestry’ means a person who has UK immigration permission under the UK Ancestry route, or who has British citizenship or is settled in the UK following on from holding such permission.
There are a number of reasons why dependants of persons with UK Ancestry are in a more favourable position than dependants in most other immigration categories:
- Unlike for other routes, the partner of a person with UK Ancestry is not required to complete a qualifying period of five years as a partner dependant before becoming eligible for settlement;
- The partner of a person with UK Ancestry is not subject to a continuous residence requirement for settlement in the UK;
- It is not necessary for a dependant to have immigration permission as a dependant of a person with UK Ancestry when they apply for settlement; and
- Settlement as the dependant of a person with UK Ancestry can happen even though the main applicant has gone on to become settled or a British citizen.
These reasons are underappreciated and may lead to eligible individuals staying on limited immigration permission for longer than required, and/or to them making unnecessary and costly immigration applications.
Who is a dependant of a person with UK Ancestry?
Broadly, a dependant under the UK Ancestry route is:
- The spouse, civil partner or unmarried partner (cohabiting for at least the two years before the application) of a person with UK Ancestry; and
- The child of person with UK Ancestry, provided the child is either under 18, or over 18 but was last granted permission as a child dependant of a person with UK Ancestry.
What are the notable requirements for settlement as a dependant of a person with UK Ancestry?
The person with UK Ancestry must either:
- Be applying for settlement at the same time as the dependant;
- Be settled following on from holding immigration permission under the UK Ancestry route; or
- Have acquired British citizenship following on from holding immigration permission under the UK Ancestry route.
With limited exceptions, a child dependant can only be granted settlement where their other parent is being granted settlement at the same time, is already settled or is a British citizen.
The dependant must be in the UK and can hold or have last been granted immigration permission in any category except for the following:
- Short-term Student;
- Parent of a Child Student;
- Seasonal Worker;
- Domestic Worker in a Private Household; or
- Immigration permission granted outside the Immigration Rules.
They must not be on immigration bail and (with limited exceptions) must not be an overstayer.
This position is considerably more liberal than the immigration requirements for dependants to settle in most other immigration categories. There is no requirement to ever have been granted immigration status as the dependant of a person with UK Ancestry, nor are there any requirements relating to absences from the UK.
A partner dependant must still however be able to demonstrate they in a genuine and subsisting relationship with the person with UK Ancestry and intend to live together with that person while they are in the UK.
A child dependant must be able to demonstrate they are not living an independent life if they are aged 16 or over.
If the partner or child dependant is aged 18 or over on the date of application, they must also meet an English Language requirement and have passed the Life in the UK Test.
What are some the main practical implications of these Rules?
Examples of scenarios where these Rules may be beneficial include the following:
- If the person with UK Ancestry is settled or has become a British citizen and their partner has been granted entry clearance under Appendix FM or any other non-excluded category, the partner can apply for settlement immediately after they arrive in the UK (and any linked child dependants can apply at the same time); and
- If a person is in the UK with permission under any non-excluded immigration category and becomes the partner of a person with UK Ancestry, they can apply for settlement immediately unless the person with UK Ancestry is not yet eligible for settlement under the route.
If you require assistance with an application or have any queries about the UK Ancestry route and eligibility for dependants, please get in touch with a member of our Immigration Team.