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UK Ancestral Visa: 3 Common mistakes SA applicants make

Source: News 24, 10/04/2018

Cape Town - It seems more than ever that South African`s are wanting to explore and work in other countries. There has been an increase in popularity of South Africans heading to the United Kingdom - with the help of their ancestral visa. Many South Africans hold ancestral roots with the United Kingdom - owing to a thriving expat community of about 200 00 South Africans living in the UK. If you`re wanting to join these up and coming individuals there are a number of things to consider. Overall, the process of applying for an ancestral visa can appear daunting as you want to ensure that it is successful. While some might be concerned about the implications Brexit - since the decision to leave the EU has caused much uncertainty for immigrants within the UK - it does not directly impact South Africans in the UK or those locals wanting to visit on an ancestral visa. Here`s what necessary and crucial information you need to know about - to make this process easier and to ensure a smooth application overall. 3 Common mistakes ancestral visa applicants make SA`s British High Commissioner spokesperson, Isabel Potgieter has stressed that there are three common mistakes applicants make during or prior to initiating the process. Firstly, it is important to understand and read the guidelines thoroughly and to fully understand the process and its requirements, advises Potgieter. The situation of applying for a visa is not as straightforward as many would hope due to individual specific circumstances or conditions. Secondly, applicants are strongly encouraged to understand their ancestral heritage/lineage to the countries needed specifically for the application to be considered. This means that one must check whether the grandparents was born in a country that is seen as applicable when applying for an ancestral visa to the UK. In many instances applicants are unaware of whether their lineage applies and how it does. A third common mistake made is not obtaining the proper birth certificate information for the relevant grandparent - meaning it must be intact and valid. It is crucial to adhere to the requirements and to thoroughly read the instructions - to ensure that your application has a strong chance of being accepted, states Potgieter. Key information Before you go ahead and book your ticket to whisk you away to the UK there are a few important factors you need to know. It is important that you are able to tick yes with these three requirements before you begin the process and check off on the complete list of eligibility requirements to get a UK ancestral visa. Apply if: 1. Are a commonwealth citizen - you can find out if this is applicable to you here. 2. Able to prove that one of your grandparents was born in the UK 3. If you are able and planning on working in the UK Cost: Application cost: R8 444.45 There is a cost for the healthcare surcharge - this cost is either paid online or at premium service centre. You can calculate this online here. When will I know? Applications take three weeks to process. Duration of validity: Visa valid for 5 years. When to apply: You can apply three months before you travel. Basic DOs and DONT`s You can: Work, study and bring family members You can`t: Switch to a UK visa if you are in the UK on another type of visa and you cannot get public funds. There is a full list of eligibility that must be read and is a strict requirement of the application process. Even though you might have ticked some of the requirements mentioned above there is a more detailed list of requirements - Are you eligible? Here are the strict requirements: 1. 17 years + 2. Enough money to support yourself or dependents without public funding. 3. Able and plan on working in the UK The question of ancestry is often misunderstood as each individual has different circumstances that cater to themselves. However, there are rigid rules as to whether you can be considered for an ancestral visa on the basis of your ancestry. It is very important to take note of this and ensure that your ancestry is applicable. Ancestral requirements In order for one`s ancestry to apply you must prove that one of your grandparents were born under the following circumstances - 1. Have documented proof of birth in the UK, Isle of Man or Channel Islands - this proof must be produced in birth certificate form. 2. Have documented proof that they were born in the Republic of Ireland before 1922. 3. In the circumstances that they were on a British registered ship or aircraft You can also claim for ancestry if either you or your parents have - 1. Been adopted 2. Were born within or outside of marriage in the UK. It is important to know that ancestry cannot be applicable if applied through via step-parents or grandparents. Documentation required General application documents: 1. Proof of passport - it must be currently valid and have a single blank page for the visa. 2. Bank statements - proof of financial support. 3. Tuberculosis test results - test costs must be paid for independently and is applicable if you are entering the UK for 6 months +. South Africans are considered on the list to conduct a tuberculosis test as a part of their application process. There are designated testing centres chosen by the British Commission across SA. It is a process that must be adhered to. When taking the Tuberculosis test ensure that you take the following with you: - Two passport photos - Passport - Proof of payment for Tuberculosis test Ancestral documents: 1. Your full birth certificate. 2. Marriage certificate or civil partnership certificate if your partner wants to join you. 3. Full birth certificates of the parent or grandparent that your ancestry claim is based on. 4. Marriage certificates of either your parents or grandparents. 5. Legal adoption papers if you or your parents were adopted. There is a more detailed list that one can review Apply The application process is carried out online. Part of the application requires that biometric information - a photograph and finger prints be taken at the nearest visa application centre. They are located across South Africa and are known as The TSL contact centre in SA. When applying online - follow this process: 1. Fill the application form out in English 2. Pay the visa fee - online 3. Print out the form 4. Ensure you have all the necessary documentation required 5. Visit the nearest Visa application centre. There is an online site for applying for UK visas, Visa4UK. Residency and visa extensions The ancestral visa lasts 5 years and one can apply for residence once your ancestral visa validity has ended. This proves to benefit many South Africans because they can easily assume permanent residence in the UK upon the ending of their ancestral visa. There is also the option to extend the ancestral visa for another 5 years and this application process can be carried out individually via post or through a premium service provider. A form can be downloaded Cost: £993 (about R16 923 via post and £1 583 (about R26 979 at R1) in person and through a premium service provider. Decision: - postal applications are provided with a decision in 8 weeks - in person applications will find out the same day if they have been successful


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