Notes on the UK Ancestry Visa Process



Update on visa issue – for a complete history of our experience with the ‘Ancestry Visa’ I suggest you read from the bottom forward.

Sometimes you just go with the ‘best guess’ in the murky world of government regulation.

To recapitulate, at last count we had applied for Heather’s visa, as a dependent based on my ancestry visa.  Everything went swimmingly until we went to pay for the five years of health coverage – a requirement.

The UK Visa site would allow us to pay only for one year.  So we paid for the year, sent the application through the Vancouver Visa Services office, and waited.  [Again Visa Services is simply a company that handles paper and biometrics – you need not sweat about an interview.]

About the time we were expecting her visa to be processed, two weeks after we submitted her application, she received an e-mail telling us we had to pay for five years, not one – which of course we knew already.  Fortunately this time they sent two links, the most important one linked to the UK Consulate in New York so that we could pay in U.S. dollars.  We dutifully paid it immediately, and waited.

The following week [we suspect they bring files out on a rotational basis] we received word that the visa had been issued, and her passport would be returned via DHL through a prior arrangement with the Visa Services office in Vancouver.

It arrived safely?.

Now for the next issue which is tied into the other part of the visa process.  In preparing for our trip, to get the best choice of Airbnb in Paris, we felt we could not wait so in February we booked a place to stay.  Now we had our visas in hand BUT…

…the ‘but’ is once we arrive in England, eight days later, our biometric card will need to be picked up at our designated post office.  However we timed our departure based on how long we thought it would take to find permanent accommodation…about six days.

We now have our departure for Paris booked for two days prior to the arrival of our biometric card.  The biometric card is essential  for our return to England, so we have no choice.  Either the card arrives early, or we will eat the cost of our train tickets and initial nights’ accommodation in Paris.  It is hopeless to contact UK visas, we tried and again their online ’email a question’ section is absolutely useless.

Incidentally we believe this could have been resolved had we known it is timed for one week after our arrival in the UK – AS RECORDED ON OUR VISA APPLICATION.  Had we put a week earlier as our arrival date on our original application for a visa it would have resolved this problem.

So once again the expression that applies is ‘inshallah’.  

Another Day – Another Issue

 …OR What to do when the UK website gives you the wrong number for your health services fee.

Okay – so my visa came.   Now it is time to prepare my wife, Heather’s, application for a visa.  Question 1, since I am the applicant with the ‘ancestry’, does she apply for an ‘ancestry’ work permit  because she is eligible based on a relationship to me, or, does she apply as my ‘dependent’?

Scouring the UK Immigration site – no answer.  I then sent a note through the UK Immigration ‘question’ page.  The answer was basically – sorry we do not answer questions.  Then it was off to the Internet – nothing.  So what to do.

Make an educated guess – ‘dependent’.

Everything seems to go well until we reached the end of the electronic application.  We need to pay the Health Care [IHS] fee of £1,000 [£200 per year].  NO – it only allows me to pay for one year.   So yet more swimming in mud to try to find an answer to this problem.   We will keep you posted.


After canvassing Reddit, the UK site, and Google there was no solution to the dilemma.

On the one hand we  completed the application  but the Health Premium showed only a fee for one year £200, but we knew we had to pay for five years, £1,000.  I did the usual, e-mailing the UK government contact e-mail.  Once again I received a prompt reply that was of no value.

We decided that having exhausted our ‘search for information’ – we would simply pay the one year fee, include a note to the UK visa office in New York.

But before doing that I decided to give their ‘pay by the minute’ line and see if they were any better.  They first confirmed that I had the correct application – in this case a non points based dependent work permit application.  The person then said yes, she understood the issue and what I should do is file the application through the VAC having paid for the one year IHS fee.  The UK visa office in New York would then contact me when they reviewed the application and give me instructions with regard to how to pay the remaining fee that was due.  Relief at last!  …or perhaps better put, we will file the application then wait to determine if the person was correct.

Our appointment at the VAC in Vancouver is booked for Friday.  We are fortunate that we are not doing this at the last minute because there can be delays given the lack of information available to applicants.

UK Ancestry ‘Visa’ Received

Copy of Ancestry Entry Clearance

Received by DHL my returned documents, after notification yesterday by e-mail from the UK Consulate in New York that the visa was approved.

What happens next – visa is valid for one month from the date I noted as ‘travel date’ on my original visa application.  Once we arrive in the UK I must go to the Post Office I listed as the point of collection for my biometric card.  That card acts as a primary document to show I have status in the United Kingdom, and must be used for re-entry to the UK.  COMPLICATION – our plan was to visit Bournemouth for nine days.  During that time we would locate a place to live, and open a bank account etc.  We were then going to travel to Paris.

However the letter from the Consulate says the card will be available as of ten days after my arrival in the UK.  With a trip to Paris booked nine days after our arrival we can only hope for arrival of the card a day early.