Because of anomalies in UK Nationality laws dating between 1914 and 1983, many people mistakenly think they do not qualify for UK citizenship and then go through arduous visa application processes unnecessarily.
The reason for the anomalies relate amongst many other things, to two different factors. Firstly, recent gender anti-discrimination legislation has been introduced that retrospectively allows British women to pass on their nationality to their children (subject to certain conditions). And secondly, instances where a Commonwealth citizen has a UK-born grandparent can often lead to British Nationality claims. Applicants who were disadvantaged by the gender discrimination of the previous laws can bring claims forward for their own children, provided that certain other criterion is met. Such applications fall to Home Office discretion and have to be lodged before the 18th birthday of the child concerned.
The UK Ancestry Visa is, strictly speaking, an employment visa. It is available to any Commonwealth citizen (which includes South Africa, Zimbabwe, Australia, New Zealand and Canada) who has a grandparent born in the UK (including Ireland before 1922). A successful applicant must be over the age of 17, and while there is no stipulated upper age limit, any applicants over 60 will have to demonstrate further abilities to generate income and to be economically active whilst in the UK. Age should in theory be no bar to the acquisition of this status. And although an applicant past retirement age can expect to encounter difficulties, cases have been won on anti-age discrimination precedents.
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