I am quite fortunate that I have dual nationality and have the option of citizenship and citizenship pathways due to my family. I ended up applying for an Ancestry Visa (which is non-points based working visa) for the United Kingdom, this is a five-year visa – that gives you the option of eventually applying for citizenship. The other option available to me which I was not aware of in time was that I am also eligible to apply for Irish citizenship – this is a much lengthier process but much cheaper.
UK Ancestry Visa
The main thing about the Ancestry Visa is that it is expensive (though not as much as some other countries) – it ended up costing me about AUD$3,000 for the visa, paperwork that I had to order, and using the expedited process. The most expensive part of the visa is the health surcharge, for me it was about $1,700.
I learnt a lot of things through the process and I was quite fortunate that some friends had done the process earlier in the year (though only for the two-year visa). However, I did also rely on some online discussion posts to understand some of differences in terminology between the government website and the visa portal – Visa4UK.
Some of the things I learnt:
Do not complete your visa application when you have just bought a new mac laptop and have never used one before. Your boyfriend will leave the house because you are in such a foul mood.
You need to prove your ancestry each step of the way. I know this may seem like an obvious thing but essentially, I was claiming ancestry through my father’s mother which means ordering and using the following documents:
- My birth certificate
- My father’s birth certificate
- My mothers and father’s marriage certificate
- My father’s mothers birth certificate
- My paternal grandmother and grandfather’s marriage certificate
And this wasn’t even taking into consideration my name changes and needing to explain this. The positive thing about the UK is that you don’t necessarily need the original documents which is good when family members have copies but know that postage will take too long or there are concerns that documents may get lost in the post.
You need to make sure you contact your bank so they can give you a formal copy of your bank statement, this may mean doing this earlier then your statement usually comes. Further, you need to list all the dates of entry to foreign countries for the past 10 years. If not for Facebook and a couple of visas in my passport I would’ve been incredibly lost.
You need to attend an interview to hand over your paperwork. At the interview, you need to make sure you’ve got all the documents, if in doubt print it. They will not give you any advice at the counter, but will ask you for things that make you doubt your documentation. You also need to take all passports including expired ones. The positive of the non-points visa is that you don’t need to prove any of your educational qualifications, but you can if you want.
I am in the process of applying for citizenship because of the Brexit decision. I originally thought I wasn’t eligible to apply for Irish citizenship because my father’s mother was born in Northern Ireland. However, Irish citizenship can be claimed by those born on the Island of Ireland thus including Northern Ireland. I do need to register my birth as a foreign birth but after this lengthy process I can claim citizenship. The Irish citizenship does require a lot more paper work but is a cheaper process. I can write a longer post on this once I do the paperwork for this.
Overall, the visa process wasn’t too bad, I did put it off for a while because the website isn’t that user friendly and it does take you quite a while to fill in everything. Best of all my visa was approved!