stlvsanc

 

The battle between these two visas takes place daily.

Often South Africans find themselves trying to weigh up their options (to see which serves them best). We find there are cases where applicants are entitled to both visas (UK Ancestry visa and the UK Settlement visa).

This page operates on basis of understanding that in the family case being presented, that only one partner has UK birthrights. Usually, the partner has a claim through descent (parent born in the UK). This page doesn’t factor cases where both partners have UK birth rights to claim.

To get started, each visa is defined as followed:

UK ANCESTRY VISA (main applicant)UK SETTLEMENT VISA (main applicant)
Hereafter referred to as “ANC“.Hereafter referred to as “STL“.
Caters for South Africans that have a grandparent that was born in the UK.Caters for South Africans that are married to British passport holders.
R13,700.00

Now that we have introduced our contestants, we are going to continue with the assumption that the applicant in question does in fact qualify for both visas (ie that they are not minors).

Let’s take a look at the basics of their offerings:

 UK Ancestry Work Visa (ANC) UK Settlement Work Visa (STL)
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ANC caters for South Africans with UK born grandparents.

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STL caters for South Africans with British national immediate family member.

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ANC is issued for initial 5 years.

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STL is issued for initial 2.5 years.

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ANC grants settlement rights (right to live and work in the UK).

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STL grants settlement right (right to live and work in the UK).

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ANC permits immediate family dependents to join main applicant.

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STL permits immediate family dependents to join main applicant.

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ANC takes 15 working days to process (standard).

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STL takes 60 working days to process (standard).

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ANC is commonly refused when applicants supply unrecognized supporting documents and incorrect birth certificates.

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STL has the highest refusal rate and majority of cases are refused where British nationals do not sufficiently evidence the financial requirement.

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ANC takes 5 years of continued UK residence to earn permanent resident status. It takes 6 continuous years of UK residence to earn British nationality.

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STL takes 5 years of continued UK residence to earn permanent resident status. It takes 6 continuous years of UK residence to earn British nationality.

Before the battle begins, upfront we can already draw the following conclusions:

1. ANC (Ancestry visa) is issued initially twice as long as the STL (Settlement visa).
2. ANC is processed and issued quicker than the STL.
3. STL has the highest risk of refusal, therefore ANC has less risk.

That means we are entering a match where the ANC has 3 clear advantages over the STL.

To best compare these two categories, let us take a look at the whole picture.

LOGIC

Logic dictates that surely it should be more of an advantage for South Africans to pass through the UK border with a British national (STL) than if they claim birthrights from a distant relative (ANC). Logic would also assume that joining a British national in the UK (as a family dependent) would have more benefits.

The reality is that there are absolutely no additional benefits for South Africans. Logically ANC and STL are equals. They both grant the same settlement rights.

Therefore no visa has the upper hand when it comes to competing for benefits. In fact, they are actually offering exactly the same conditions to be in the UK.

GET A BRITISH PASSPORT QUICKER?

Common confusion experienced here. The fact though is that ANC and STL visas both take South Africans 6 continuous years of UK residence to qualify for British nationality through the residence.

Again, no visa outperforms the other when it comes to comparing the long term benefits.

2018 Edit: The above-mentioned ability to gain British citizenship primarily relates to married dependents. There is special provision for biological minors of British passport holders (through descent). Minors can get British citizenship quicker if they are able to evidence that their parent has resided in the UK for 3 years or more.

MEETING QUALIFYING REQUIREMENTS

ANC’s biggest hurdle (time consuming factor) relates to birth certificates. This is a common delay in these cases.
STL’s biggest hurdle (technical factor) relates to the financial requirement. This is why these cases are commonly refused.

Naturally, main applicants who have the choice between ANC or STL take the birth certificates (processing times) into consideration.

Move Up however helps present birth certificate solutions (to help source the documents through third parties).

What this means is that ANC’s hurdle is no longer much of a factor. If anything, it frees the main applicant from risks and gives the upper edge to ANC.

INITIAL COSTS

OK. Now that our contestants have warmed up, we can really begin this battle.

Please note that I have included the new NHS fee rate (£400 per annum as opposed to the current £200 per annum).


This scenario applies to couples only. That includes both married and unmarried relationships (with legally recognized cohabitation).

ANC Consideration
In visa terms, one partner has a UK born grandparent (main applicant) and the other is seen as a married like dependent (1 family dependent).

Summary of 2 visa applicants. ANC main applicant and 1 ANC family dependent.

Calculation for ANC
Main Applicant (UK Grandparent)Married Like Partner
British Passport
Visa Fee£531.00£531.00
NHS£2,000.00£2,000.00
TOTAL PER APPLICANT£2,531.00£2,531.00

STL Consideration
In visa terms, one partner has a British passport (and therefore cannot apply for UK visa) and the other partner will need a visa.

Summary of 1 visa applicant. Married like dependent on British national (seen as the main applicant of UK Settlement visa).

Calculation for STL
Main (British Passport Holder)Married Like Partner
British Passport£122.00
Visa Fee£1,523.00
NHS£1,200.00
TOTAL PER APPLICANT£122.00 £2,723.00

Summary for Couples.

ANC has a combined total of £5,062 (2 x £2,531).
STL has a combined total of £2,845 (£122 + £2,723).

The conclusion is, therefore, STL visa is initially cheaper for couples.


This scenario applies to couples that share a biological minor dependent (that will be below the age of 18 years old at the time of visa submission) looking to permanently relocate.

Please note that stepchildren (minors from previous relationships) have more additional factors of consideration.

ANC Consideration
In visa terms, one parent has a UK born grandparent (main applicant) and the other partner is seen as a married like dependent (partner). Together they bring their minor (therefore 2 family dependents).

Summary of 3 visa applicants. ANC main applicant and 2 ANC family dependent.

Calculation for ANC
Main ApplicantPartnerMinor
British Passport
Visa Fee£531.00£531.00£531.00
NHS£2,000.00£2,000.00£2,000.00
TOTAL PER APPLICANT£2,531.00£2,531.00£2,531.00

STL Consideration
In visa terms, one partner has a British passport (and therefore cannot apply for UK visa) and the other partner will need a visa (seen as the main applicant of UK Settlement visa). The minor will also need the UK Settlement visa (seen as the family dependent of British passport holder).

Summary of 2 visa applicants. Married like dependent on British national and a minor dependent.

Calculation for STL
British Passport HolderPartnerMinor
British Passport£122.00
Visa Fee£1,523.00£1,523.00
NHS£1,200.00£1,200.00
TOTAL PER APPLICANT£122.00 £2,723.00£2,723.00

Summary for Couples with 1 Minor Dependent.

ANC has a combined total of £7,593 (3 x £2,531).
STL has a combined total of £5,568 (£122 + (2 x £2,723)).

The conclusion is, therefore, STL visa is initially cheaper for couples with 1 minor dependent.


This scenario applies to couples that share two biological minor dependents (that will be below the age of 18 years old at the time of visa submission) looking to permanently relocate.

Please note that stepchildren (minors from previous relationships) have more additional factors of consideration. The same cost though.

ANC Consideration
In visa terms, one parent has a UK born grandparent (main applicant) and the other partner is seen as a married like dependent (partner). Together they bring their two minors (therefore 3 family dependents).

Summary of 4 visa applicants. ANC main applicant and 3 ANC family dependents.

Calculation for ANC
Main ApplicantPartnerMinor
British Passport
Visa Fee£531.00£531.00£531.00
NHS£2,000.00£2,000.00£2,000.00
TOTAL PER APPLICANT£2,531.00£2,531.00£2,531.00

STL Consideration
In visa terms, one partner has a British passport (and therefore cannot apply for UK visa) and the other partner will need a visa (seen as the main applicant of UK Settlement visa). Each minor will need the UK Settlement visa (as the family dependent of British passport holder).

Summary of 3 visa applicant. Married like dependent on British national (main applicant) and 2 minor dependents.

Calculation for STL
British Passport HolderPartnerMinor
British Passport£122.00
Visa Fee£1,523.00£1,523.00
NHS£1,200.00£1,200.00
TOTAL PER APPLICANT£122.00 £2,723.00£2,723.00

Summary for Couples with 2 Minor Dependent.

ANC has a combined total of £10,124 (4 x £2,531).
STL has a combined total of £8,291 (£122 + (3 x £2,723)).

The conclusion is, therefore, STL visa is initially cheaper for couples with 2 minor dependents.


This scenario applies to couples that share three biological minor dependents (that will be all below the age of 18 years old at the time of visa submission) looking to permanently relocate.

Please note that stepchildren (minors from previous relationships) have more additional factors of consideration. Same costs though.

ANC Consideration
In visa terms, one parent has a UK born grandparent (main applicant) and the other partner is seen as a married like dependent (partner). Together they bring their minors (therefore 4 family dependents).

Summary of 5 visa applicants. ANC main applicant and 4 ANC family dependents.

Calculation for ANC
Main ApplicantPartnerMinor
British Passport
Visa Fee£531.00£531.00£531.00
NHS£2,000.00£2,000.00£2,000.00
TOTAL PER APPLICANT£2,531.00£2,531.00£2,531.00

STL Consideration
In visa terms, one partner has a British passport (and therefore cannot apply for UK visa) and the other partner will need a visa (seen as UK Settlement visas main applicant. Each minor will need to consider the UK Settlement visa as well (seen as minor dependents of British national).

Summary of 4 visa applicant. Married like dependent on British national (main applicant) and 3 minor dependents.

Calculation for STL
British Passport HolderPartnerMinor
British Passport£122.00
Visa Fee£1,523.00£1,523.00
NHS£1,200.00£1,200.00
TOTAL PER APPLICANT£124.00 £2,723.00£2,723.00

Summary for Couples with 3 Minor Dependent.

ANC has a combined total of £12,655 (5 x £2,531).
STL has a combined total of £11,014 (£122 + (4 x £2,723)).

The conclusion is, therefore, STL visa is initially cheaper for couples with 3 minor dependents.


OK. STL visa has stepped up to the plate and is cheaper initially (in all scenarios).

TOTAL COSTS

We work on the basis of understanding that the main applicant of either the STL or Spouse Dependent on ANC visa spends 6 continuous years in the UK. It does not make allowance for either case to have spent time outside of the UK of longer than 180 days per annum.

Another factor of consideration is that we work on the basis of understanding that in 6 years time, the minor will remain under the age of 16 years (old). Different costs are incurred for adult cases (British passport applications specifically).

Further to this, we operate with the understanding that the family in question fly over together and start UK residence together.

We are simply asking “which approach is cheaper in the long run?


This scenario applies to couples only. We are looking at the whole transaction from start to finish.

ANC Consideration
In visa terms, one partner has a UK born grandparent (main applicant) and the other is seen as a married like dependent (1 family dependent).

Summary of 2 visa applicants. ANC main applicant and 1 ANC family dependent.

Calculation for ANC
Main Applicant (UK Grandparent)Married Like Partner
Entry Clearance
British Passport
Visa Fee£531.00£531.00
NHS£2,000.00£2,000.00
Extension
Permanent Residence
Indefinite Leave to Remain£2,389.00£2,389.00
Naturalization
Request British citizenship.£1,330.00£1,330.00
Request British passport.£122.00£122.00
TOTAL PER APPLICANT£6,372.00£6,372.00

STL Consideration
In visa terms, one partner has a British passport (and therefore cannot apply for UK visa) and the other partner will need a visa.

Summary of 1 visa applicant. Married like dependent on British national (seen as the main applicant of UK Settlement visa).

Calculation for STL
British Passport HolderMarried Like Partner
Entry Clearance
British Passport£122.00
Visa Fee£1,523.00
NHS£1,200.00
Extension
Further Leave to Remain£1,033.00
NHS Contribution£1,200.00
Permanent Residence
Indefinite Leave to Remain£2,389.00
Naturalization
Request British citizenship.£1,330.00
Request British passport.£122.00
TOTAL PER APPLICANT£122.00£8,797.00

Summary for Couples.

ANC has a combined total of £12,744 (2 x £6,372).
STL has a combined total of £8,919 (£122 + £8,797).

Based on the current visa fees, the conclusion (based on total expected transaction) is that STL visa is cheaper for couples.


This scenario applies to couples that share a biological minor dependent (that will be below the age of 18 years old at the time of visa submission) looking to permanently relocate.

Please note that stepchildren (minors from previous relationships) have more additional factors of consideration.

ANC Consideration
In visa terms, one parent has a UK born grandparent (main applicant) and the other partner is seen as a married like dependent (partner). Together they bring their minor (therefore 2 family dependents).

Summary of 3 visa applicants. ANC main applicant and 2 ANC family dependent.

Calculation for ANC
Main ApplicantPartnerMinor
Entry Clearance
British Passport
Visa Fee£531.00£531.00£531.00
NHS£2,000.00£2,000.00£2,000.00
Extension
Permanent Residence
Indefinite Leave to Remain£2,389.00£2,389.00£2,389.00
Naturalization
Request British citizenship.£1,330.00£1,330.00£1,330.00
Request British passport.£122.00£122.00£86.00
TOTAL PER APPLICANT£6,372.00£6,372.00£6,336.00

STL Consideration
In visa terms, one partner has a British passport (and therefore cannot apply for UK visa) and the other partner will need a visa. So too will their biological minor.

Summary of 2 visa applicants. Married like dependent of British national (seen as the main applicant of UK Settlement visa) and a minor dependent (seen as the minor dependent of British passport holder – also lodging UK Settlement visa dependency).

Calculation for STL
British Passport HolderPartnerMinor
Entry Clearance
British Passport£122.00
Visa Fee£1,523.00£1,523.00
NHS£1,200.00£1,200.00
Extension
Further Leave to Remain£1,033.00£1,033.00
NHS Contribution£1,200.00£1,200.00
Permanent Residence
Indefinite Leave to Remain£2,389.00
Naturalization
Request British citizenship.£1,330.00£1,012.00
Request British passport.£122.00£86.00
TOTAL PER APPLICANT£122.00£8,797.00£6,054.00

Summary for Couples with 1 Minor Dependent.

ANC has a combined total of £19,080.00 ((2 x £6,372.00) + £6,336.00).
STL has a combined total of £14,973.00 (£122 + £8,797.00 + £6,054.00).

Based on the current visa fees, the conclusion (based on total expected transaction) is that the STL visa is cheaper for couples with 1 minor dependent.


This scenario applies to couples that share two biological minor dependents (that will be below the age of 18 years old at the time of visa submission) looking to permanently relocate.

Please note that stepchildren (minors from previous relationships) have more additional factors of consideration. The same cost though.

ANC Consideration
In visa terms, one parent has a UK born grandparent (main applicant) and the other partner is seen as a married like dependent (partner). Together they bring their two minors (therefore 3 family dependents).

Summary of 4 visa applicants. ANC main applicant and 3 ANC family dependents.

Calculation for ANC
Main ApplicantPartnerMinor
Entry Clearance
British Passport
Visa Fee£531.00£531.00£531.00
NHS£2,000.00£2,000.00£2,000.00
Extension
Permanent Residence
Indefinite Leave to Remain£2,389.00£2,389.00£2,389.00
Naturalization
Request British citizenship.£1,330.00£1,330.00£1,330.00
Request British passport.£122.00£122.00£86.00
TOTAL PER APPLICANT£6,372.00£6,372.00£6,336.00

STL Consideration
In visa terms, one partner has a British passport (and therefore cannot apply for UK visa) and the other partner will need a visa. So too will their 2 biological minor.

Summary of 3 visa applicants. Married like dependent of British national (seen as the main applicant of UK Settlement visa) and 2 minor dependents (seen as the minor dependent of British passport holder – also lodging UK Settlement visa dependency).

Calculation for STL
British Passport HolderPartnerMinor
Entry Clearance
British Passport£122.00
Visa Fee£1,523.00£1,523.00
NHS£1,200.00£1,200.00
Extension
Further Leave to Remain£1,033.00£1,033.00
NHS Contribution£1,200.00£1,200.00
Permanent Residence
Indefinite Leave to Remain£2,389.00
Naturalization
Request British citizenship.£1,330.00£1,012.00
Request British passport.£122.00£86.00
TOTAL PER APPLICANT£122.00£8,797.00£6,054.00

Summary for Couples with 2 Minor Dependent.

ANC has a combined total of £25,416.00 ((2 x £6,372.00) + (2 x £6,336.00)).
STL has a combined total of £21,027.00 (£122 + £8,797.00 + (2 x £6,054.00)).

Based on the current visa fees, the conclusion (based on total expected transaction) is that the STL visa is cheaper for couples with 2 minor dependents.


This scenario applies to couples that share three biological minor dependents (that will be all below the age of 18 years old at the time of visa submission) looking to permanently relocate.

Please note that stepchildren (minors from previous relationships) have more additional factors of consideration. Same costs though.

ANC Consideration
In visa terms, one parent has a UK born grandparent (main applicant) and the other partner is seen as a married like dependent (partner). Together they bring their minors (therefore 4 family dependents).

Summary of 5 visa applicants. ANC main applicant and 4 ANC family dependents.

Calculation for ANC
Main ApplicantPartnerMinor
Entry Clearance
British Passport
Visa Fee£531.00£531.00£531.00
NHS£2,000.00£2,000.00£2,000.00
Extension
Permanent Residence
Indefinite Leave to Remain£2,389.00£2,389.00£2,389.00
Naturalization
Request British citizenship.£1,330.00£1,330.00£1,330.00
Request British passport.£122.00£122.00£86.00
TOTAL PER APPLICANT£6,372.00£6,372.00£6,336.00

STL Consideration
In visa terms, one partner has a British passport (and therefore cannot apply for UK visa) and the other partner will need a visa. So too will their 2 biological minor.

Summary of 3 visa applicants. Married like dependent of British national (seen as the main applicant of UK Settlement visa) and 2 minor dependents (seen as the minor dependent of British passport holder – also lodging UK Settlement visa dependency).

Calculation for STL
British Passport HolderPartnerMinor
Entry Clearance
British Passport£122.00
Visa Fee£1,523.00£1,523.00
NHS£1,200.00£1,200.00
Extension
Further Leave to Remain£1,033.00£1,033.00
NHS Contribution£1,200.00£1,200.00
Permanent Residence
Indefinite Leave to Remain£2,389.00
Naturalization
Request British citizenship.£1,330.00£1,012.00
Request British passport.£122.00£86.00
TOTAL PER APPLICANT£122.00£8,797.00£6,054.00

Summary for Couples with 3 Minor Dependent.

ANC has a combined total of £31,752.00 ((2 x £6,372.00) + (3 x £6,336.00)).
STL has a combined total of £27,081.00 (£122 + £8,797.00 + (3 x £6,054.00)).

Based on the current visa fees, the conclusion (based on total expected transaction) is that the STL visa is cheaper for couples with 3 minor dependents.

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CONCLUSION

For those in the position of needing to decide which visa is best to consider, we trust you have found this helpful.

The decision between these visas should not be based on cost alone. If you are looking to make a cost-based decision, STL takes the title as cheaper visa (in all scenarios).

There are however a number of factors that need to be taken into consideration. For example, the visa fee is the fee that is forfeited in the event of a visa refusal. STL visa has the highest visa fee (and the highest rate of refusal).

We trust you have found that this insight has helped clarify the whole visa transaction. If Move Up can help clarify the visa transaction, just imagine how much more helpful our friendly consultants are in helping prepare successful first-time submissions.

GET IN TOUCH

For those wondering, how long has this fight been going on, please take a look at our original 2016 Settlement Visa Versus Ancestry Visa article (with dated fees and consideration for only one dependent).