What is a Minister of Religion Visa?
The Minister of Religion visa is for those who are eligible to come to the UK to perform religious duties. In most cases, this work must be considered a ‘key leading role’ within the faith-based organisation or religious order, and not administrative and clerical work.
The Minister of Religion visa has replaced the Tier 2 Minister of Religion Visa. There have been a number of changes to the UK’s immigration system since leaving the European Union.
People who are eligible for the Minister of Religion visa T2 include people who have been formally offered a job within a valid faith community in the UK. This role could include minister of religion, missionary, or member of a religious order.
As with all visa categories, you must demonstrate fully how you meet the eligibility criteria, by completing a comprehensive application form and submitting documentary evidence to show why your Minister of Religion application should be granted.
How to apply for the Minister of Religion Visa
To apply for the Minister of Religion visa T2, you must receive a formal job offer from a sponsor with a religion visa sponsor license to live and work in the UK.
Your sponsor will complete the necessary checks and will issue you with a certificate of sponsorship (COS) if you meet the eligibility criteria. This is a unique identifier that you submit as part of your application.
The application process takes place online at this Gov.uk visa application page. You will also be required to attend a visa application centre to provide evidence of your identity and give your biometric information (fingerprints and facial photograph).
You can submit your application for the Minister of Religion visa T2 no earlier than three months in advance of the date you start work. Visa applications for the Minister of Religion visa T2 from outside the UK are likely to be processed within three weeks. After you get your decision notice, you can get a biometric residence permit within 10 working days.
Depending on where you apply, the application fee for the T2 Minister of Religion visa will depend on where you submit your application. If you are applying outside the UK for yourself, it will cost £625, while an application for any or all of your dependents will be £625 per person (fees correct as of February 2023).
If applying from within the UK (i.e., switching or extending), there is a cost of £719 for you, and £719 each for any or all dependents.
There is also an immigration healthcare surcharge that is a requirement. Check on the Gov.uk website how much you should pay for the healthcare surcharge fee.
You should note that there are minimum financial requirements that you must prove before submitting this visa application.
Requirements for the UK Religious Worker visa
Under the UK’s new points-based immigration system, it is necessary to obtain a number of points to give yourself the best chance of a successful application for the T2 Minister of Religion visa. As with other long-term Skilled Worker Visas, you must obtain 70 points under the new system.
English language requirement
To obtain a valid visa in this skilled worker visa category, you must have 10 points under the English language level requirement. If you are a national of a majority English-speaking country, hold a university degree (bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, etc.) that was taught through English, or you have an approved English language test, you should provide evidence of the relevant point.
Minister of Religion visa applicants will need to receive 10 points under this section. You can provide bank statements showing evidence of your finances and personal savings. You should have a minimum of at least £945 in your bank account at all times in the last 3 months prior to the application date.
Alternatively, some types of sponsors can provide a guarantee that they will offer consistent maintenance and accommodation for at least the first month of employment.
For any dependents included on the application for the Minister of Religion visa, there is an additional requirement to show a minimum of £630 for each person.
Required documents for the Minister of Religion visa
It is necessary to submit evidence of your eligibility. Some of the following documents may be submitted as part of your application:
- Certificate of sponsorship number issued by your sponsor
- Evidence of your English language abilities
- Proof of your ability to maintain yourself financially in the UK
- Valid passport or travel document
- Tuberculosis test results (where relevant)
- Old passports or travel documents to show your travel history (where relevant)
- Certified translations of any documents not in English or Welsh
Depending on your individual circumstances, the Home Office may ask you for more information on your application and to provide further evidence for this visa type.
If this is the case, you should ensure that you have applied in plenty of time and that you do not arrange travel to the UK until your application has been approved.
Religion visa extension and switch
Extend your visa
If you can prove that you have abided by the conditions of your stay and that you meet the eligibility requirements for the Minister of Religion visa extension, you may be able to extend your stay in the UK by submitting an extension application.
You will normally be allowed to stay for up to three years on your initial visa, the time outlined in your certificate of sponsorship (COS), or alternatively, you may be permitted to stay for a period of time that brings your total stay to six years (whichever time is shorter).
You must ensure that you apply for your extension before your Minister of Religion visa expires, or you may have to leave the UK in order to apply.
Switch to this visa
If you are in the UK and you meet the Minister of Religion Visa requirements and you are already on an eligible visa, you may be able to submit an application to switch to this category.
Note that if you plan to switch to this visa from a Student visa, one of the following must apply to you:
- You’ve completed the course you were sponsored to study on your Student visa
- The start date of your job is after the completion date of your course
- You’ve been studying for a PhD for at least 24 months
If your application is approved, you may stay in the UK for up to three years after switching.
Working on the Religious Worker Visa
To ensure that you are allowed to stay in the UK for the full term of your T2 Minister of Religion visa, you must show that you are compliant with your conditions of stay.
In terms of the work or religious duties that you are allowed to do with the religious visas, in most cases, the occupation codes for Ministers of Religion will be either SOC code 2444 or SOC code 3239.
Some of these roles include bishop, curate, deacon, imam, nun, rabbi, spiritualist, and theologian in a religious organisation. Under some circumstances, it is possible to take a second job while in the UK on this visa.
You may be allowed to take a second job taking up to 20 hours per week of your time, as long as it is in the same profession. You can also undertake voluntary work of up to 20 hours per week.
You may be allowed to study in the UK, but you are not entitled to public funds in the UK (i.e., welfare) with this visa route. You will be issued a new certificate of sponsorship (COS) if you decide to take a second role.
Minister of Religion Visa Refusal
If your application does not meet the eligibility and suitability requirements for the role of Minister of Religion, your application may be refused.
If your application for the Tier 2 Minister of Religion visa is refused, you may be able to apply for an administrative review of your case.
If you have made your Minister of Religion visa application in the UK, you may be entitled to lodge an appeal against the decision to refuse your application to extend your visa, if it is the case that you have no further right to remain in the UK.
It is likely that you won’t be allowed to provide new evidence, and the original information on your case is the only one that you will be allowed to provide as evidence.
Following the decision to refuse your application, you have only 10 working days to lodge an appeal, so it is strongly recommended that you seek legal advice for expert support on your application.
Last modified on July 31st, 2023 at 2:25 pm
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Yes, it may be possible for you to extend your Minister of Religion visa if you meet certain eligibility criteria. You will need to submit an application before your current visa expires. If granted, you will normally be given permission to stay for an extra three years.
In most cases, a Minister of Religion visa holder or a person applying for this visa will be able to apply to bring their dependent family member with them. Such family members include a dependent partner (spouse, civil partner) and children within certain ages.
According to UK immigration rules, dependents of the Minister of Religion visa workers must submit a separate application. The application fee is the same as the main applicant.
It is possible for a person to apply for settlement (indefinite leave to remain) in the UK following five years of continuous residence on Minister of Religion visas and evidence that the person fulfils the eligibility criteria.
After a year of holding indefinite leave to remain, applications may be eligible to apply for British citizenship.
Get in touch with us to apply for ILR or citizenship. We provide telephone consultation, live chat, email, and face to face appointments.