- What is a Charity Worker Visa?
- What Can I Do With a Charity Worker Visa?
- What Are the Eligibility Criteria?
- What Are the Job Requirements?
- What Are the Financial Requirements?
- How to Apply
- What Are the Required Documents?
- What Are the Fees and Processing Times?
- Can I Extend My Visa?
- Eligibility for Dependent Family Members
- How Can Total Law Help?
- Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Charity Worker Visa?
A Charity Worker visa is a type of work permit that allows charity workers entry clearance to temporarily live in the UK while performing unpaid voluntary work for a specified sponsoring organisation.
Charity worker visa holders are able to stay in the UK for a maximum period of up to twelve months or the time stated on the certificate of sponsorship plus fourteen days, whichever is the shorter period.
Applicants who intend to stay in the UK for longer than twelve months or perform temporary work that is paid will need to apply for an alternate work visa.
Note that you can only apply for this visa from outside the UK. If you’re inside the UK, you can only apply to extend your current Charity Worker visa.
This visa is the replacement for the now defunct Temporary Worker – Charity Worker visa (T5).
What Can I Do With a Charity Worker Visa?
A Charity Worker visa will allow you to carry out unpaid, voluntary work for a charity.
You will also be allowed to carry out a second job while in the UK on this visa, as long as it’s in the same sector and at the same level as your main job. You will be permitted to work your second job for up to 20 hours a week.
Additionally, you will be able to study while in the UK. You may need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate for certain subjects.
Note that you will not be able to:
- Rely on public funds or services while in the UK
- Remain in the UK past the terms of your visa
- Vote in UK elections
- Take on paid or a permanent job or work in the UK for an organisation other than their sponsor without additional permission
- Apply for permanent residence in the UK with this visa
If you are unsure if your circumstances qualify you for the charity worker visa, consult a qualified immigration advisor who can advise you on the best immigration options for your situation. Call us on 0333 305 9375 or contact us online today.
What Are the Eligibility Criteria?
There are a number of eligibility requirements applicants must meet for the Charity Worker visa route.
For example, you must:
- Be 18 years of age or older at the time of application
- Have a valid certificate of sponsorship (CoS). This is a document issued by a qualified sponsoring employer in the UK.
- Be sponsored to work in an eligible job for a charity
- Have enough money to support yourself in the UK
The sponsor organisation must meet eligibility requirements as well, including holding a valid UK sponsor licence.
Note that you will not be able to apply for this visa if you were given a Religious Worker or Charity Worker visa in the last year, unless you can prove you were outside the UK for the whole of that time.
What Are the Job Requirements?
It’s important to keep in mind that only specific types of work are eligible for the Charity Worker visa. Specifically, the work must be considered to be “voluntary fieldwork” in order to be eligible.
“Voluntary fieldwork” refers to work that would not normally be offered at a waged or salaried rate, and which also directly contributes to the charitable purpose of the charity itself.
Roles that are not eligible for this visa include supportive roles such as back office administrative roles, retail roles, sales roles, fund-raising roles and maintenance roles, such as those overseeing the charity’s offices or other assets.
What Are the Financial Requirements?
To be eligible for a Charity Worker visa, you must prove that you have at least £1,270 in your bank account at the time of application.
You must have had this money for at least 28 days in a row, with the 28th day being within 31 days of applying for your visa.
You will need to show proof of this when you apply, unless you’ve already been in the UK with a valid visa for at least 12 months, or the charity sponsoring you can cover your costs during your first month in the UK.
Your dependents must also have enough money to support themselves while in the UK.
How to Apply
You will need to apply for a Charity Worker visa online through the gov.uk website.
First, you will need to confirm that you are eligible based on the charity worker eligibility criteria. Next, gather your supporting documentation and certificate of sponsorship. Visa applications can be submitted up to three months before you plan to start work in the UK. The application process consists of several steps.
- Begin the application process online by filling out the application form available at the UK government website.
- Pay the visa application fee
- Keep your receipt of the application
- Upload your required documents online
- Applicants must verify their identity. You may be able to do this by scanning your passport on the UK Immigration: ID Check app. If you are unable to scan your passport using the app, you must schedule and attend a biometric information appointment at a visa application service centre to have your fingerprints and photograph taken.
Note that immigration control maintains the final say over who is permitted to enter the country. A visa is not an absolute guarantee of entry.
If your application is approved, you will be able to enter the UK up to 14 days before the start date of your job.
What Are the Required Documents?
Required documents can vary depending on your circumstances, such as if you will be bringing eligible family members with you on your visa. You will need a variety of documents to prove your identity and support your claim for a temporary charity worker visa according to UK immigration law. Supporting documents may include:
- The receipt of your visa application
- The reference number from your sponsorship certificate
- Birth certificate
- Your current passport and any previous passports
- The sponsor licence number of the UK organisation you will be working with
- Evidence of your relationship with your dependents, if they’re also applying with you
- Evidence that you and any dependents meet the financial requirements
- Criminal record certificate
It’s important when applying for a UK visa that you supply all of the documents needed for your application to be approved. If you need additional help or support with your visa application, reach out to an immigration professional today on Call us on 0333 305 9375 or contact us online today.
Application fees can vary depending on your specific situation and circumstances. Generally, the fees associated with the charity worker visa include:
- £259 visa application fee
- Approximately £19 for biometric information
- At least at least £1,270 in personal savings
- £624 per year for the immigration healthcare surcharge
- If your dependent family members will be joining you, each family member will need to pay the visa application fee and immigration healthcare surcharge
Processing times for the Charity Worker visa application usually take up to 3 weeks after applying outside of the UK.
Because processing times are not guaranteed, it is recommended that you wait to make travel plans until your visa application is approved.
Application processing may be delayed in some cases due to incomplete information.
Having a qualified immigration advisor look over your application prior to submission can ensure that it is complete and minimise the chances of delay or rejection.
Can I Extend My Visa?
You will be able to extend your Charity Worker visa while in the UK.
In order to be eligible for an extension, you must:
- Apply before your current visa expires, and
- Still meet the original eligibility criteria for the visa
You will be able to stay in the UK for a maximum of 12 months, or the time on your certificate of sponsorship plus 14 days, whichever is shorter.
Note that your dependents will also have to apply separately to extend their visas. They may do this at the same time as you, or anytime before their visas expire.
You will normally receive a decision on your application within 8 weeks of applying.
Charity Worker visa holders may be eligible to bring their family members with them to the UK on their visas. Family members who are permitted to join you include the following:
- Your husband, wife, civil partner or eligible unmarried partner
- Your child under 18 – including if they were born in the UK during your stay or if they’re currently in the UK as your dependant
Each family member must submit their own visa application to join you online at the UK government website. They will need to provide evidence of their relationship to the charity worker visa holder, as well as provide additional financial evidence.
As part of the application process, your dependents must demonstrate that they have a certain amount of money to support themselves while in the UK. These requirements are as follows:
- £285 for your partner
- £315 for one child
- £200 for each additional child
This is in addition to the £1,270 you must have yourself as the main applicant.
Specific Eligibility Criteria
If bringing your partner to the UK, you must show proof that you’re in a civil partnership or marriage that’s recognised in the UK, or that you’ve been living together in a relationship for at least two years.
If bringing a child 16 years or over to the UK, they must:
- Live with you (unless they’re in full-time education at boarding school, college or university)
- Not be married, in a civil partnership or have any children
- Be financially supported by you
In addition, if your child lives with you, you’ll need to provide evidence of their address such as:
- A bank statement
- Credit card bills
- Driving licence
- NHS registration document
- An official letter from their university or college
How Can Total Law Help?
The Charity Worker visa UK is one of numerous temporary work visas the UK government offers to foreign workers.
If you’re considering coming to the UK on a Charity Worker visa or any other kind of temporary worker visa, Total Law can help.
At Total Law, our team of expert immigration lawyers can help you to navigate UK immigration rules and successfully submit your temporary worker charity visa application.
Your personal advisor at Total Law can assist you with creating a plan for your visa application process based on your intended start date as a charity worker in the UK, as well as advise you on guidelines if you plan to work a second job, or if you need to apply for an extension or another type of visa before your current visa expires.
We can also help you if your visa has been rejected and you need further assistance with resubmitting your application.
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During this untimed Advice Session with our professional immigration lawyers in London, you will receive our comprehensive advice, completely tailored to your needs and your situation.
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With our Application Package, your dedicated immigration lawyer will advise you on your application process and eligibility. Your caseworker will then complete and submit your forms to the Home Office on your behalf.
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By choosing our Appeal Package, you can rely on our lawyers’ legal knowledge and experience to ensure you have the highest chance of a successful appeal. We will also fully represent you in any hearings/tribunals.
In the event that your charity worker visa is denied, you may be able to apply for an administrative review to have a second look at the decision. However, submitting a new application may be a faster solution.
An immigration lawyer can advise you on the best steps to take if your visa has been denied. Typically, rejection is caused by the applicant not meeting eligibility requirements, such as showing evidence of minimum salary or working for a properly licensed employer.
Applications can also be delayed or rejected if they have incomplete or incorrect information.
Work you are permitted to participate in while on a temporary worker charity worker visa is unpaid voluntary work that directly supports your sponsor’s charitable purpose. Holders of charity worker visas are unable to receive payment for their work in the UK.
If you plan to receive payment for work while in the UK, there are other UK visas that will permit you to take on paid temporary work. You will need additional documents and be required to meet the requirements for eligibility of the visa you apply for. A qualified immigration lawyer can assist you with navigating this process and selecting the correct visa for your situation.
To be eligible for a Charity Worker visa, a certificate of sponsorship must be issued to you by a Home Office A-rated sponsor.
A certificate of sponsorship is not a physical certificate or paper document. Rather, it is a digital document.
As well as being A-rated, your sponsor must have authorisation to sponsor workers under the specific Charity Worker route.
The certificate of sponsorship should confirm certain details of your job, such as your working hours, the nature of the job, and the fact that it conforms to the eligibility criteria set out by the visa requirements.
Your certificate of sponsorship will be valid for three months from the date of issue. You must ensure that you apply for your visa within this time, or your visa application may not be approved.