Charity Worker Visa

Charity workers who wish to travel to the UK to temporarily live and work may be eligible to receive a visa for their purpose for time periods of up to twelve months. This is a visa path for temporary workers who are pursuing unpaid voluntary work.

If you are a charity worker who is pursuing a visa to travel to the UK to work, contact Total Law for advice from qualified immigration experts.

Call 0333 305 9375 or use the online contact form to get assistance with the temporary worker visa application process.

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    What is a Charity Worker Visa?

    A charity worker visa is a type of travel document and work permit that allows charity workers entry clearance to temporarily live in the UK while performing unpaid voluntary work for a specified sponsoring organization.

    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.

    Charity worker visa holders are permitted to study while in the UK on their visa as well as take on a second job with some stipulations.

    The second job must be either in the same level or sector as the main job that is listed on your visa or for a role listed on the UK shortage occupation list.

    An immigration lawyer can advise you on applying for a charity worker visa with the intent of working a second job.

    Charity worker visa holders may not:

    • Rely on public funds or services while in the UK.
    • Remain in the UK past the terms of their visa.
    • Vote in UK elections.
    • Perform paid work or work in the UK for an organization other than their sponsor without additional permission.

    Charity workers are not permitted to perform work in the maintenance of a charity’s offices such as administrative, retail, or fund-raising work.

    The charity worker visa is not a path to a residence in the UK.

    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.

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    There are a number of eligibility requirements applicants must meet for a temporary charity worker visa. The primary eligibility requirement is that applicants must intend to do unpaid voluntary work during their time in the UK. According to immigration rules, charity work is defined as activities that would not normally be performed as paid employment, and that directly contribute to the charitable purpose of the sponsoring organization.

    In addition, applicants 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. A CoS is not a physical document, but an electronic record that shows the details of sponsorship between you and your UK employer.
    • Have a minimum of £1,270 of personal savings

    The sponsor organization must meet eligibility requirements as well, including holding a valid UK sponsor license.

    Eligibility for Dependent Family Members

    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 dependent family members such as:

    • Children under the age of 18
    • Spouses or Civil Partners
    • Qualifying unmarried partners

    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 consisting of:

    • An additional £285 for a spouse or partner
    • £315 for one child and £200 for each additional child

    These funds must be available in a personal bank account to support the applicants during the time of their visa in the UK.

    How to Apply

    First, confirm you are qualified based on the charity worker eligibility requirements. 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 center 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.

    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 license number of the UK organization you will be working with
    • Biometric information (photographs and fingerprints)
    • Evidence that you meet the salary requirement
    • Evidence of personal savings for both you and any dependent family members if applicable
    • Evidence of fluency in both oral and written English (exempt if you are from a majority English-speaking country such as the US)
    • Criminal record certificate

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      Costs and Fees

      Application fees can vary depending on your specific situation and circumstances. Generally, the fees associated with the charity worker visa include:

      • £244 visa application fee
      • Approximately £19 for biometric information
      • £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.

      In addition to application fees, you will need to maintain a minimum balance of £1,270 in your personal savings account, with £285 for a spouse or partner, £315 for the first child, and £200 for each additional child.

      Processing Times

      Processing times for the charity worker visa application usually take up to 3 weeks after applying online.

      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 minimize the chances of delay or rejection.

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        How Can Total Law 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.

        For further information, contact us today at +1 844 290 6312 or use our online contact form to get in touch with our team of qualified immigration lawyers.

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                  Frequently Asked Questions

                  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.