What is the Minister of Religion Visa UK?
The Minister of Religion Visa, also called the T2 Minister of Religion Visa, is aimed at those who have been sponsored to perform a key role within a faith-based organisation or religious order in the UK.
This religious worker visa has replaced the previously called “Tier 2 Minister of Religion Visa”. This visa allows US citizens to come to the UK as ministers of religion for up to three years and one month.
You can apply for a Minister of Religion Visa UK if you’ve been offered a job within a faith community such as a minister of religion, missionary, or member of a religious order in the UK, and you meet the other eligibility criteria.
Existing ministers of religion who hold this visa are allowed to extend their visa and also to change their employment.
The Minister of Religion visa is a route to settlement in the UK and you can bring your dependent partner and dependent children under the age of 18 with you to the UK.
To be eligible for this religious worker visa, you need to meet the eligibility criteria below.
- Age – you must be 18 or over
- Travel permission and history – Provide evidence that you can travel as well as your travel history over the last 5 years
- Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) – the following requirements apply:
- You must have a certificate of sponsorship for your job from your sponsor. A certificate of sponsorship is an electronic record, not a paper document. It holds your personal details and information about the job you’ve been offered
- Your sponsor will need to hold a T2 Minister of Religion Visa sponsor licence
- You will need to add your Certificate of Sponsorship reference number to your application
- You will have 3 months to use your sponsorship number and you can only use it once
- Personal savings – you and your dependent family will need to show you have a certain amount of money to support yourselves in the UK. These funds must have been available for at least 28 days in a row, and day 28 must be within 31 days of applying for the visa. In the following two circumstances you may not need to show proof of these funds if either:
- You (or your family) have been in the UK with a valid visa for at least 12 months, or
- Your employer can cover your and your family’s costs, if appropriate, during your first month in the UK, up to the amounts set out below. The savings you must have to be eligible are as follows:
- £1270 – main applicant
- £285 – partner
- £315 – one child
- £200 – each additional child
Note that usually, you may need to prove your knowledge of the English language when you apply, however, US citizens do not need to fulfil this requirement.
Additionally, US citizens also do not need to fulfil the tuberculosis test requirement.
Documents You'll Need
US citizens applying for the Minister of Religion Visa UK will need to supply the following documents:
- Your Certificate of Sponsorship reference number
- Proof that you have sufficient personal savings to support yourself in the UK. These can be bank statements. This is not required if your Certificate of Sponsorship shows your employer can support you
- A valid passport or other documents that show your identity and nationality (note that you need a blank page in your passport for your visa)
- Expired passports or travel documents where these are needed to show your travel history
Any supporting documents that are not in English or Welsh will need to be translated by a certified translator and the translations included with your application.
How to Apply for a Minister of Religion Visa
Applying for a Minister of Religion Visa UK is done online. After you have started your application you can save your form and complete it later. To do this, you can sign back into your application after it has been saved, then click the link in the email you will receive, to return to your application.
You will need to submit all required documents to support your visa application.
Note that your partner or children will need to apply separately.
As part of the application process, you will need to have your biometrics taken. This involves booking an appointment at a visa application centre where you will have your fingerprints and photograph taken. This will provide you with a biometric residence permit, which will need to be collected within 10 days of the date you gave for your arrival in the UK.
Once your application is fully submitted and your biometrics have been given, it will take on average 3 weeks to receive a decision on your visa. You’ll receive an email with the final decision, which will explain the next steps.
What is Permitted on a Minister of Religion Visa?
Once you have a Minister of Religion Visa you may live in the UK for up to 3 years and one month. You can work for your sponsor in the job role stated on your Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS). If you wish you can also volunteer and in certain circumstances you can take on a second job. If it doesn’t interfere with your job you can also undertake study.
The Minister of Religion visa allows you to travel abroad and return to the UK.
As mentioned above, you may bring family members with you to the UK such as your partner and children under the age of 18. Also, children over the age of 18 can come with you if they are eligible. Your family members will need to apply separately from you.
Note that you will not be able to access public funds whilst you are in the UK.
Extend Your Visa
To extend your stay in the UK under a Minister of Religion visa (T2), you will need to ensure the following:
- You must apply online before your current visa expires
- Your partner or children will need to apply separately to extend their visa. This can be at the same time as you, or at any time before their current visa expires
- You’ll need to continue to meet the visa eligibility requirements and submit the required documents
- You’ll need to provide a new Certificate of Sponsorship from your sponsor
You can extend a Minister of Religion visa (T2) for whichever is the shorter timeframe from the options below:
- Extend for up to 3 years
- Extend for up to the time given in your Certificate of Sponsorship plus 14 days
- Extend for the time required to take your total stay in the UK to a maximum of 6 years
Total Law’s dedicated attorneys can help you with your application for a Minister of Religion Visa UK. The tasks we can help you with include:
- Check that your proposed role qualifies for this visa
- Organize the Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) from your UK Sponsor
- Carry out a thorough document check
- Complete the application form and submit it on your behalf
- Liaise with the Home Office as needed to minimize any delays and ensure there is progress on your application
- Prepare a Letter of Representation to accompany your application that will increase your chances of success
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Your partner and children can apply to join you or to stay in the UK as your dependants if they are eligible.
If their application is successful, the expiry date of their visa will be the same as yours.
The T2 Minister of Religion Visa replaced the previously called “Tier 2 Minister of Religion Visa”.
To be considered as a minister of religion your duties must include activities such as:
- Conducting religious worship
- Providing pastoral care for example to those who are sick, distressed or needy
- Conducting weddings, funerals or baptisms