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Tier 2 Minister of Religion

The Tier 2 Minister of Religion visa is part of the Tier 2 Work Permit scheme. An applicant must be sponsored by a religious body (of any recognised religion) in the UK

Overview

You can apply for a Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) visa if:

  • you’ve been offered a job within a faith community (eg as a minister of religion, missionary, or member of a religious order) in the UK
  • you’re from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland
  • you meet the other eligibility requirements

 

Getting sponsored

You need to be sponsored (ie have a certificate of sponsorship from a licensed sponsor) before you can apply to come to the UK to work.

The work you do in the UK must relate to the work of your sponsor organisation.

 

How long it will take

You can apply for a visa up to 3 months before the day you’re due to start work in the UK. This date is listed on your certificate of sponsorship.

You should get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks when you apply from outside the UK.

Check the guide processing times to find out how long getting a visa might take in your country.

 

Fees

How much you pay for a Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) visa depends on your situation, where you are and how you apply. You’ll also have to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your application. Check how much you’ll have to pay before you apply.

 

How long you can stay

You can come to the UK with a Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) visa for a maximum of up to 3 years and 1 month, or the time given on your certificate of sponsorship plus 1 month, whichever is shorter.

You can apply to extend your stay.

You must apply before your visa expires.

 

Your time in the UK must start no more than 14 days before the start date on your certificate of sponsorship.

 

What you can and can’t do

You can:

  • work for your sponsor in the job described in your certificate of sponsorship
  • do a second job
  • do voluntary work
  • study as long as it doesn’t interfere with the job you’re sponsored for
  • travel abroad and return to the UK
  • bring family members (‘dependants’) with you

You can’t:

  • own more than 10% of your sponsor’s shares (unless you earn more than £155,300 a year)
  • get public funds
  • start working before you get your visa
  • apply for a second job until you’ve started working for your sponsor

You’ll need to make a new application to the Home Office if you want to do a second job that’s not in the same sector as your main job.

Eligibility

You need all of the following to be eligible for a Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) visa:

  • a valid certificate of sponsorship reference number from your sponsor
  • to meet the English language requirement

You must also have £945 in savings - this is to prove you can support yourself. You must have had this in your bank account for 90 days before you apply, unless you’re exempt.

There are some additional rules if you’re currently in the UK on a Tier 4 (General) visa and you want to switch to a Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) visa.

 

Savings exemption

You won’t need to provide proof of funds if you’re in the UK and you have a visa in one of the following categories:

  • Tier 2
  • work permit holder
  • Jewish agency employee
  • ground staff for an overseas airline
  • minister of religion, missionary, or member of a religious order
  • representative an overseas newspaper, news agency or broadcasting organisation
  • You won’t need £945 in savings if your fully approved (‘A-rated’) sponsor has stated on your certificate of sponsorship that they’ll certify your maintenance and that you won’t claim benefits during your stay.

 

Certificate of sponsorship

A certificate of sponsorship is a reference number which holds information about the job and your personal details. It’s not an actual certificate or paper document.

Your sponsor will give you your certificate of sponsorship reference number.

They must also give you some other information to help you to apply, such as how much you’ll be paid.

You’ll need to add your certificate of sponsorship reference number to your application form - you can only use it once.

Your certificate of sponsorship is valid for 3 months from the date it is assigned to you.

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