Faith Without Borders: The Role of the T2 Minister of Religion Visa

Couple of Religious Ministers

If you’d like to work for a faith community within the UK, then the T2 Minister of Religion visa could open many doors for you. Before you prepare your application, you should clarify whether you are eligible, and ensure you understand the application process.

In this post, we’ll explain the role of the T2 Minister of Religion visa, including the documentation you’ll need and how UK immigration solicitors can help you.

What is the Tier 2 Minister of Religion visa?

The T2 Minister of Religion visa applies to individuals over the age of 18 who have been offered a job role within a faith community. For example, this could be as a:

  • Minister of religion
  • Missionary
  • Member of a religious order

These types of roles could include duties such as conducting religious events, officiating at weddings and funerals, and managing missionary work. If you’re unsure about whether your role would be eligible for the T2 Minister of Religion visa, then it can help to speak with experienced UK immigration solicitors.

You’ll need to be sponsored by a licenced employer, who will provide you with a Certificate of Sponsorship. If you’re applying from outside of the UK, you’ll typically hear back with a decision in 3 weeks. You should apply for your visa 3 months in advance of your first day in the new role.

With this visa, you can stay in the UK for a maximum of 3 years and 1 month. If the time allotted on your Certificate of Sponsorship is shorter than this, then you will be able to stay for this period of time, plus an additional 14 days. You can apply to extend the visa, if you wish to stay for longer. After 5 years of living in the UK with this visa, you may then be able to apply to remain indefinitely in the UK.

What can you do with a T2 Minister of Religion visa?

On this visa, you’ll be able to:

  • Work in the job role you were sponsored for
  • Take a second job (within certain criteria)
  • Volunteer
  • Study (as long as this doesn’t interfere with your sponsored role)
  • Travel abroad and then return to the UK
  • Bring your partner and children to the UK, as long as they are eligible

However, you can’t:

  • Receive public funds
  • Have ownership of more than 10% of your sponsor’s shares (unless your earnings exceed £159,600 a year)

T2 Minister of Religion fees

The amount you’ll pay will depend on whether you’re inside or outside the UK. If you’re applying from outside the UK, then you’ll need to pay £719, along with an additional £719 for each dependant you intend to bring with you.

If you’re extending or switching your visa from within the UK, then you’ll pay £827 for yourself, and then an additional £827 for each dependant.

You’ll also need to pay the UK healthcare surcharge.

What is the eligibility criteria for the T2 Minister of Religion visa?

There are several criteria that you’ll need to meet to qualify for a T2 Minister of Religion visa.

  • For this visa, you’ll need to be employed by a licenced sponsoring organisation. They’ll need to provide you with a reference number for a Certificate of Sponsorship for the role.
  • You must be over 18 years of age.
  • Provide evidence of your travel history over the last five years.
  • Have at least £1,270 in savings to prove that you can financially support yourself in the UK.
  • Applicants from certain listed countries will also need to provide tuberculosis (TB) test results.

In terms of your savings, you’ll need to be able to show the money has been in your account for at least 28 days. You should ensure your application date falls within 31 days of Day 28. You won’t need to prove your financial savings if you’ve remained in the UK on a valid visa for at least 12 months, or your employer can cover your first month of costs.

In some circumstances, you’ll need to prove that you have a suitable knowledge of English. You can do this by taking the secure English language test (SELT) from a government-approved provider, or by having a Ecctis-recognised academic qualification that was taught in English. You can find the full details of the English language guidelines on the website.

Aside from evidence of the above, you’ll also need the reference number from your Certificate of Sponsorship. You’ll also need a valid passport or another document proving your identity and nationality. Any identity documents that are not written in English or Welsh will need a certified translation. Your passport should also have a blank page free for your visa.

Can a Tier 2 Minister of Religion visa be extended?

You can apply to extend your T2 Minister of Religion visa for an additional 3 years, or for the duration of your sponsorship, whichever date is closest. You can remain for up to 6 years total (i.e., that includes the duration of your original visa). You’ll need to show you still meet the eligibility criteria, reapply and pay the fees.

Typically, these extensions take around 8 weeks to process. You can continue to work in your sponsored role during this time.

Expert visa guidance from UK immigration solicitors

It’s important to note that this blog post is for informational purposes only. If you’re applying for a T2 Minister of Religion visa, then experienced UK immigration lawyers can help. From supporting you with your application to advising on visa refusals, Osbourne Pinner Solicitors will support you through every step.

To get the ball rolling, you can contact us for a free 30-minute consultation via our online form below. You can also speak with our team on 0203 983 5080, or email us at [email protected].

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