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UK Minister of Religion Visa (T2)

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What is the Minister of Religion visa?

The Minister of Religion visa is one of five UK work visa routes and is specifically intended for those who wish to work as a religious order member or religious missionary within a faith-based organisation or religious order in the UK. Applicants must have a job offer and be sponsored by a sponsor licence holder.

Minister of Religion visa applicants may carry out a range of different duties, including:

  • Leading prayer and religious meetings
  • Teaching or preaching religious values
  • Officiate events including weddings, burial and special services
  • Offering counselling to members and welfare support to members
  • Conducting HR activities for the purpose of coordinating the work of volunteers, including the training of preachers
  • Coordinating the missionary activities with exception to clerical or administrative activities unless filling a position for a senior
  • Observing and directing the activities of other staff
  • Planning missionary work
  • Take charge of activities such as personnel management, IT, accounts or finance, and;
  • Interpreting religious text.

Minister of Religion visas are typically granted for up to 3 years and 1 month, and this can be further extended.

After 5 years, Minister of Religion visa holders can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), and after a further year, UK citizenship.

With a Minister of Religion visa, you will be able to:

  • Work full-time for your sponsor in the UK
  • Work for a second employer (this is subject to additional rules – see below)
  • Carry out voluntary work
  • Study part-time (this must not interfere with your sponsored role)
  • Travel to and from the UK freely
  • Bring your eligible dependant partner and children to live with you in the UK

Special considerations

  • Where an applicant plans to undertake study in an educational organisation that is not managed by the religious order, they will need to make an application as a student under the student visa route.
  • Where an applicant intends to work a full-time job as a teacher in a school that is managed by the religious body or missionary organisation, they will need to make an application as a teacher under the Skilled Worker category rather than applying for the Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) visa.

Minister of Religion Visa (T2) UK requirements

To fulfil the eligibility requirements for a Minister of Religion visa, you must:

  • Be at least 18 years
  • Have a job offer as a Minister of Religion from a licensed sponsor in the UK (the employer must have a T2 Minister of Religion Visa sponsor licence)
  • Have a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) for the role you will be carrying out in the UK
  • Meet the English language requirements
  • Have sufficient funds to support yourself in the UK
  • Have evidence of your travel history in the last 5 years before applying
  • Have a clear tuberculosis test result (this only applies if you are from a listed country)
  • Not own more than 10% of your sponsor’s shares (unless you earn more than £159,600 a year)

Minister of Religion visa Certificate of Sponsorship

To acquire a Minister of Religion visa, you will need a job offer and Certificate of Sponsorship from a religious organisation with a T2 Minister of Religion Visa sponsor licence. If they do not have a sponsor licence, or if they don’t hold the correct type of sponsor licence (e.g. if they hold a student or Skilled Worker sponsor licence), they will either need to apply for a new licence or change their existing licence. A full list of eligible sponsor licence holders can be found online 1.

Your employer in the UK will give you a Certificate of Sponsorship number. Your Certificate of Sponsorship is held online (i.e. in digital form) and contains your personal information and details regarding the role you will be performing in the UK, including confirmation:

  • Of your name, the details of your job and salary, and any other remuneration
  • That the job is as a Minister of Religion
  • That You are qualified to do the job of a Minister of Religion
  • That you are a member of the sponsor’s religious order
  • That you will perform religious duties within the sponsor’s organisation or as
  • directed by the sponsor’s organisation in the UK (which may include preaching,
  • pastoral and non-pastoral work)
  • That your job will not involve mainly non-pastoral duties, such as school teaching, media production, domestic work or administrative and clerical work unless the role is a senior position within the sponsor’s organisation

Minister of Religion visa salary requirements

The Home Office Ministry of Religion visa guidance 2 states that applicants must receive a salary that is:

  • At least that paid to settled workers in the same job, and;
  • Compliant with the national minimum wage requirements in the UK.

Minister of Religion visa financial requirements

To meet the Minister of Religion financial requirement, you will need to show that you fulfil one of the following criteria:

  1. Have been living in the UK with permission for 12 months or longer on the date of application, or;
  2. Have an A-rated sponsor that has stated you Certificate of Sponsorship that, if necessary, they will provide your maintenance and accommodation for the first month, or;
  3. Have evidence of holding £1,270 in a bank account for at least the last 28-days before applying. In addition, if you have dependants who will be joining you in the UK, you will need to show additional funds of £285 for your partner, £315 for one child, and £200 for each additional child.

English language requirements

To make a successful Minister of Religion visa application, you will need to show you meet the English Language requirements. This means you:

  • Can read, write, speak and understand English to level B2 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) scale and have evidence of an English language test to prove this, or;
  • Have a degree which was taught in English, or;
  • Are from an exempt country – these include Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Malta,

New Zealand, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, and the USA.

Minister of Religion Visa Extension

If your Minister of Religion visa is approved, it will be granted for up to an initial period of 3 years and 1 month, or the length of time on your Certificate of Sponsorship (plus 14 days), whichever is the shorter duration.

You can further extend your Minister of Religion visa for another 3 years or the duration of your sponsorship.

In total, you will be permitted to stay for up to 6 years (i.e. the duration of your initial visa plus the duration of your extension).

To extend your Minister of Religion visa, you must:

  • Still meet the same eligibility rules as you met when you first applied. As such, you must have a job with a sponsor licence holder and meet the financial requirements outlined above.
  • Have a new Certificate of Sponsorship from your employer covering the extended duration of employment.

To make a Minister of Religion Visa Extension, you will need to:

  1. Complete the online application form 3
  2. Provide proof of identity
  3. Pay the online application fee of £704 (for each person applying to extend)
  4. Provide any documents requested by the Home Office (you will be given a list of these when you apply).

Minister of Religion visa extension applications typically take around 8 weeks to process, however, you can continue working in the role of a Minister of Religion while you are waiting for a decision from the Home Office.

Minister of Region visa vs Religious Worker Visa

There are some key differences and similarities between the Minister of Religion visa and the Religious Worker visa, as follows:

Differences

Minister of Religion visa

Religious Worker Visa

Type of work visa

Long-term > 2 years

Short-term < 2 years

Route to permanent settlement?

Yes

No

Type of work permitted

Mainly pastoral with some non-pastoral

Either religious or non-pastoral work

Job offered required

Yes

Yes

Sponsorship required

Yes

Yes

Financial requirement

£1,270

£1,270

Application fee

£610 (if applying outside the UK)

£244 per person


Minister of Religion Visa to ILR

The Minister of Religion visa provides a direct route to permanent settlement (Indefinite Leave to Remain – ILR) in the UK. ILR confers considerable advantages, including removing the need to apply for further visas, greater flexibility when it comes to employment and study, and there is no requirement to pay the costly immigration healthcare surcharge.

In order to meet the requirements for ILR, you must:

  • Have met the 5 years continuous residence period in the UK on a Minister of Religion visa. It is also possible to include time on other visas, including a Tier 1 (not including the ICT Graduate Trainee visa), Skilled Worker (formerly Tier 2), Innovator, or Representative of an overseas business visa.
  • Pass the Life in the UK test
  • Meet the English language requirements (by having an English language qualification at B1, B2, C1 or C2 level or a degree taught or researched in English)
  • Have evidence that you are still sponsored by your employer and you to continue to meet the requirements for sponsorship.

Dependants of a Minister of Religion Visa Holder

As a Minister of Religion visa holder, it is possible to bring your partner and dependant children with you to the UK. Each family member has to make a separate online application before travelling to the UK.

An eligible dependant may include:

  • Your husband, wife, civil partner or unmarried partner
  • Your child under 18
  • Your child over 18 if they’re currently in the UK as your dependant

"Dependant" means that your child is not living a separate life and is financially independent (unless they are attending a boarding school or live away at university).

The visa granted to your dependants will run for the same period as your visa (i.e. they will all have the same expiry date).

References:

1 GOV.UK: Register of licensed sponsors: workers

2 Home Office: T2 Minister of Religion caseworker guidance

3 GOV.UK: Minister of Religion visa (T2)

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