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Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) Visa

Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) visa

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

  • you’ve been offered a job within a faith community (for example 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

If you are unsure of your position or would like to ensure that your application is handled by a knowledgeable specialist, get in touch with one of our friendly team members now on 0203 384 4389 to find out exactly how we can assist you to get it right first time round, saving you time, money and the heartache of being refused.

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Further Information

Getting Endorsed

You need to be employed by a licensed sponsor to apply to live in the UK.

Your sponsor checks that you can do the job they’re hiring you for and if it qualifies you for a visa. They’ll assign you a certificate of sponsorship to prove this.

They must also give you other information you need when you apply, for example how much you’ll be paid.

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.

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.

You can start your stay up to 14 days before the start date on your certificate of sponsorship.

Example:
Your start date is 15 July – the earliest you can start your stay is 1 July.

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 – in certain circumstances
  • 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 £159,600 a year)
  • get public funds

Eligibility

You need to:

  • have a certificate of sponsorship for your job
  • prove your knowledge of English
  • have personal savings so you can support yourself when you arrive in the UK
  • show you can travel and your travel history over the last 5 years
  • have tuberculosis test results if you’re from a listed country

You need to have an eligible qualification if you’re switching from a Tier 4 visa.

Certificate of sponsorship

A certificate of sponsorship holds your personal details and information about the job you’ve been offered. It’s an electronic record, not a paper document. Your sponsor will give you a certificate of sponsorship reference number to add to your application.

You can only use your certificate of sponsorship reference number once. You must use it 3 months after getting it.

Personal savings

You must have £945 in your bank account for 90 days before the date you apply.

You won’t need this money if you have either a:

  • fully approved (‘A-rated’) sponsor who can give it to you to cover your costs in the UK
  • Tier 2 visa and you’re applying from within the UK

Knowledge Of English

You may need to prove your knowledge of the English language when you apply.

You can prove your knowledge of English by either:

  • passing an approved English language test with at least CEFR level B2 in reading, writing, speaking and listening
  • having an academic qualification that was taught in English and is recognised by UK NARIC as being equivalent to a UK bachelors degree, master’s degree or PhD

You may be able to meet the English language requirement in other ways.

Exceptions

You won’t need to prove your knowledge of English if you’re a national of one of the following countries:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • the Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Canada
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Jamaica
  • New Zealand
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • USA

You also may not have to prove your knowledge of English in other circumstances.

Documents you must provide

When you apply you’ll need to provide:

  • your certificate of sponsorship reference number
  • proof of your knowledge of English
  • a bank or building society statement or letter that shows you have enough personal savings
  • a current passport or travel document to prove you can travel – you need a page in your passport that’s blank on both sides for your visa
  • expired passports or travel documents if you need them to show your travel history
  • your tuberculosis test results if you’re from a listed country

You must provide the original plus a photocopy of every document you provide.

If your documents aren’t in English or Welsh you’ll also need to send a certified translation.

You may need to provide additional documents depending on your circumstances.

Extend your visa

You may be able to apply to extend your stay in the UK under a Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) visa.

You should include any dependants who are on your current visa on your application to extend. This includes children who have turned 18 during your stay.

You should apply before your current visa expires.

Eligibility

You’ll still need to meet the eligibility criteria and provide the right documents.

You’ll also need a new certificate of sponsorship from your sponsor.

How long you can stay

You can extend a Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) visa for up to 3 years, or the time given in your certificate of sponsorship plus 14 days, or the time required to take your total stay in the UK to a maximum of 6 years, whichever time is shorter.

Switch to this visa

You can apply to change (‘switch’) from another visa to a Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) visa.

You should apply before your current visa expires.

Eligibility

You must meet the Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) eligibility requirements and must already be in the UK under any of the following visas:

  • Tier 1 visa
  • Tier 2 (Sportsperson) visa
  • Tier 2 (General) visa
  • Tier 2 (Intra-company Transfer) visa under the Immigration Rules in place before 6 April 2010 and you’re applying to change sponsor
  • Tier 4 visa – if you have an eligible qualification

You can also switch to this visa if you meet the eligibility requirements and you’re:

  • a dependent partner of someone with a Tier 4 visa
  • a representative of an overseas business

You must leave the UK and make your Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) application from abroad if you’re not in any of these categories.

Eligible qualifications for Tier 4 visa

You must have been sponsored by a licensed tier 4 sponsor to get one of the following qualifications:

  • a UK bachelors degree
  • a UK masters degree
  • a postgraduate certificate in education
  • a professional graduate diploma of education

If you’re a PhD student, you must have also have completed the last 12 months’ study during your most recent stay in the UK. This can be through a licensed Tier 4 sponsor or another visa that allowed you to study.

How long you can stay

You can stay a maximum of 3 years after switching to a Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) visa.

Family Members

Your family members (‘dependants’) must apply to join or remain with you in the UK if they’re from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland.

A ‘dependant’ is any of the following:

  • your partner
  • your child under 18
  • your child over 18 if they’re currently in the UK as a dependant

Personal savings

You must show that your dependants can be supported while they’re in the UK.

Each dependant must have £630 available to them whether they apply with you or separately. This is in addition to the £945 you must have to support yourself.

You must have proof you have the money, and that it’s been in your bank account or your dependant’s bank account for at least 90 days before you or they apply.

Example:

You must have £2,205 if you want to bring your partner and one child with you to the UK (£945 to support yourself plus £630 for your partner and £630 for your child).

You won’t need savings if your fully approved (‘A-rated’) sponsor states on your certificate of sponsorship that they’ll give each of your dependants at least £630 to cover their costs for a month if they need it.

Children born while you’re in the UK

If you have children while you’re in the UK, you can apply for permission for them to stay.

You must do this if you want to travel in and out of the UK with your child.

When you apply you must send a full UK birth certificate showing the names of both of your child’s parents.

Taking a second job

You can take a second job on this visa if you’re working up to 20 hours a week in either:

  • the same profession as your main job
  • a profession on the shortage occupation list

You can also do unpaid voluntary work.

Otherwise, you’ll need to apply for a new visa. You’ll need to be sponsored by your second employer and get a new certificate of sponsorship.

When to apply for a new visa

You can’t apply for a new visa until you’ve started work with your first sponsor.

You can’t start work with your second sponsor until your visa application has been approved.

Documents you must provide

You’ll need to provide some documents with your application.

You must also include a letter with your application explaining that you want to change your current permission to stay.

Your letter must state:

  • your name
  • your date of birth
  • your current certificate of sponsorship reference number
  • the date when your current permission to stay runs out

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