What Is a UK Tier 2 Minister of Religion Visa?
Tier 2 Minister of Religion Visa is a UK work visa for foreign skilled workers coming to the UK for a full-time job offer in a religious organization, as a minister of religion, missionary, or as a member of a religious order.
Who Needs a Tier 2 Minister of Religion Visa?
Citizens of countries that don’t have a visa free travel agreement with the UK should get a Tier 2 Minister of Religion visa. To be able to travel to the UK with this visa, the religious position you’ve been offered must not be such that could be filled by the EU/EEA workforce.
What Are the Preconditions to Apply for a Tier 2 Minister of Religion Visa?
The eligibility criteria for obtaining a Tier 2 Minister of Religion visa are:
- Pass the general grounds for a UK visa refusal.
- “The resident labour market test”. The job you’re expecting to fill, must not be such that could be filled by the UK/EEA workforce. Your sponsor must have hunted for local workers by advertising the job for at least 28 days within 6 months right before having issued you the CoS.
- Appropriate salary. You must be offered/paid a salary for your job which is almost the same as the payment of the UK/EEA workers in the same position. This payment has to be enough to cover your living and accommodation costs in the UK, during the period of employment.
- Work conditions. You must have the equal work conditions as the UK/EEA workers for the same position.
- Qualification as a religious worker. You must have completed training as a missionary, work experience in the same faith position in the home country, or other similar education/training/certification.
- Not having broken the UK immigration or other laws.
- Must not have held a Tier 2 visa over the past 1 year. This doesn’t apply if during such visa period you have been away from the UK, have an annual salary offer of £159,600 or higher, and you have an unconditional written consent of your Tier 2 sponsor regarding your visa application.
How to Apply for a Tier 2 Minister of Religion Visa?
To apply for a Tier 2 Minister of religion visa you have to follow the same steps as for every other UK visa application.
You should submit the application for Tier 2 Minister of Religion Visa in conformity to the following timescale:
- Not earlier than 3 months before the CoS employment period starts if you’re applying from abroad.
- Before the current Tier 2 Minister of Religion visa period expires. If you’re applying from the UK to extend or switch.
- Not earlier than 28 days before reaching the qualifying period of continuous residence. If you’re applying from the UK for a settlement permit.
The earliest you can travel to the UK with such visa is 14 days before the starting date of your work contract for the sponsor. This is for the fact that visa will start being valid not earlier than 2 weeks before the CoS starting date.
What are the Tier 2 Minister of Religion Visa Requirements?
The requirements to apply for a Tier 2 Minister of Religion Visa are:
- The standard requirements to apply for a UK visa.
- Tier 2 Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS). Your employer has to be a licensed Tier 2 sponsor, as a faith organisation or other organisation promoting religious belief, listed amongst the Registered Sponsors Licensed under the PBS. The CoS must not be older than 3 months when you apply, and must not have been used for other visa applications.
- Proof of English language proficiency.
- Financial requirement. You should have at least £945 for yourself and £630 for any family member applying with you (if applicable).
- Evidence of sufficient savings covering the period of 90 days before the application. (Send any of the following).
- Your personal bank statements.
- Your statements of another financial institution.
- Confirmation letter from bank/financial institution. Confirming that you have a minimum £945 for at least 90 days before you apply.
- ATAS Certificate. If you are 18 or above that age and want to study while working here with Tier 2 Minister of Religion visa.
To learn more about the points attributed in the Tier 2 Minister of Religion visa category, check out our UK immigration points based calculator.
What I Am Allowed To Do in the UK with a Tier 2 Minister of Religion?
Activities that you can perform as a holder of a Tier 2 Minister of Religion visa include:
- Settle when you reach the qualifying period of continuous residence.
- Get a supplementary job. This applies if this job doesn’t have more than 20 hours of workload and if it’s for a same job position as the main job, or in a job listed amongst the UK’s shortage occupations.
- Do a voluntary job. This is relevant for as long as it doesn’t interfere with the main job.
- You can participate in studies, if this won’t stop you from engaging in your Minister of Religion job.
- Travel abroad and return in the UK.
- Take your family members to the UK
What I Am Not Allowed to Do in the UK with a Tier 2 Minister of Religion Visa?
The activities you’re forbidden to perform in the UK with Tier 2 Minister of Religion Visa:
- Using public funds and benefits.
- Working in a second job outside the visa conditions.
How Long Can I Stay in the UK with a Tier 2 Minister of Religion Visa?
The following are periods of stay that can be offered through a Tier 2 Minister of Religion Visa:
- Entry Clearance period in Tier 2 Minister of Religion. It is issued for a maximum period of 3 years and 1 month, or the CoS period and 1 month, whichever of these periods are shorter.
- Leave to remain period in Tier 2 Minister of Religion. The shorter period between
- the CoS period plus 14 days, or
- 3 years, or
- the difference between the time you have been granted in the Tier 2 category and 6 years.
You may be given more than the maximum 6-year visa period in Tier 2 Minister of Religion, in these cases:
- You have had a UK residence permit (before April 6, 2011), in these categories:
- Tier 2 General.
- Tier 2 Minister of Religion.
- Tier 2 Sportsperson.
- Visa as a Jewish Agency worker.
- Visa as an operational staff of a foreign airline company.
- Visa as a minister of religion/missionary/member of a religious order.
- Work permit.
- Visa as a representative of a foreign newspaper/news or broadcasting agency.
- You have been issued a visa in Tier 2 General/Minister of Religion/Sportsperson visa (on/after April 6, 2011).
Applying for a settlement permit
After having reached 5 continuous years of residence in the UK and your current visa is Tier 2 Minister of Religion, you may apply for a Settlement Permit (ILR). For more details about applying for an Indefinite Leave to Remain, visit the article.
Tier 2 Minister of Religion Extension
To apply for an extension of your visa period, or to switch into the Tier 2 Religious visa from a different visa, you should apply in the UK using the online application service. You must provide the following documents:
- New Certificate of Sponsorship.
- Biometric Information.
Switch Into Tier 2 Minister of Religion Visa
There are several UK visa categories from which you can switch into the Tier 2 Minister of Religion, such as from:
- Tier 1 visas.
- Tier 2 visas.
- Tier 4 visas.
To switch into Tier 2 Minister of Religion from another visa, you have to apply through the online service of UK visas and immigration.
As a part of the application you also have to provide the following:
- Biometric Information.
- Proof of having been abroad the UK during previous visa validity period over the past 1 year (if applicable).
- Travel eligibility.
- Proof of an arranged accommodation.
- Entry/exit stamps in your passport.
- Traveling tickets/boarding card stumps. They have to be accompanied by an SMS report by your previous employer confirming the closure of the work contract with you.
Switching from Tier 4 visa
To switch from the Tier 4 visas you must have completed at least 12 months of studies during the latest stay in the UK. You must also provide the following documents:
- Educational certificates for studies completed in the UK.
- Degree certificate.
- Academic transcript of records.
- Academic reference from your Tier 4 sponsor. The reference has to include your ID details, title of the study course you’ve completed, the qualification you’ve received, the length of your studies and the date you’ve completed studies (passed all the exams and finished all academic presentations). If you’ve been taking PhD studies, you should provide a confirmation of 12 months of studies during your last visa period.
Tier 2 Minister of Religion Visa Dependents
Your family members can accompany/join you to/in the UK either if you’re applying for, or already holding a Tier 2 Minister of Religion visa. They should obtain a Tier 2 Dependent Visa to be able to do so, but such eligibility is limited into the following family members:
- Your husband/wife.
- Your unmarried/same-sex partner of a long-lasting relationship.
- Your child younger than 18 when applying/ 18 or older, applying for Leave to Remain or settlement permit from within the UK.
Can a Tier 2 Minister of Religion Dependent Work or Study in the UK?
Yes, they can work and study except as a dentist in training, doctor or a sportsperson. The rule doesn’t apply if your dependent family member has a UK degree for medicine or dentistry (at least the Bachelor level) from a recognized education provider. Additionally they have to apply for Leave to Remain from a visa which didn’t restricted them to work as a doctor /dentist in training during their previous visa period.
Your dependents in Tier 2 Minister of Religion visa can study any sort of studies, except that for some sort of studies they have to take the ATAS certificate beforehand.
Tier 2 Minister of Religion Visa Application Processing Time
Processing times of the applications for Tier 2 Minister of Religion visa are the following:
- Initial Tier 2 Minister of Religion Visa Applications from abroad: Up to 3 months.
- Extensions/Switching Tier 2 Minister of Religion Applications: Up to 8 weeks (standard service), up to 10 days (priority service), the same day you apply (premium service).
- Settlement Permit Applications in Tier 2 Minister of Religion: Up to 6 months.
Note: Visa processing time can be prolonged if further verification will be required, or if you have to attend an interview, or supply additional evidences.
How Much Does It Cost to Apply for a Tier 2 Religious Visa?
There are different fees to apply for a Tier 2 Minister of Religion, in dependence to the place from where you’re applying, reason you’re applying and postal services you’re using.
Can I Change the Sponsor While Being in the UK with a Tier 2 Minister of Religion Visa Basis?
It is possible to change the sponsor, but you have to apply for a change of the employment from the UK. To apply you must present the new Tier 2 CoS, who same as the first sponsor has to meet the sponsorship requirements.
Can I Change the Job Position in Tier 2 Minister of Religion Visa Basis?
You’re eligible to switch into another religious position within the same job. To get the new position you have to make an application for the change in the job position.
If you have been experiencing changes in the key job responsibilities you have to make also an application for change in the employment. This is possible only if you have been working/still working in a shortage occupation.