The Minister of Religion Visa (T2) is for individuals who have been sponsored to perform a mainly pastoral leading role within a bona fide faith-based organisation or religious order in the UK.
The T2 Minister of Religion route can lead to settlement in the UK and applicants can be joined or accompanied by a dependent partner and dependent children under the age of 18.
If you wish to support the activities of a UK religious institution by conducting religious work such as working in a religious order or undertaking non-pastoral work for a religious order, for no more than 2 years, you may wish to consider the Temporary Work – Religious Worker Visa instead.
In order to qualify for a Minister of Religion Visa (T2) you will need to satisfy UK Visas & Immigration that:
The exact requirements you will need to satisfy may vary depending on your circumstances. You may want to speak to an immigration lawyer for expert advice.
To discuss your application for a Minister of Religion Visa (T2) with one of our immigration barristers, contact our T2 Minister of Religion Visa lawyers on 0203 617 9173 or complete our enquiry form below.
The T2 Minister of Religion Visa is available to individuals who are qualified to do the job of a Minister of Religion.
You will have a key leading role within your religious establishment or organisation in the UK, such as a minister of religion, missionary, member of a religious order, or other religious worker in a mainly pastoral role.
As a Minister of Religion you will be expected to perform religious duties within your sponsor’s organisation or directed by your sponsor’s organisation in the UK. These duties may include preaching, pastoral and non-pastoral work. However, your work should be mainly of a pastoral nature, such as leading a congregation in performing rites and rituals, and preaching the essentials of the creed. This would include, but not be limited to, religious leaders such as priests, imams, rabbis and other ministers of religion.
Your role as a Minister of Religion should not involve mainly non-pastoral duties, such as school teaching, media production, domestic work or administrative and clerical work, unless your role is a senior position within your sponsor’s organisation (such as a financial controller). Applicants for these other roles should consider being sponsored on an alternative route such as the Skilled Worker route.
You should receive pay and conditions at least equal to those given to settled workers in the same role and compliant with the national minimum wage.
In order to obtain a Minister of Religion Visa (T2) you will need to have a valid Certificate of Sponsorship from a Home Office approved sponsor for the role you are applying to undertake in the UK. Your sponsor will need to hold a valid T2 Minister of Religion sponsor licence.
Your sponsor will be a bona fide religious organisation which:
Your Certificate of Sponsorship will confirm information such as details of the job and salary that has been offered to you, that you are qualified to do the job of a T2 Minister of Religion, that you are a member of the sponsor’s religious order (if your sponsor’s organisation is a religious order) and that you will perform religious duties within your sponsor’s organisation or directed by your sponsor’s organisation in the UK.
You will need to apply for a Minister of Religion Visa (T2) within the 3 month period before the start date of your role as stated on the Certificate of Sponsorship.
Unless you have been in the UK with a valid visa for at least 12 months or your employer agrees to cover your costs during your first month in the UK (and this is confirmed on your Certificate of Sponsorship) you will need to have at least £1,270 in your bank account, held for at least 28 days, ending not more than 31 days before the date of your Minister of Religion Visa (T2) application.
You will need to have English language skills at level B2 on the Common European Framework of Reference for language in reading, writing, speaking and listening.
If you currently have leave to remain in another immigration category, you may extend your stay in the UK by switching into the Minister of Religion (T2) route unless you have, or were last granted, permission as a Visitor, Short-term student, Parent of a Child Student, Seasonal Worker, Domestic Worker in a Private Household or outside the Immigration Rules.
If your application for a Minister of ReligionVisa (T2) is successful, you will be permitted to enter and remain in the UK for either the period of employment stated on your Certificate of Sponsorship plus 14 days or 3 years and 1 month, whichever is shorter.
Ministers of Religion can spend up to 6 years on the T2 Minister of Religion route. If you apply to stay in the UK as a T2 Minister of Religion from within the UK, you will be granted permission to stay in the UK for either the period of employment stated on your Certificate of Sponsorship plus 14 days or 3 years or the difference between 6 years and the period you have already been granted permission on the T2 route, whichever is shorter.
If your Minister of Religion Visa (T2) application is successful, you will be permitted to work in the job you have been sponsored for. Supplementary employment, voluntary work and study will also be permitted.
T2 Ministers of Religion can apply for settlement (indefinite leave to remain) in the UK after 5 years’ continuous residence in the UK.
Time spent in the T2 Minister of Religion category can be combined with time spent in the International Sportsperson, Skilled Worker, Tier 1 (other than Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur), Sole Representative of an Overseas Business, Innovator Founder and Global Talent routes.
You must not have been outside the UK for more than 180 days in any 12-month period during the 5 year period relied on.
Your sponsor will need to confirm that they still require you to work for them for the foreseeable future and that you will be paid an appropriate salary.
Unless you are exempt, you will need to demonstrate English language ability on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages in speaking and listening to at least level B1 and pass the Life in the UK test.
T2 Ministers of Religion may be joined or accompanied by a dependent partner over the age of 18 and/or dependent children under the age of 18.
As well as providing evidence of relationship, dependents may need to satisfy a financial requirement. Unless they have been in the UK with a valid visa for at least 12 months or the T2 Minister of Religion’s employer agrees to cover their costs during their first month in the UK, the T2 Minister of Religion – or their partner or child – will need to have £285 for a partner, £315 for one child and £200 for each additional child. The money will need to have been held for at least 28 days, ending not more than 31 days before the date of their visa application.
In order to qualify for settlement, dependent partners of T2 Ministers of Religion need to complete 5 years residence in the UK, with absences of no more than 180 days in any 12-month period and, unless exempt, demonstrate English language ability on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages in speaking and listening to at least level B1 and pass the Life in the UK test.
Most Minister of Religion Visa (T2) applications are decided within 3 weeks. It may be possible to secure a faster decision if the visa application centre offers a priority service.
Most applications to extend stay as a T2 Minister of Religion are decided within 8 weeks.
If your application for a Minister of Religion Visa (T2) is refused, you may be able to make a fresh application or apply for Administrative Review.
Our team of immigration barristers has experience in assisting religious workers within faith-based organisations and religious orders to relocate to, extend their stay and settle in the UK. Our barristers can help you to ensure that your career progression will fit your immigration goals.
We pride ourselves on being approachable and proactive in understanding and meeting our clients’ needs. We are a highly driven team, dedicated to providing clear and reliable immigration advice to religious leaders as part of a professional and friendly service.
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