Brief summary by our Solicitor Ameera Nosheen
You can apply for a Minister of Religion visa (T2) 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 meet the other eligibility requirements
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 give 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 much you pay for a Minister of Religion visa (T2) depends on where you are.
Who you’re applying for
Apply outside the UK
Extend or switch in the UK
£610 each person
£704 each person
You’ll also have to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your application.
Get a faster decision on your application
If you’re applying to extend or switch in the UK you can pay an extra £500 for the priority service to get a decision within 5 working days.
You can pay an extra £800 for the super priority service to get a decision:
· by the end of the next working day after providing your biometric information if your appointment is on a weekday
· 2 working days after providing your biometric information if your appointment is at the weekend
Working days are Monday to Friday, not including bank holidays.
Once you’ve got your decision letter, your biometric residence permit will take up to 10 working days to arrive.
How long you can stay
You can come to the UK with a Minister of Religion visa (T2) for a maximum of up to 3 years and 1 month, or the time given on your certificate of sponsorship plus 14 days, whichever is shorter.
You can apply to extend your stay.
You must apply before your visa expires.
What you can and cannot do
· 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 does not interfere with the job you’re sponsored for
· travel abroad and return to the UK
· bring your partner and children with you as your ‘dependants’, if they’re eligible
· own more than 10% of your sponsor’s shares (unless you earn more than £159,600 a year)
· get public funds
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 within 3 months of getting it.
Money to support yourself
You must have at least £1,270 in your bank account to show you can support yourself in the UK.
You will need to have had the money available for at least 28 days in a row. Day 28 must be within 31 days of applying for this visa.
You’ll usually need to show proof of this when you apply, unless either:
· you’ve been in the UK with a valid visa for at least 12 months
· your employer can cover your costs during your first month in the UK, up to £1,270
Your partner and children will also need to prove they can support themselves while they’re in 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.
You will not need to prove your knowledge of English if you’re a national of one of the English speaking countries.
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