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How to apply for Minister of Religion Visa in UK

As a minister of a religious organization, you can apply for a Tier 2 Minister of religion Visa to work in the United Kingdom. Therefore, get a Minister of Religion Visa called Tier 2 Minister Visa if you are a religious minister, missionary, or a member of a religious organization outside the United Kingdom.

A Tier 2 visa provides a primary immigration route for skilled workers from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland to come to the UK to work for an approved licensed employer.

Moreover, there are different categories of Tier 2 Visa but basically, Tier 2 (Minister of Religion), will allow you as a religious worker to undertake employment within a faith community in the UK.

Therefore, this article is going to explain more about the Tier 2 Minister of Religion Visa, how to apply for this visa, eligibility criteria, the cost of application, and other important things you might need to know.

What is Minister of Religion Visa?

The Minister of Religion Visa is a Tier 2 Visa that allows religious workers to take up paid employment within a faith community in the United Kingdom.

Moreover, a 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 a member of a religious order or organization.

Furthermore, a religious minister or worker includes ministers of a religion who are authorized by a recognized church denomination to conduct religious worship and perform other duties usually performed by members of the clergy such as administering the sacraments, or their equivalent.

Eligibility Criteria for UK Minister of Religion Visa

To obtain a Tier 2 Minister of Religion Visa, you will be eligible for it by fulfilling the following conditions below:

  • Pass the general grounds for a UK visa refusal.
  • The resident labor 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 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 a 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.

The application process for a Tier 2 Minister of Religion Visa

The applicant will need to submit an online application within three months of being assigned their certificate of sponsorship. Each certificate has a unique reference number that they will need to apply.

They will also be required to attend an appointment at a visa application center to enroll their biometric information and to submit various documents in support.

Remember, you should submit your application for a 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 a visa is 14 days before the starting date of your work contract for the sponsor. This is for the fact that the visa will start being valid no earlier than 2 weeks before the CoS starting date.

Necessary Documentation For Tier 2 Minister of Religion Visa

  • A current passport or other travel documents to prove they can travel
  • Expired passports or travel documents to show their travel history
  • Proof of their knowledge of English, where applicable
  • Proof of their personal savings, where applicable
  • Their tuberculosis test results if they are from a listed country
  • A criminal record certificate from any country they have lived in for 12 months or more in the last 10 years, where they will be working in either the education, health, or social care sector in the UK

The Home Office will assess their application based on how many points they have accumulated under the points-based system. Under Tier 2 (General) an applicant must gain a minimum of 70 points. This is calculated as follows:

  • 30 points for having been assigned a certificate of sponsorship.
  • 20 points for earning the appropriate salary.
  • 10 points for meeting the English language requirement.
  • 10 points for meeting the maintenance requirement.

Note: the offer of a genuine job with a valid certificate of sponsorship does not guarantee the successful grant of a Tier 2 visa. The prospective employee must still meet all the other relevant criteria. The Home Office will also consider any general grounds for refusal, including any relevant criminal history or previous immigration violations.

Application requirement for Minister of Religion Visa

The requirements to apply for the United Kingdom Tier 2 Minister of Religion Visa include:

  • 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 organization or other organization 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. Confirm that you have a minimum of £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 a 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.

Things to do with the Tier 2 Minister of Religion Visa in the UK

UK immigrants with Tier 2 Minister of religion  Visa can perform the following activities in the United Kingdom.

  • 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 the same job position as the main job, or in a job listed among 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 to the UK.
  • Take your family members to the UK

Period of stay with Tier 2 Minister of Religion Visa in UK

Below 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 Tier 2 General/Minister of Religion/Sportsperson visa (on/after April 6, 2011).

Tier 2 Minister of Religion Extension

If you want to apply for an extension of your visa period, or to switch to 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:

  • 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 in the UK during a 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, the title of the study course you’ve completed, the qualification you’ve received, the length of your studies, and the date you’ve completed your studies (passed all the exams and finished all academic presentations). If you’ve been taking Ph.D. studies, you should confirm 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 to 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.

Tier 2 Minister of Religion Visa Application Processing Time

Visa application processing times are:

  • 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 more verification will be required like if you have to attend an interview, or supply additional evidence.


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.

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, depending on the place from where you’re applying, the reason you’re applying, and the 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 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 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 in medicine or dentistry (at least the Bachelor’s level) from a recognized education provider. Additionally, they have to apply for Leave to Remain from a visa that didn’t restrict 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.

Can I Change the Job Position on a Tier 2 Minister of Religion Visa Basis?

You’re eligible to switch to another religious position within the same job. To get a 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 also make an application for a change in employment. This is possible only if you have been working/still working in a shortage occupation.

How can I get a missionary visa?

The first step toward a religious worker immigrant visa is to file a petition. You or your prospective U.S. employer must file a Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant, with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Do ministers of religion pay tax?

Most ministers of religion or members of the clergy are either office-holders or employees and so their earnings are taxable under ITEPA 2003 as employment income and are subject to Class 1 National Insurance

Who is a religious worker?

A religious worker is a person engaged in and, according to the denomination’s standards, qualified for a religious occupation or vocation, whether or not in a professional capacity, or as a minister.

Can I get a green card if I work for a church?

Answer. Churches can apply for certain types of visas for people who are employed in a religious vocation. Churches can even apply for an employee to get a green card and become permanent residents of the United States.

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 a Tier 2 Minister of Religion Visa:

Using public funds and benefits.
Working in a second job outside the visa conditions.

When do I apply 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).


With this information, you as a minister of a religious organization can now apply for a Tier 2 Minister of religion Visa to work in the United Kingdom. Moreover, see this website for further information about UK visas like UK Tier 2 General Visa, UK Intra-Company Transfer Visa, and others.

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