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Minister of Religion visa (Tier 2)

Overview

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

Getting sponsored

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.

Find out about paying for a faster decision.

Fees

How much you pay for a Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) visa depends on where you are.

Who you’re applying for Apply outside the UK Extend or switch in the UK
You £610 £704
You – as a citizen of Turkey or Macedonia £555 £649
All dependants £610 each person £704 each person

Healthcare surcharge

You’ll also have to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your application. Check how much you’ll have to pay before you apply.

If you’re applying to extend or switch in the UK

You’ll need to pay £19.20 to have your biometric information (fingerprints and a photo) taken.

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 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 cannot 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 does not interfere with the job you’re sponsored for
  • travel abroad and return to the UK
  • bring family members (‘dependants’) with you

You cannot:

  • 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:

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 will not need this money if you have either a:

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. Check the full visa guidance for detailed information.

Exceptions

You will not 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 – check the visa guidance.

Documents you must provide

When you apply you’ll need to provide:

If your documents are not in English or Welsh you’ll also need to provide a certified translation.

Read the guide for a list of documents you can provide.

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

Apply

Read the full guidance before you apply.

Apply outside the UK

You must apply online for a Tier 2 (Minister of religion) visa.

You’ll need to have your fingerprints and photograph taken at a visa application centre (to get a biometric residence permit) as part of your application.

You’ll have to collect your biometric residence permit within 10 days of when you said you’d arrive in the UK.

Find out how to get your visa decision faster – this depends on what country you’re in. Check if your visa application centre offers faster decisions and other services.

North Korea

You cannot apply online if you’re living in North Korea.

To apply from North Korea you must:

Apply in the UK

Check if you can apply from inside the UK to:

  • extend your existing Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) visa
  • switch to this visa from another visa
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.

Fees

Check the fees for your visa.

How to extend your visa

Read the Tier 2 guidance notes before you apply.

You must apply online as an individual or family group.

Providing biometric information and supporting documents

When you apply, you’ll be asked to make an appointment at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) service point to provide your biometric information (your fingerprints and a photo).

You’ll also need to submit your supporting documents. You can:

  • upload them into the online service
  • have them scanned at your UKVCAS appointment

You must not travel outside of the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man until you get a decision. Your application will be withdrawn if you do.

How long it takes

Once you’ve applied you can stay in the UK until you’ve been given a decision, as long as you applied before your last visa expired.

Decisions are usually made:

  • within 8 weeks of your application date if you use the standard service
  • within 5 working days of your UKVCAS appointment if you use the priority service

If you use the super priority service a decision will be made:

  • by the end of the next working day after your UKVCAS appointment if your appointment is on a weekday
  • 2 working days after your UKVCAS appointment 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.

You’ll be contacted if your circumstances or application are more complicated, for example if:

  • your supporting documents need to be verified
  • you need to attend an interview
  • you have a criminal conviction

Once you’ve applied you can stay in the UK until you’ve been given a decision, as long as you applied before your last visa expired.

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
  • Start-up visa
  • Innovator visa

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.

Fees

Check the fees for your visa.

How to switch to this visa

Read the Tier 2 guidance notes before you apply.

You must apply online as an individual or family group.

Providing biometric information and supporting documents

When you apply, you’ll be asked to make an appointment at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) service point to provide your biometric information (your fingerprints and a photo).

You’ll also need to submit your supporting documents. You can:

  • upload them into the online service
  • have them scanned at your UKVCAS appointment

You must not travel outside of the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man until you get a decision. Your application will be withdrawn if you do.

How long it takes

Once you’ve applied you can stay in the UK until you’ve been given a decision, as long as you applied before your last visa expired.

Decisions are usually made:

  • within 8 weeks of your application date if you use the standard service
  • within 5 working days of your UKVCAS appointment if you use the priority service

If you use the super priority service a decision will be made:

  • by the end of the next working day after your UKVCAS appointment if your appointment is on a weekday
  • 2 working days after your UKVCAs appointment 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.

You’ll be contacted if your application is complex and will take longer, for example because:

  • your supporting documents need to be verified
  • you need to attend an interview
  • of your personal circumstances, for example if you have a criminal conviction

Once you’ve applied you can stay in the UK until you’ve been given a decision, as long as you applied before your last visa expired.

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

Read the guidance on dependant applications before you apply.

Fees

Check the fees for your visa.

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 will not 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.

Dependants applying outside the UK

Your family members must apply online.

They’ll need to have their fingerprints and photograph taken at a visa application centre (to get a biometric residence permit as part of their application.

They’ll have to collect their biometric residence permit within 30 days of when they said they’d arrive in the UK (even if they actually arrive at a later date).

They may be able to get their visa faster or other services depending on what country they’re in – check with the visa application centre.

If your child is over 18 they cannot apply if they are outside the UK. They can apply from inside the UK if they are already here as your dependant.

North Korea

Your family members cannot apply online if they’re applying from North Korea.

Each family member will need to make their own application. They must:

Dependants applying in the UK on their own

Your dependants can apply to extend or switch their visas to stay with you if they’re already in the UK.

Your family members can apply online if they’re your:

It’s best for your dependants to apply at the same time as you but they can apply at a later date.

Your family members cannot apply in the UK as your dependant if they hold a visitor visa.

Providing biometric information and supporting documents

When they apply, they’ll be asked to make an appointment at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) service point to provide their biometric information (their fingerprints and a photo).

They’ll also need to submit their supporting documents. They can:

  • upload them into the online service
  • have them scanned at their UKVCAS appointment

They must not travel outside of the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man until the get a decision. Their application will be withdrawn if they do.

Children born while you’re in the UK

If you have children while you’re in the UK, you can apply online to add them to your visa as your dependant.

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

You’ll need to provide a full UK birth certificate for each child, showing the names of both 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:

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

You cannot start work with your second sponsor until your visa application has been approved.

How to apply

Read the guidance before you apply online.

You must be in the UK to apply.

Documents you must provide

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

You must also provide a letter 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

Data Source: https://www.gov.uk/tier-2-minister-of-religion-visa