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Charity Worker Visa UK

If you’ve received an offer to do temporary charity work in the UK, you may be able to apply for the Charity Worker Visa.

For more information on the UK Charity Worker Visa, including immediate help with your immigration situation, speak to one of our lawyers at +44 (0)161 826 9783. We are also available to help you online.

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    What is the Charity Worker Visa?

    The Charity Worker Visa is a subcategory of the UK Temporary Work Visa. It allows foreign nationals to enter the UK and undertake unpaid voluntary work for a limited period.

    The Charity Worker Visa route has some limitations. You can only live and work in the UK for a maximum of 12 months and cannot receive payment for your work.

    If you intend to stay longer in the UK or take up permanent paid employment, you should consider an appropriate long-term work visa, such as the Skilled Worker Visa or the Health and Care Worker Visa.

    If you’ve received a job offer from a UK-based employer, call +44 (0)161 826 9783 to discuss your situation with an expert immigration lawyer before you submit a visa application. A lawyer can guide you on the appropriate work route to take.

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    Eligibility Requirements for Charity Worker Visa

    To be eligible for a visa under the Temporary Work – Charity Worker route, you must meet the following requirements:

    • Be aged 18 or over when you apply
    • Take a job that satisfies the Home Office’s requirement
    • Have a certificate of sponsorship reference number from your UK sponsor
    • Have enough money to support yourself while in the UK, which is at least £1,270 at the time of your application
    • Not have had permission to stay in the UK under the Charity or Religious Worker route in the last year unless you were outside the UK throughout the time

    Permitted Voluntary Work Requirement

    To qualify for the Charity Worker Visa, the job you intend to do must meet the Home Office’s requirement of voluntary work. This means that your intended job must:

    • Contribute directly to your sponsor’s charitable purpose
    • Not include activities which would normally be for a waged or salaried role
    • Not include roles in administration, retail, fund-raising, and maintenance of the sponsor’s assets
    • Not be a position which is required on a permanent basis

    Sponsorship Requirements for Visa Applicants

    Another requirement to qualify for this temporary visa is to have a valid certificate of sponsorship. It must be issued by a licenced sponsor authorised by the Home Office to hire temporary workers from outside the UK.

    A certificate of sponsorship has a unique reference number that contains information about the job you will do. The certificate must confirm that the role you intend to fill meets the voluntary work requirements.

    It will be valid for three months from the date your employer assigns it to you, and you must use it to apply for your visa before it expires.

    Sponsorship Requirements for Employers

    If you are a UK-based employer seeking to hire a foreign volunteer, you must first apply for a sponsor licence. There are different types, and the appropriate one for the Charity Worker Visa is the Temporary Worker Licence for small or charitable sponsors.

    This sponsor licence costs £536. Additionally, the application process is around eight weeks, and you might need to consider this timing in your recruitment plan.

    Our lawyers can help you obtain your sponsor licence. Call +44 (0)161 826 9783 to discuss with an expert immigration lawyer.

    We can help you obtain a UK charity worker visa. Contact us

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      What you Can and Cannot Do on the Charity Worker Visa

      As a Charity Worker Visa holder, you’ll be able to:

      • Work for your employer in the job described in your certificate of sponsorship
      • Study
      • Take a second job of up to 20 hours per week in the same sector and level as your primary job
      • Bring your partner and dependent children with you to the UK

      However, you will not be able to receive any payment for your work, take a permanent job or access public funds.

      Required Documents for Charity work visa application

      When making an application, you must submit some supporting documents to prove that you qualify for the visa. These documents include:

      • A valid passport
      • Your certificate of sponsorship reference number
      • Proof that you meet the financial requirement with either:
        • Your bank statements if you are supporting yourself, or
        • A completed ‘sponsor certifies maintenance’ section on your certificate of sponsorship if your employer is supporting you
      • A tuberculosis test results if you are from a country requiring one

      Note that you must provide a certified translation if your documents are not in English or Welsh.

      Applying for a Charity Worker Visa

      The applications for Charity Worker visas are typically online. You can apply up to 3 months before the day you are to resume your employment in the UK.

      Once you’ve gathered your supporting documents, visit the UK government website. You will need to create an account and complete the online visa application form.

      Afterwards, you will need to prove your identity. You can do so in two ways, depending on your country of origin and passport type.

      The first option is to book and attend an appointment at a visa application centre, where you’ll submit your biometrics. The second option is to use the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app to scan your identity document. When you start your online application, you’ll be told which option is available to you.

      How Long Does the Application Process Take?

      Once you’ve completed your application and verified your identity, you should expect to receive a decision in 3 weeks. Delays typically only arise if you do not submit all your documents when applying.

      You may be able to apply for a faster processing time using the priority service and get a decision within five working days. You will be informed when making your online application if the priority service is available.

      Reach out to us for help compiling your supporting documents and applying for your visa. Learn more

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        How Much Does the Charity Worker Visa Cost?

        The application fee for the Charity Worker Visa is £298 per applicant. You’ll also need to pay the healthcare surcharge of £1,035 annually. Other optional costs include the tuberculosis test fee, service charges at the visa application centre, and document translation fee.

        How Long Can I Stay in the UK on the Charity Worker Visa?

        You can live in the UK for up to 12 months or the duration given on your certificate of sponsorship plus 14 days, whichever is shorter. If the duration given on your certificate of sponsorship is shorter, you can apply to extend your visa up to a maximum of 12 months.

        Once you’ve stayed for 12 months, you’ll need to leave the UK. You can reapply for the visa after living outside the UK for one year.

        Bringing Family Members to the UK on the Charity Work Visa

        Your family members will be able to join you in the UK with your temporary work visa if they are eligible.

        Eligible family members include spouses, civil partners, unmarried partners, and children under 18. Children over 18 can join you if you’re extending your visa and they were already in the UK as your dependent.

        When applying for a dependent visa, you must provide proof of your relationship with family members.

        These could include submitting documents like birth certificates, marriage certificates, or utility bills.

        Furthermore, your dependents must show that you have sufficient income to support them. The requirements include:

        • £285 for your partner
        • £315 for one child
        • £200 for each additional child

        How Manchester Immigration Lawyers Can Help You

        UK visa applications can be pretty complex, with different requirements to consider and supporting documents to prepare. To avoid making mistakes in your application, consider hiring an immigration lawyer.

        Our team of specialists at Manchester Immigration Lawyers are licensed UK immigration lawyers. We have several years of experience helping clients with their immigration needs and can help you with your Charity Worker Visa application.

        Our lawyers will prepare a thorough application for you, along with a letter of representation to the Home Office, to increase your chances of a successful outcome.

        To get started on your application, call us today at +44 (0)161 826 9783. You can also reach us by completing the online contact form.

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                  Related pages for your continued reading.

                  Frequently Asked Questions

                  You can appeal to the First-Tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) within 28 days of receiving the rejection letter.

                  Charity workers are not expected to receive wages or salaries. However, sponsors can offer to cover their basic costs, such as food and accommodation, during their stay in the UK.