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Religious Worker Visa UK

The Religious Worker Visa is a visa route for those intending to work in a religious role or in a religious order in the UK. It replaces the previous T5 (Temporary Worker) Religious Worker Visa.

Manchester Immigration Lawyers help visa applicants from all around the world succeed in obtaining the relevant travel permission and entering the UK. Call our team today on 0161 826 9783 to learn more on how our team of specialist solicitors can help you.

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    What is a Religious Work Visa?

    The Religious Worker Visa is a temporary work visa allowing holders to work in a religious role or religious order in the UK. Visa holders may stay in the country for a period of up to 24 months, and alongside their work are permitted to also:

    • Study (although an Academic Technology Approval Scheme Certificate may be needed, dependent on the course being taken)
    • Work in a second job in the same sector as their primary job for up to 20 hours a week
    • Work in a second job on the Skilled Worker Immigration Salary List for up to 20 hours a week
    • Bring a partner and dependent children with them to the UK.

    All Religious Worker Visa applicants must hold a certificate of sponsorship from a licensed sponsor in order to have the application accepted. Their sponsor is usually the religious organisation or order that will employ them in the UK.

    This is a separate visa to the Minister of Religion Visa, which is a long term visa suitable for ministers and religious leaders.

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    What are the Eligibility Requirements for a Religious Worker Visa?

    In order to be eligible for a Religious Worker Visa, the applicant must meet the following criteria:

    • The applicant must be aged 18 or over
    • The applicant must hold a Certificate of Sponsorship from a licensed sponsor
    • The applicant must be able to demonstrate that they have enough personal savings to support themselves while in the UK (a minimum of £1,270)
    • The applicant must not have held a Religious Worker or Charity Worker Visa in the last 12 months, unless they’re able to prove they were not in the UK to fulfil its obligations.

    The Certificate of Sponsorship is a reference number that when accessed by the relevant immigration authorities provides them with information on the job the applicant will work in and their personal details. This reference number will be supplied by the licensed sponsor (usually the employer) ahead of the Religious Worker Visa application being made.

    It is the duty of the employer, religious organisation or religious order to ensure that their role is within the UK legal requirements for minimum wage and working hours.

    A Certificate of Sponsorship may only be issued by a sponsor recognised by the UK government for such purposes. It is valid for three months from the date of issue and so must be used for an Religious Worker Visa application within that time period, or it will be rendered defunct.

    Supporting Documents Required for a Religious Worker Visa

    To support the visa application, applicants must supply a range of evidential documents to prove their eligibility. As standard, these are as follows:

    • A valid passport with at least one blank page for the visa
    • The reference number from a valid Certificate of Sponsorship
    • Evidence of sufficient financial personal savings – usually bank statements demonstrating at least £1,270 held for at least 28 days in a row (within 31 days of applying for the visa)
    • (If applying to bring family members to the UK) Proof of relationship with partner and/or children – usually marriage and birth certificates
    • (If applying from a country required) Proof of a negative tuberculosis (TB) test.

    Any documents that aren’t in either English or Welsh in their original format must be accompanied by a certified translation.

    Religious Worker Visa Application Process

    The Religious Worker Visa should be applied no sooner than three months before the intended entry to the UK. The application process is as follows:

    Obtain Certificate of Sponsorship

    A valid Certificate of Sponsorship is a prerequisite for any Religious Worker Visa application and so this number must be obtained ahead of the application being made.

    Complete Digital Visa Application Form

    The Religious Worker Visa application form is completed online through the GOV.UK website, with copies of supporting documents provided.

    Pay Visa Application Form

    The visa application fee must be paid online when the visa application form is submitted.

    Provide Biometric Information

    Once the Religious Worker Visa application has been received, the applicant must make an appointment at their nearest Visa Application Centre to provide their biometric information. This is usually photographs and fingerprints, and will be included on a UK biometric residence permit.

    Await Visa Decision

    It takes on average three weeks to process an application for a British Religious Worker Visa.

    Travel to the UK and Begin Work

    As soon as the Religious Worker Visa has been granted, the holder can travel to the UK and commence their employment.

    Our immigration team is here to help you obtain a religious worker visa UK. Contact Us

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      Cost for Religious Worker Visa application

      The application fee for a Religious Worker Visa is £298 per person; for the applicant, their partner and any dependent children covered by the application. Furthermore, a healthcare surcharge of £1,035 is payable per person per year to cover access to NHS services.

      These fees are separate to any costs incurred by the visiting religious worker as a result of applying (such as admin or translation costs).

      How Long a Religious Worker Visa takes

      On average it takes three weeks for the processing of a Religious Worker Visa, but can take up to eight weeks if the applicant is already resident in the UK. In some cases, additional information will be requested by the relevant immigration authorities during the application process. When this happens, the application is considered ‘on hold’ until such information is required – and so it should be supplied as quickly as possible to avoid further delays.

      How Can Manchester Immigration Lawyers Help?

      Manchester Immigration Lawyers a specialist firm of immigration specialists who work with individuals and companies around the world to help them successfully apply for an appeal visa travel and work permissions. We know such processes can be stressful and convoluted, and that’s why we aim to communicate jargon-free at all times. Let our team work to take the hassle out of your visa application and help you on your way to the UK quicker. Call us today on 0161 826 9783 for a free, no-obligation chat about your circumstances.

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                Frequently Asked Questions

                The UK minimum wage is, as of April 2024, £8.60 per hour for 18-20 year olds and £11.44 per hour for those aged 21 and over.

                A negative tuberculosis result certificate is required for presentation if the applicant is a citizen of a country on the UK Government list. Only a test certificate from a Home Office authorised clinic will be accepted. Not all countries have authorised clinics and so in some circumstances, the applicant will need to travel elsewhere to be tested.

                A Religious Worker Visa is eligible for up to 24 months, but its length is dictated by the time period stipulated on the Certificate of Sponsorship. If the visa holder changes roles or intends to stay on further, they may apply to extend the Religious Worker Visa up to a total of 24 months but not any further. A Religious Minister Visa is a permanent work visa and is eligible for up to five years.

                The Religious Worker route is open for those performing paid religious duties for the Church of Scientology. 20+ such visas were granted in 2023, although it is recognised that most of the Church’s workers are present in voluntary positions.

                Religious duties being fulfilled by the holder of a Religious Worker Visa will be activities to support a religious institution or order, and may be pastoral or non-pastoral. Religious work being fulfilled by the holder of a Minister of Religion Visa is mainly pastoral; such as leading a congregation in rites and rituals, and preaching.

                Religious institutions and orders must be approved by the Home Office in order to provide sponsor licenses for visa applicants. They will be required to prove that they are a genuine religious entity with relevant paid roles to be fulfilled to do so.