Charity Worker Visa UK

The Temporary Worker – Charity Worker visa allows people to come to the UK to do voluntary work. If successful in their visa application, the charity worker can work in the UK for up to 12 months, or for the length of time stated on their Certificate of Sponsorship plus 14 days, depending on whichever is shorter.

There are strict eligibility requirements to qualify for the Charity Worker visa, including a sponsorship certificate from a licensed employer, so it may not be a suitable route for everyone who wants to undertake charity work in the UK. If you need information on immigration rules for UK visas or the routes available for temporary workers, the immigration experts at Latitude Law can help. Get in touch to learn more about how we can help you.

To speak to a solicitor about making a charity worker visa application, call us on 0044 161 234 6800 or 0044 207 046 7185, or fill in our contact form to request a call back.

UK Charity Worker Visa requirements

To be eligible to apply under the Charity Worker visa, applicants must:

  • Be 18 years old or over
  • Have a valid Certificate of Sponsorship from a UK-licensed sponsor
  • Provide evidence of sufficient funds to support themselves in the UK, unless the sponsor is certifying maintenance
  • Provide a valid tuberculosis (TB) test certificate, if required
  • Be undertaking eligible charity work
  • Not have held permission as a Religious Worker or Charity Worker in the 12 months immediately before the date of their application

Your work must be unpaid voluntary work that directly contributes to the charitable purpose of your sponsor organisation for you to be eligible for this type of Temporary Worker visa. This includes activities that would not usually be paid jobs, and which help to achieve or advance your sponsor’s charitable purpose. If you need more information about eligible charity work, speak to our experts today.

How to apply for a Charity Worker visa

You can make an application for a Charity Worker visa online. As part of the application, the applicant will need to prove their identity and provide specific additional documents.

Applicants must have:

  • A valid Certificate of Sponsorship from a UK-licensed sponsor
  • A valid passport or other document that proves their identity or nationality
  • Proof of funds
  • Proof of relationship with their spouse/partner/children, if applicable
  • A valid TB test certificate, if applicable

Because of the complicated eligibility requirements and paperwork that is needed to apply for a temporary worker visa, it is usually best to speak to specialist immigration lawyers who can guide your efforts and offer you the best chance of success.

How we can help you with your Charity Worker application

If you need advice on which immigration options are suitable for you, or support through the application process, Latitude Law can help. As a specialist immigration law firm, we have significant experience in applying for and securing temporary worker visas for our clients and supporting charity workers to take up work in the UK.

The services we offer for those applying for Charity Worker Visas include:

  • Advising on the appropriate type of sponsor licence application
  • Helping to gather the appropriate supporting documents
  • Making sure they are meeting the relevant sponsor compliance duties
  • Advising on assigning Certificates of Sponsorship
  • Handling visa applications once sponsorship is confirmed
  • Applying for sponsor licence renewal

By supporting clients through the entire process of applying for and securing their Charity Worker visa, we can help to ensure that they are successful. If you make a mistake with your application, it will likely be rejected, you will lose your application fee and you will have to apply again, so getting everything right in the first instance is vital when applying for this type of visa.

Contact Us

For advice on Temporary Worker – Charity Worker Visas, including how to make a successful application, contact Latitude Law today by calling 0044 161 234 6800 or 0044 207 046 7185. Alternatively, fill in our online enquiry form and we will call you back.

Charity Worker Visa FAQs

What is the Charity Worker visa?

The Charity Worker visa is a category of UK Temporary Worker visas specifically designed for people who wish to come to the UK to undertake voluntary work in the charitable sector. This visa allows for a stay of up to 12 months, or the period stated on the Certificate of Sponsorship plus an additional 14 days, whichever is shorter.

It is essential to understand that this visa does not permit paid employment and is solely for unpaid voluntary work that contributes to the charity’s purpose. The work done must be directly related to the advancement or achievement of the sponsoring organisation’s charitable aims. This visa does not lead to settlement in the UK, but it provides an opportunity for those to support and contribute to UK charities temporarily.

How much does it cost to apply for a Charity Worker visa?

The costs involved in applying for a Charity Worker visa include:

  • An application fee of £298
  • An annual immigration health surcharge of £624
  • The need to prove at least £1,270 of personal savings available to support your stay in the UK

You may be exempt from the latter condition if your employer is able to provide the funds to cover your stay in the UK for your first month.

How long does it take to process a Charity Worker visa application?

Once you have submitted your application, proven your identity and provided your documents, a decision will usually be made within three weeks if you’re outside the UK, or eight weeks if you’re inside the UK. It can sometimes take time to prepare the documents you need, so you should contact us as soon as possible if you have plans to work in the UK, even if you don’t yet have a start date.

Can settlement be achieved by the Charity Worker visa?

The Charity Worker visa does not provide a path to settlement. The charity worker may be eligible to extend their stay in the UK. However, the maximum amount of time for which they can stay in the UK is limited to 12 months, or the time on their Certificate of Sponsorship plus 14 days, whichever is shorter. You cannot apply for a Charity Worker visa if you have held one within the last 12 months. For this reason, this type of visa is not suitable if you have been offered a permanent job in the UK.

Can dependents come to the UK on the Charity Worker visa?

A charity worker can be joined by their spouse/partner and any dependent children under the age of 18, provided that they are able to meet the relationship and financial requirements.

To be eligible for this application, a spouse or partner will need to prove that they have £285 available to support themselves while in the UK. A dependent child will need to show proof of funds of £315, and £200 for any additional child.

What types of charitable activities qualify for the charity worker visa route?

The types of charitable activities that qualify for a Charity Worker visa in the UK are strictly unpaid voluntary work roles that directly contribute to the charitable aims of the sponsoring organisation. These activities must not replace paid positions and should typically be roles that would not normally be filled by a paid worker. The work carried out must be directly related to the charity’s stated purpose, such as providing relief to the impoverished, advancing education, promoting health, saving lives, or any other activities deemed charitable under UK law. It is important that the voluntary work aligns with the sponsor’s registered charitable activities and is detailed in the Certificate of Sponsorship.

Can I bring my family members with me on a Charity Worker visa?

You can bring your family members with you on a Charity Worker visa as dependents, provided they meet certain eligibility criteria. The dependents that can accompany or join you include your spouse, partner and children under the age of 18. Each dependent must have a certain amount of personal savings to support themselves while in the UK; this is £285 for a spouse or partner, £315 for the first child and £200 for each additional child. These funds are required to prove that they can be maintained during their stay without requiring public funds.

Can I switch to a Charity Worker visa from another immigration category?

Generally, you cannot switch to a Charity Worker visa from another immigration category while you are inside the UK. This visa must be applied for from outside the UK unless you are already in the UK under a different category of the Temporary Worker visa and are applying to continue your stay for the same job with the same sponsor. Seek legal advice from our immigration experts to understand the current regulations and to confirm your eligibility to switch categories within the UK.

Can I apply for permanent residency (Indefinite Leave to Remain) through a Charity Worker visa?

The Charity Worker visa UK does not lead to permanent residency (Indefinite Leave to Remain). This visa category is for temporary work and is granted for a period of up to 12 months or the duration of the Certificate of Sponsorship plus 14 days – whichever is shorter. It is specifically designed for those who intend to undertake unpaid voluntary work related to a charity’s objectives and is not a route that counts towards settlement.

What happens if my Charity Worker visa application is rejected?

If your Charity Worker visa application is rejected, you will receive a notice from the UK Home Office outlining the reasons for the refusal. It is important to carefully review the refusal notice to understand the grounds on which the application was denied. Depending on the reason for rejection, you may have the right to an administrative review if you believe there has been a case working error. If there is new information or changes in circumstances, or if the initial application was incomplete, you may be able to apply again. However, you will need to pay the application fee again, and it is advisable to address the reasons for the initial refusal in the new application.

If you find yourself in this situation, call us as soon as possible and we will help you to assess your options and take the necessary action.

Are there any recent changes or updates to the Charity Worker Visa requirements?

The charity worker route was renamed to the ‘Temporary Work – Charity Worker Visa’, replacing the former ‘Temporary Worker – Charity Worker Visa (T5)’​. The update was more of a rebranding of the visa rather than a change in its fundamental purpose or requirements.

However, it was updated to reflect changes to the UK’s immigration rules on 12th April 2023​. These updates have made some minor amendments and clarifications. It is recommended for individuals or organisations involved in the application process to seek professional legal advice to fully understand what the changes are and mean.

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All content on this page was reviewed by Latitude Law and is accurate as of 05/10/2022