Minister of Religion Visa Guidance

The Minister of Religion category, previously known as the Tier 2 Minister of Religion visa, is for qualified ministers and members of religious orders who have been offered a position within a religious organisation in the UK. The route enables workers who will mainly be undertaking pastoral work to travel to/remain in the UK while they work. Those applying for Minister of Religion visas do not necessarily need to be ordained or qualified ministers, as missionaries and members of religious orders are also able to benefit from the category.

Who can apply?

The route is for qualified ministers, missionaries and members of religious orders. The worker must be relocating to the UK in order to undertake mainly pastoral/preaching work, although the individual can also undertake some non-pastoral work.

Preaching/pastoral work includes, but is not limited to, leading worship, leading at marriages and funerals and offering counselling and welfare support to members of the organisation. If you are intending to do different types of work when you come to the UK, consult expert legal advice to determine whether a Tier 2 Minister of Religion visa is the most appropriate option for you.

What are the eligibility requirements?

To apply for a Tier 2 Minister of Religion visa, an individual must receive an offer of employment from a religious organisation that holds an appropriate sponsor licence. The employment must satisfy strict conditions contained in the Immigration Rules and the religious organisation will need to assign a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to the individual.

The individual must demonstrate an ability to communicate in English to Level B2 CEFR. They must also demonstrate access to sufficient funds to cover their (and their family’s) living expenses, unless their maintenance has been certified by their sponsoring organisation.

The individual must be of good character and will need to demonstrate that the general grounds for refusal don’t apply to them (the general grounds for refusal can result in an application being refused if, for example, the applicant has a criminal conviction, has relied on false documents/information, or has deceived the Home Office).

The individual must also satisfy the Entry Clearance Officer that they genuinely intend to undertake the proposed role in the UK; that they are capable of undertaking the role; and that they do not propose to undertake employment except as a religious worker. There are some exceptions to the latter condition when applying for a Tier 2 Minister of Religion visa, but you should check with us to ensure that your planned work is covered by the visa.

Tier 2 Minister of Religion visa extensions

Applicants present in the UK as Tier 2 Minister of Religion migrants are usually able to extend their leave to remain up to a maximum period of 6 years. The route can lead to settlement, usually after spending a continuous and lawful period of 5 years inside the UK.

To ensure you are eligible for a Tier 2 Minister of Religion visa extension or renewal, or if you are interested in applying with a view to settling in the UK, speak to an immigration specialist before making your application.

Documents you must provide

You must submit documents that confirm your identity to accompany the application, together with specified evidence that you meet the financial and English language requirements for a Tier 2 visa. You will also need to provide the Home Office/Entry Clearance Officer with your CoS reference number, and Latitude Law would also advise that documents relating to past experience/relevant education accompany an application in order to demonstrate that you are able to undertake the proposed role.

In certain circumstances, an individual may need to provide evidence that they have undergone screening for active pulmonary tuberculosis, and that such tuberculosis is not present.

You must be sponsored by an employer that holds an appropriate licence. You will be provided with a certificate that declares this, and you will be required to present it as evidence of your eligibility.

How we can help

Latitude Law can assist individuals with their visa applications by providing Tier 2 Minister of Religion guidance in the form of comprehensive advice about the requirements. We can prepare the application on your behalf, accompanied by detailed representations explaining how relevant Immigration Rules are met.

Latitude Law can also assist religious organisations with securing a sponsor licence to enable them to sponsor religious workers under the Minister of Religion category and can assist sponsors with any queries they have regarding existing/proposed workers.

Religious organisations that hold a sponsor licence are subject to various duties and it is important that they are fully aware of the requirements that apply to individuals under the Minister of Religion category and their duties as a sponsor.

Why choose us?

Latitude Law has extensive experience of assisting religious workers and organisations throughout the UK in relation to the Minister of Religion and Religious Worker queries and, is able to assist with applications by individuals and religious organisations.

If you want the best chance of success with your application, our expert immigration solicitors will help to break down and explain the process and your situation. Don’t hesitate to contact us, as making a mistake in your application could have legal repercussions. Call 0044 161 234 6800 for our Manchester office, or 0044 207 046 7185 for our London office.


How long does the process of applying for a Tier 2 Minister of Religion visa take?

When you receive your certificate of sponsorship, the date of the beginning of your employment will be detailed within. You must apply for a Tier 2 Minister of Religion visa within three months of this date. Typically, it takes 3-6 months to hear about the decision made if you use standard processing; priority options are available and will result in a quicker decision, usually 1-2 months.

How much does it cost to apply for a Minister of Religion visa?

If you are planning on applying from outside the UK, the cost is £719. If you are applying for a Minister of Religion visa extension or a change in type of visa, you will have to pay £827. This cost is per person, so if there are any other people applying along with you, they will have to pay too. Remember an Immigration Health Surcharge is also payable, currently £624 per year of visa.

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All content on this page was reviewed by Latitude Law and is accurate as of 17/02/2022