Minister of Religion visa (Tier 2)
You can apply for a Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) visa if:
• you’ve been offered a job within a faith community (for example as a minister of religion, missionary, or member of a religious order) in the UK
• you’re from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland
• you meet the other eligibility requirements
Getting sponsored for a minister of religion visa (tier 2)
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.
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.
You’ll also have to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your application.
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.
• 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
• own more than 10% of your sponsor’s shares (unless you earn more than £159,600 a year)
• get public funds
You need to:
• have a certificate of sponsorship for your job
• prove your knowledge of English
• have personal savings so you can support yourself when you arrive in the UK
• show you can travel and your travel history over the last 5 years
• have tuberculosis test results if you’re from a listed country
You need to have an eligible qualification if you’re switching from a Tier 4 visa.
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.
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:
• fully approved (‘A-rated’) sponsor who can give it to you to cover your costs in the UK
• Tier 2 visa and you’re applying from within the UK
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.
You will not need to prove your knowledge of English if you’re a national of one of the following countries:
• Antigua and Barbuda
• the Bahamas
• New Zealand
• St Kitts and Nevis
• St Lucia
• St Vincent and the Grenadines
• Trinidad and Tobago
You also may not have to prove your knowledge of English in other circumstances
When you apply you’ll need to provide:
• your certificate of sponsorship reference number
• proof of your knowledge of English
• a bank or building society statement or letter that shows you have enough personal savings
• a current passport or travel document to prove you can travel – you need a blank page in your passport for your visa
• expired passports or travel documents if you need them to show your travel history
• your tuberculosis test results if you’re from a listed country
If your documents are not in English or Welsh you’ll also need to provide a certified translation.
You may need to provide additional documents depending on your circumstances.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
You can stay a maximum of 3 years after switching to a Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) visa.
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
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.
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.
You can take a second job on this visa if you’re working up to 20 hours a week in either:
• the same profession as your main job
• a profession on the shortage occupation list
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.
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