Religious Worker Visa

Who is this visa for?

This route is for a person who wants to come to the UK to support the activities of religious institutions by conducting religious work, such as working in a religious order or undertaking non-pastoral work for a religious organisation.

This visa has replaced the T5 (Temporary Worker) Religious Worker visa.

What are the basic eligibility requirements?

  • you must have have a valid Certificate of Sponsorship
    • This must confirm that the requirements of the resident labour consideration, in respect of the job, have been complied with. The requirements of the resident labour consideration are:
      • that the role is supernumerary, such that it is over and above the sponsor’s normal staffing requirements and if the person filling the role was not there, it would not need to be filled by anyone else (with a full explanation of why it is supernumerary); or
      • that the role involves living mainly within and being a member of a religious order, which must be a lineage of communities or of people who live in some way set apart from society in accordance with their specific religious devotion, for example an order of nuns or monks; or
      • that the sponsor holds national records of all available individuals, details of those records and confirms that the records show that no suitable settled worker is available to fill the role; or
      • that a national recruitment search was undertaken, and the following details are provided:
        • where the role was advertised, which must be at least one of the following:
          • a national form of media appropriate to the sponsor’s religion or denomination; or
          • the sponsor’s own website, if that is how the sponsor usually reaches out to its community on a national scale, that is where it normally advertises vacant positions, and the pages containing the advertisement are free to view without paying a subscription fee or making a donation; or
          • Jobcentre Plus (or in Northern Ireland, Job Centre Online) or in the employment section of a national newspaper, if there is no suitable national form of media appropriate to the sponsor’s religion or denomination; and
        • any reference numbers of the advertisements; and
        • the period the role was advertised for, which must include at least 28 days during the six month period immediately before the date the sponsor assigned the Certificate of Sponsorship to the applicant; and
        • confirmation that no suitable settled workers are available to be recruited for the role.
  • you must have enough money to support yourself when you arrive in the UK – you’ll usually need to have at least £1,270 available (unless you’re exempt)

How long can I stay in the UK?

If the application is for entry clearance, the applicant will be granted whichever is the shorter of:

  • the period of the job on the Certificate of Sponsorship plus 14 days before and after; or
  • 24 months

For more information on our legal services, please get in contact so that we can provide you with a quote for the same.

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Can dependants join me on this route?

Your partner and children can also apply to join you or stay in the UK as your ‘dependants’ if they’re eligible.

If your partner or child’s application is successful, their visa will usually end on the same date as yours. If a child’s parents have visas with different expiry dates, the child’s visa will end on the earlier date.

If you extend or switch your visa, your partner or child’s current visa will still be valid until its original end date. Your partner or child need to apply to extend or switch their visa, either:

  • at the same time as you
  • at any time before their current visa expires

This includes children who have turned 18 during your stay.

Your partner or children cannot apply to switch to your visa as your dependants if they are currently in the UK:

If your partner or child is currently in the UK on a Student visa, they can only switch if they have either:

  • completed the course they were sponsored to study
  • studied for a PhD for at least 24 months

How much does it cost?

  • you must pay the £298 application fee
  • you must also pay the immigration healthcare surcharge – this is currently set at £1,035.00 per annum for applicants 18 years of age and over, and £776.00 per annum for applicants under the age of 18
  • support yourself when you arrive in the UK – you’ll usually need to have at least £1,270 available (unless you’re exempt)

How long does it take?

Once you’ve applied online, proved your identity and provided your documents, you’ll usually get a decision on your visa within:

  • 3 weeks, if you’re outside the UK
  • 8 weeks, if you’re inside the UK

If you need to go to an appointment, you may be able to pay for a faster decision. How you do this depends on whether you’re outside the UK or inside the UK.

When should I apply?

You can apply for a visa up to 3 months before the day you are due to start work in the UK. This date is listed on your certificate of sponsorship.

As part of your application, you’ll need to prove your identity and provide your documents.

You may need to allow extra time if you need an appointment to do this. You’ll find out if you need one when you start your application.

What you can and cannot do:

With a Religious Worker visa you can:

You cannot:

If you require assistance with applying for the Religious Worker Visa, please contact us for a quote.

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Get in Touch

With years of experience working in UK immigration and British nationality law, our advisors can help you understand the process and take the right steps to obtain your visa. Get in touch today.