The Temporary Worker Visa for Charity Work
The Charity Worker Visa is a subcategory of the UK Temporary Worker Visa. This visa is for those who plan to do unpaid voluntary work whilst in the UK, and it has recently replaced the Tier 5 Charity Worker Visa.
The Charity Worker Visa route allows you to stay in the UK for up to 12 months, or the time given on your Certificate of Sponsorship plus 14 days, whichever is the shorter of the two. If you want to work in the UK for longer than this, or if you want to do paid work whilst in the UK, you should consider one of the other work visas.
Whilst in the UK on a Charity Worker Visa, you can do unpaid charity work for your sponsor, and you can also study and take on a second job, providing it is either in the same sector as your main job or is for a role on the Shortage Occupation List without needing to get another worker visa.
There are some limitations to this visa that a charity worker should note. You cannot receive payment for any of the work that you do whilst in the UK or take on a permanent job. You also cannot access public funds.
Who is eligible?
To be eligible for a Charity Worker Visa, you must be doing unpaid voluntary work in the UK. The UK immigration rules define this as “activities which would not normally be offered at a waged or salaried rate, and which contribute directly to the achievement or advancement of the sponsor’s charitable purpose.”
The charity work cannot include roles in administration, retail, fund-raising or the maintenance of the charity’s offices or other assets.
As well as meeting the above work requirements, there are several other requirements that you must meet in order to be eligible for this visa; you must:
- Be over the age of 18
- Hold a certificate of sponsorship from a charity that holds a valid UK Sponsor Licence
- Be able to financially support yourself whilst in the UK, you will need to have at least £1,270 of personal savings available in your bank account
How to apply
You can apply for the Charity Worker Visa up to 3 months before you intend to start your temporary work in the UK. You must apply for this visa online and can do so on the gov.uk website.
As well as completing the visa application form, you must also prove your identity as part of the visa application process. How you do this will depend on what type of passport you hold. You can either scan your passport on the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app, or if you are unable to do this, you will need to attend an appointment at a visa application centre to have your biometric information taken; this is your photograph and fingerprints.
You will be told which one you need to do when you apply. If you do need to go to a visa application centre, they might need to keep your passport and other documents whilst your Charity worker visa application is being processed.
Once you successfully submit your charity worker application, you can usually expect to receive a decision on your visa within 3 weeks.
As part of your Charity Worker Visa application, the Home Office will also expect each charity worker applying to submit a number of documents as well as a portfolio of supporting evidence to demonstrate that you are able to meet the visa requirements.
The documents you will need for your Charity Worker Visa application include:
- A valid passport or another national identity document
- Your certificate of sponsorship reference number
- Evidence that you have enough money to support yourself whilst in the UK such as bank statements
- Your tuberculosis test results if you are travelling from a country that requires the test
If you intend to bring any dependent relatives with you to the UK on the Charity Worker visa, then you will also need to submit documents to prove your relationships with them such as marriage certificates or children’s birth certificates.
Bringing family members to the UK
Temporary workers are able to bring certain family members with them to the UK on their visa. The family members that can join you on your Temporary Worker Charity Visa include:
- Spouses, civil partners and unmarried partners
- Children under the age of 18
- Children over the age of 18, if they are already living in the UK as your dependent
Any dependent relatives joining you in the UK must make a separate visa application, and they can apply to join you online.
To be eligible to be your Charity worker dependents, they will need to be able to prove their relationship with you and must also show that they have enough money to be financially supported whilst in the UK. You will need to show that there is at least:
- £285 for your partner
- £315 for one child
- £200 for each additional child
How can IAS help?
When applying for a UK visa, it is highly recommended that you seek assistance from an immigration expert, this is because visa applications can be incredibly complex and making any mistake could be enough to have your application refused by the Home Office.
Our immigration lawyers are highly trained and have decades of experience in the field of UK immigration law. This means that we can make sure that your Charity Worker visa application is completed to the highest standard and give you the best chance of success.
We can provide you with professional legal advice about your immigration options, which includes assessing whether you are eligible for a Temporary Worker Charity Visa. If you are not eligible for a temporary worker visa as a charity worker, we can also assess whether you are eligible for any of the other temporary worker visas.
Last modified on October 25th, 2023 at 3:43 pm
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The application fee for the Temporary Worker Charity Visa is £259.
As well as the visa application fee, you will also need to pay the Immigration Healthcare Surcharge, which is usually £624 per year.
Your dependent relatives will also need to pay the full visa application fee and Immigration Healthcare Surcharge.
Yes, if you plan to do volunteer work whilst in the UK, you will still need a visa to do so. Nationals from countries with a visa waiver agreement in the UK can only visit without a visa for up to 6 months for tourism and some business purposes.
If you will be doing unpaid voluntary work, then you can apply for the Temporary Worker Charity Visa. If you will be paid whilst in the UK, you cannot be eligible for this visa as a charity worker and will need to apply for a different type of work visa, such as the Skilled Worker Visa.
Yes, in some circumstances it is possible to extend your Charity Worker Visa. You can only extend your visa if you have not already reached the maximum period of stay which is 12 months, it is possible to extend your visa up to 12 months if it was initially issued for a shorter period than this.
If you plan on staying in the UK for more than 12 months you will need to switch to another type of visa.
Charity Worker Visa holders can do unpaid voluntary work for their sponsor whilst in the UK. As well as this, temporary workers are also permitted to do a second job in the UK, providing it is either in the same sector as the job detailed on your sponsorship certificate or if it is for a role that is on the Shortage Occupation List. However, all the work that Charity Worker Visa holders do must be unpaid.
As a temporary worker, you are also permitted to study whilst in the UK, although for some courses, you may need to obtain an Academic Technology Approval Scheme certificate.