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Minister of Religion Visa UK

The UK is a great place for Nigerian ministers of religion to visit because of the shared English language and the country’s religious diversity. If you want to come to the UK for this purpose, you will need to obtain a Minister of Religion visa (T2).

If you are a member of a religious order and want help to come to the UK, you should get in touch with IAS. Our expert immigration advisers and lawyers can provide tailored support to increase the likelihood of a successful application. Read this article and contact our Nigerian office at +23413438882, our UK office at +44 (0) 3316300929, or make an online enquiry.

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    Regardless of what your personal immigration query might be, IAS is here to help and support you. Call us or enquire online to learn more about how we can help you.

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    Are you Looking to Apply for a Minister of Religion Visa?

    We have helped many Nigerians in relocating and working in the UK through a Minister of Religion visa. Our team of seasoned lawyers is well-equipped to support you through the entire application process and address all the questions you might have.

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    Overview of the Minister of Religion Visa

    Visiting the UK as a minister of religion will require you to get a Minister for Religion (T2) visa.

    This will require you to have been offered a permanent job within a body defined by the government as a faith community. Roles can include being a minister of religion, a missionary, or a paid member of a religious order. Your employer will need to sponsor you to apply for a Minister of Religion visa.

    While in the UK, you will be allowed to practice and preach your religion freely and can access a range of additional rights.

    Rights and Activities Permitted While On a Minister of Religion Visa

    Overview

    The most important right you will get is the ability to perform paid religious duties. You will have near complete freedom of worship, and your activities will not be impeded by the authorities. You will also have access to the community you will be working with and will be allowed to interact and engage with members of the local community.

    You also have the right to reside in the UK for the duration of your stay. This can be in privately rented accommodation or in accommodation provided by your employer.

    All these rights will apply for a maximum of three years and one month. The exact amount of time will be specified on your certificate of sponsorship. You can apply to extend your stay, and after you have been in the UK for five years, you can apply for indefinite leave to remain.

    Can I Have a Second Job on a Minister of Religion Visa UK?

    Nigerian ministers of religion can get a second job on their T2 visa. The job must be no more than 20 hours per week or unpaid voluntary work. In addition, the job must be another minister of religion role, or a job listed on the “skilled worker shortage occupation list”.

    Jobs on the shortage occupation list include residential care work, scientific work, and engineering work. You can access the full list on the UK government website.

    If you want to take a second job that does not apply to this criteria, you will need to apply for another visa. This will require you to gain a certificate of sponsorship from the new employer and go through the visa application process again.

    Eligibility Criteria for a Minister of Religion Visa

    To come to the UK on a T2 Minister of Religion visa, you have to be offered a position within a faith community and be sponsored by your employer. You must also fit a range of other eligibility criteria, which include the following listed below:

    • Have knowledge of the English language to CEFR level B2
    • Have enough savings to support yourself when you arrive in the UK ( at least £1270)
    • Be eligible to travel
    • Be over 18 years old

    In some cases, you will not need £1270’s worth of savings. This applies if your sponsor can support you when you initially arrive. If you and your sponsor agree to this, they will need to state that they will support you when applying for a certificate of sponsorship.

    Praying in London mosque

    Are you a member of a religious order in Nigeria? Speak to us about visiting the UK with a minister of religion visa.

    Applying for a Minister of Religion Visa

    Overview

    Once you have confirmed that you are eligible for a Minister of Religion visa, you are ready to begin the application process. We detail everything you need to know to apply in the section below. If you need help completing your application, get in touch with IAS online or call our Nigerian office at +23413438882. You can also call our UK office at +44 (0) 3316300929.

    Documents for a Minister of Religion Visa T2

    The first stage of any application is to gather all of the necessary documentation. Make sure that you are able to provide the following:

    • Proof of English language skills
    • Bank statements
    • A valid Nigerian passport with a blank page for your visa
    • Your travel history for the past five years
    • Tuberculosis test results show you do not have the disease

    Most documents will already be in English, as it is the official language of Nigeria. However, if any of them are not already in English, you will need to commission a certified translator.

    Getting a Certificate of Sponsorship

    As with many other UK work visas, you will need a certificate of sponsorship. The religious body that is hiring you will need to make sure that they apply for a unique certificate of sponsorship for each Nigerian minister of religion that they hire.

    Your employer will need to apply for this certificate on your behalf, working with UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). The processing time is usually just one day. Your employer is also expected to pay the application fee, which will usually be £199.

    Now that you have a certificate of sponsorship, you are able to use it in your application. You will need to give your reference number to complete your application. This reference number can only be used once and must be done within three months.

    Visa Fee and Processing Times

    For applicants applying outside of the UK, there is a set visa processing fee that you will need to pay. This will be £625 for yourself, and a further £625 for every dependent.

    You will also need to wait for the visa processing times. This will vary depending on your case but you can usually expect to hear an answer back within three weeks.

    Outside view of St. Paul's Cathedral in London

    Other Pathways to a T2 Minister of Religion Visa

    Becoming a minister of religion in the UK does not mean starting from scratch and applying while in Nigeria. There are also processes that will allow you to switch another visa into a T2 Minister of Religion visa if you are already in the UK.

    Switching from a Student Visa

    Nigerians may be in the UK on a Student visa if they are studying for a full-time degree at an eligible higher education institution. It may be possible to switch from a student visa to a work visa such as the Minister of Religion visa.

    However, there are some additional guidelines to be aware of. If switching from a Student visa to a work visa such as this one, one of the following must apply to you:

    • You’ve completed the course you were sponsored to study
    • Your job start date is after your course’s date of completion
    • You’ve been studying for a PhD for at least 24 months

    It is also worth noting that you will also still need to adhere to all normal eligibility criteria for the Minister of Religion when switching to it. You will also be allowed to remain in the UK for three years as normal, and the healthcare surcharge will be the same.

    However, if you have been in the UK for more than one year, then you will not have to prove that you have sufficient means to support yourself. Additionally, the application fee will be slightly higher at £719.

    Finally, you must remember that any dependents on your Student visa will not automatically become dependents on your new visa. You will need to apply again for them to be allowed to remain in the UK as your dependent. Otherwise, they will have to leave at the end of their own visa.

    If you’re already in the UK and would like to switch your visa to the T2 minister of religion visa, we can handle the paperwork for you.

    How Can IAS Help?

    IAS are experts at all aspects of migrating from Nigeria to the UK and have worked specifically with religious workers to help them obtain a Minister for Religion visa. We also have knowledge of organising a Certificate of Sponsorship (COS) for your employer. Furthermore, our close connections within the Home Office will help keep you connected with the progress of your application. Finally, we can accompany your application with a Letter of Representation which will drastically increase your chances of success.

    When you call our Nigerian office at +23413438882 or our UK office at +44 (0) 3316300929 or contact us online, you will be connected with an immigration adviser who can tell you about our services. They will then connect you with an immigration lawyer who is specialised in the Minister of Religion T2 visa. Get in touch to get started with your application today.

    We offer immigration advice sessions as face to face appointments at our Lagos office, all of our UK offices, or via the phone.

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    Applying for a T2 Minister of Religion Visa should be fairly quick. It will usually take around three weeks. However, you can make a payment to the immigration services if you want to get a quicker answer for an extension or change to your visa. You will not be able to speed up the process if you apply for your initial visa.

    Paying £500 will give you access to the priority service. This will ensure your application is completed within five working days. You can expect your decision by the end of the next working day if you pay £800 for the super-priority service.

    Sadly, you do not have a basic right to free healthcare if you are in the UK on a T2 Minister of Religion visa. To access healthcare, you must pay the healthcare surcharge. For ministers of religion and their dependents, this will be £624 per person, per year.

    The T2 Minister of Religion visa does not mean you will have to take time away from your family. They will be able to join you if they are your dependent.

    The UK government includes the following relations in the category of dependents:

    • Your spouse, civil partner, or long-term unmarried partner
    • Your child under 18 (including those born during your time in the UK)
    • A child who became 18 while being your dependent in the UK

    However, bringing a dependent will need you to have more savings to prove that you can support them. This includes £285 for your partner, £315 for one child, and £200 more for every additional child.

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