Dear reader, many of you have been approaching us in order to know more about visa for religious purposes. First of all, if you want to come to the UK as a Minister of Religion – undertaking preaching and pastoral work – or as a member of a Religious Order taking up employment, or a role within your faith community you must ensure that your sponsor must be a genuine (bona fide) religious organisation. A religious order is defined, for this purpose, as a lineage of communities or of people, who live in some way set apart from society in accordance with their specific genuine religious beliefs, which must:
- Be a registered, excepted or exempt UK charity according to the relevant charity legislation in force in your part of the UK; or
- An ecclesiastical corporation (either corporation sole or body corporate) established for charitable purposes;
- In Northern Ireland the sponsor must have obtained charitable status for tax purposes from HM Revenue & Customs, also;
- if the sponsor is a charity which is not registered according to the relevant charity legislation you must explain the reason for non-registration in your application;
- Your organisation must also be the structure for a faith-based community with a common system of belief and spiritual goals, codes of behaviour and religious practice, which exists to support and/or propagate those common beliefs and practices;
- Not exclude from your community on the basis of gender, nationality or ethnicity;
- Receive financial and material support for your core religious ministry from your congregation or community on a voluntary basis only, without promise or coercion;
- Not breach, or encourage others to breach any UK legislation; and
- Not operate against the public interest, or in a way that has a detrimental effect on personal or family life as these are commonly understood in the UK.
There are two categories of visa for religious purposes within the points based system – Tier 2 and Tier 5. There are a few differences between both categories:
|Tier 2||Tier 5|
|Duration||3 years – can be extended for another 3 years, but does not lead to settlement||24 months|
|Minimum funds to obtain visa||Letter from bank stating minimum funds of £900,00 for at least 90 days prior the application||Letter from bank stating minimum funds of £900,00 for at least 90 days prior the application|
|Minimum level of English language||B2||No requirements|
|Scoring||Total of 70 points: 50 for sponsorship evidence, and 10 for both English level and funds evidence||Total of 40 points: 30 for sponsorship evidence, and 10 for funds evidence|
If your sponsor is confirming your maintenance
Your A-rated sponsor must send a letter by post of fax on the official letter-headed paper of their organisation, with the official stamp showing your name, certificate of sponsorship number and confirmation of financial maintenance. But, you must give your certificate of sponsorship reference number when you apply even if your sponsor will not fund your stay.
At LondonHelp4U we have a team of experienced immigration advisers to help you towards 100% of success in your visa application. If you don’t get your visa we will give you your money back!