If you wish to work in the UK for a short time in a religious role, you may be eligible for the Religious Worker Visa, which has recently replaced the T5 (Temporary Workers) Religious Visa. Find out more about this temporary visa.
VISA FOR RELIGIOUS VISIT
The religious visit visa is aimed at foreign religious workers who wish to visit the UK to preach or undertake unpaid pastoral work for a maximum period of 6 months.
- The Religious Visit Visa is a sub-category of the Standard Visitor Route, which is a route for people wishing to visit the UK for a temporary period of up to 6 months.
- The route does not lead to a transfer to the UK and all visitors must make a separate request, even if traveling in a group.
Requirements for a religious visit visa
To qualify for a religious visit visa you will need to meet UK visa and immigration requirements which:
- You are a citizen with a visa (a citizen without a visa can normally apply for entry as a visitor on arrival at the UK border);
- Are you genuinely seeking to enter the UK for a purpose permitted by the tourist routes;
- You will not engage in any prohibited activities;
- You have sufficient funds to cover all reasonable costs related to your visit (including travel, maintenance, and accommodation costs) without working or accessing public funds;
- You will leave the UK at the end of your visit;
- You will not live in the UK for extended periods through frequent or repeat visits, nor will you make the UK your principal home;
- Your application does not fall within the general reasons for refusal;
- You have obtained an electronic travel authorization if required.
The exact requirements you will need to meet may vary depending on your circumstances. You may want to speak to an immigration lawyer for expert advice.
RELIGIOUS visa requirement
- A visa citizen is someone who, by reason of their nationality, requires a visit visa to enter the UK as a visitor. Citizens on visas must generally apply for a visit visa before traveling to the UK.
- The Home Office has published a list of nationalities who must apply for a visit visa before traveling to the UK as a visitor. The list includes a number of exceptions which allow some citizens on visas to apply for visitor entry on arrival in the UK.
- A visa-free citizen can normally apply for visitor entry on arrival in the UK. A visa-free citizen must still meet the requirements for entry as a visitor and therefore, on arrival, should be prepared to explain, for example, the purpose of his visit and how he will be maintained and accommodated in the UK, as well as the arrangements of the return journey.
- EU citizens are visa-free citizens and can apply for entry as a visitor on arrival in the UK without having to apply for a visit visa.
- As well as preparing visit visa applications for visa citizens, our lawyers regularly assist visa-free citizens to meet the requirements for entry as a visitor on arrival in the UK.
Visit Visa for Religious Workers
Religious workers can include anyone employed abroad to carry out religious duties such as preaching or pastoral work.
Activities permitted under the religious visit visa
To qualify for a religious visit visa you will need to demonstrate to UK Visas & Immigration that you are genuinely seeking to enter the UK for a purpose permitted by the Visitor Routes and that you will not be undertaking any prohibited activities.
Religious workers may undertake pastoral duties which may include one-off commitments such as holding wedding ceremonies or funerals, provided that these are one-off commitments for which they receive no payment and continue to work abroad.
You should not seek to take on an office, post, or appointment in the UK.
If you wish to work in the UK, you should consider applying for a Temporary Work – Religious Worker visa or a Minister of Religion (T2) visa.
Because the religious visit visa is a subcategory of the standard visitor route, religious visitors may also engage in other activities permitted in the standard visitor route.
Intention to leave the UK. Requirement for a religious visit visa
As well as demonstrating to the Home Office that you are genuinely seeking to enter the UK for a permitted purpose and that you meet the additional eligibility requirements, as part of your application for a religious visit visa you will also need to demonstrate to the Home Office that you will leave the United Kingdom at the end of your visit and will not live in the United Kingdom for extended periods through frequent or subsequent visits, nor make the United Kingdom your principal residence.
- When considering your application, the Home Office will consider a number of factors including:
- Your previous immigration history, including visits to the UK and other countries;
- Your financial situation, as well as your family, social and economic background;
- Your personal and economic ties to your country of residence.
Factors that may cause the Home Office to doubt whether you are a genuine visitor include few or no family and economic links to your country of residence, despite having several family members in the UK, previous attempts to deceive the Home Office in an immigration application and discrepancies between statements made by you and your sponsor.
Financial requirements for religious visit visa
- You will need to have sufficient funds to cover all reasonable costs relating to your visit (including travel, maintenance and accommodation costs) without working or accessing public funds.
- Your funds will need to be held in an approved financial institution.
- Your travel, maintenance and accommodation costs may be paid by a third party if the third party has a genuine professional or personal relationship with you, is not, and will not be, in breach of immigration laws and can support you throughout duration of your stay as a Visitor.
Visa for religious visits. English language requirement
- Religious visit visa applicants do not need to meet an English language requirement.
- Religious visit visa validity period
- If you wish to enter the UK for the purpose of a religious visit, you can apply for a visit visa valid for 6 months, 2 years, 5 years or 10 years.
- You can enter and leave the UK multiple times during the validity period of your Visit Visa, unless your Visit Visa is approved for a single or double entry.
- Any visit to the UK must not exceed 6 months.
Visa for religious visit Right to work
Religious visitors are not permitted to work in the UK or, with a few exceptions, receive payment from a UK source for any business undertaken in the UK.
This means that religious visitors cannot take up employment, start or run a business as a self-employed person, work for an organization or business in the UK, undertake a traineeship or internship in the UK or otherwise supply or sell goods or services in the UK. UK.
Religious visitors can carry out tasks related to their work abroad remotely while in the UK, such as answering emails or phone calls. However, the main purpose of your visit to the UK should be to undertake a permitted activity, rather than specifically working remotely from the UK.
Religious visitors can also come to the UK to look for work and attend job interviews. However, if you manage to gain employment, you will need to leave the UK and apply for the appropriate entry clearance before starting work.
Religious visit visa application fees
The Home Office application fee for a religious visit visa for a short stay of up to 6 months is currently £100.
If you wish to apply for a religious visit visa valid for 2 years, 5 years or 10 years, the Home Office application fee will be £376, £670 or £837 respectively.