Tier 2 (Minister of religion)
This section explains whether and how you can apply to enter or remain in the UK under Tier 2 (Minister of religion) of our points-based system.
The Tier 2 (Minister of religion) category is for people who have been offered employment or posts or roles within their faith communities in the UK as:
- ministers of religion undertaking preaching and pastoral work;
- missionaries; or
- members of religious orders.
Pastoral duties include:
- leading worship regularly and on special occasions;
- giving religious education to children and adults by preaching or teaching;
- officiating at marriages, funerals and other special services; and
- offering counselling and welfare support to members of the congregation; and
- recruiting, training and co-ordinating the work of any local volunteers and lay preachers.
Work as a missionary is not just preaching and teaching. It can include:
- the organisation of missionary activity (but should not be administrative or clerical, unless filling a senior post);
- supervising staff;
- co-ordinating the organisation of missionary work;
- being in charge of a particular activity such as accounts/finance, personnel management or IT; and
- translating religious texts - this is missionary work, not clerical work.
The work in a religious order must be in the order itself, or outside work directed by the order.
If you are a member of a religious order and you want to study for a qualification, a formal full-time course of study or training in an academic institution not looked after by the order, you should not apply to Tier 2 (Minister of religion. Instead, you should apply as a student under Tier 4 of the points-based system - the Studying in the UK section contains more information.
Working full-time as a teacher in a school run by a church or missionary organisation does not count as missionary work. If this is the work that you will be doing, you must apply as a teacher under the Tier 2 (General) category. The Tier 2 (General) section contains more information.
If you want to come to the UK as a religious worker for a shorter time, you should apply under Tier 5 (temporary worker - religious worker). The Tier 5 section contains more information.
Before you apply under Tier 2 (Minister of religion), you must read the Tier 2 policy guidance, which you can download from the right side of this page.
Do you need a Tier 2 visa to come to the UK?
Tier 2 is part of our points-based system, which is for migrants from outside Europe. You do not need to apply under the points-based system if:
- you are a national of a country in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland - the European nationals section describes your right to work in the UK;
- you are a British overseas territories citizen, unless you are from one of the sovereign base areas in Cyprus;
- you are a Commonwealth citizen with permission to enter or stay in the UK because at least one of your grandparents was born here - the UK ancestry section explains how you can apply;
- your partner or (if you are under 18) one of your parents has permission to stay in the UK under Tier 2 of the points-based system - you should apply as their dependant; or
- you have no conditions or time limit attached to your stay.
Tier 2 policy guidance
- Tier 2 policy guidance PDF 629KB opens in a new window