Visas for Overseas Church Representatives – Bishop of Chelmsford Question

On 22nd September 2014 the Bishop of Chelmsford, Rt Rev Stephen Cottrell, received an answer to a question on the issuing of visas to representatives of overseas churches.
14.06.09 Chelmsford 2

Home Office – Entry Clearances
Asked by the Lord Bishop of Chelmsford on 01 September 2014 (HL1763):
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to review the criteria for giving visas to overseas church representatives in cases where all fares and expenses are guaranteed by a United Kingdom church body.

Answered by Lord Bates on 22 September 2014:
Applicants for visit visas are required to have adequate funds available to cover the cost of their travel to and stay in the UK, without taking employment or accessing public funds. Entry Clearance Officers take into account the individual’s income and outgoings to see whether they have enough money to fund a trip to the UK as well as having suitable accommodation. Relatives and friends can offer this support by providing evidence to demonstrate they have the financial means to support the applicant, as well as information on where the applicant will be staying in the UK.

Officials will be meeting colleagues from the Church of England soon to discuss the current process for visit visa applications for visitors. This should assist both applicants and United Kingdom church bodies when arranging visits to the UK as we want to ensure that genuine applicants who meet the requirements are able to demonstrate this sufficiently the first time.