If you are a Nigerian citizen who wants to work for a charity in the UK, you will need a UK charity work visa. This visa allows you to stay and work in the UK for up to 12 months, with the possibility of extending it for another 12 months. However, getting a UK charity work visa is not easy. You will need to find a sponsor in the UK who is willing to offer you a job and a certificate of sponsorship. In this article, we will explain how to apply for a UK charity visa from Nigeria, how to find sponsors in the UK, how to know if your certificate of sponsorship is real, and what to expect from the visa process.
How to apply for UK charity visa from Nigeria?
To apply for a UK charity visa from Nigeria, you will need to follow these steps:
- Find a sponsor in the UK. You will need to find a UK-based charity that is registered as a sponsor with the UK Home Office. The charity must have a valid sponsor licence and a certificate of sponsorship for you. You can search for registered sponsors on the UK government website.
- Apply online. You will need to fill in an online application form on the UK government website. You will need to provide your personal details, passport information, sponsor details, and evidence of your qualifications and experience. You will also need to pay the visa fee, which is £244 as of December 2023.
- Book an appointment. You will need to book an appointment at a visa application centre in Nigeria to submit your biometric information (fingerprints and photograph) and supporting documents. You can find the nearest visa application centre on the UK government website.
- Submit your documents. You will need to submit your original passport, a printed copy of your application form, your certificate of sponsorship, and any other documents that prove your eligibility for the visa. You may also need to provide a tuberculosis test certificate, a criminal record certificate, and an English language test certificate, depending on your circumstances. You can find the full list of required documents on the UK government website.
- Wait for a decision. You will usually get a decision on your visa application within 15 working days. However, it may take longer depending on the volume of applications and the complexity of your case. You can check the status of your application on the UK government website.
How do I find sponsors in the UK?
Finding a sponsor in the UK can be challenging, especially if you do not have any contacts or connections in the charity sector. However, there are some ways to increase your chances of finding a sponsor, such as:
- Researching potential sponsors. You should do some research on the UK charity sector and identify the charities that match your skills, interests, and values. You can use online platforms such as CharityJob, Third Sector, and Charity Commission to find out more about the charities, their missions, their projects, and their vacancies.
- Networking with the charity community. You should try to build relationships with the charity community in the UK and Nigeria. You can use social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to follow, connect, and interact with the charity workers, volunteers, and supporters. You can also join online forums, groups, and events related to the charity sector, such as CharityConnect, CharityComms, and Charity Digital.
- Applying for volunteer opportunities. You should try to gain some experience and exposure in the charity sector by applying for volunteer opportunities in the UK and Nigeria. You can use online platforms such as Do-it, VolunteerMatch, and VSO to find and apply for volunteer roles that suit your skills and interests. Volunteering can help you demonstrate your commitment, passion, and value to the potential sponsors, as well as expand your network and references.
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How do I know if my certificate of sponsorship is real?
A certificate of sponsorship is a unique reference number that confirms that your sponsor has offered you a job and that you meet the eligibility criteria for the UK charity work visa. However, there are some fraudulent certificates of sponsorship that may look genuine but are not. To avoid being scammed, you should:
- Check the validity of the certificate of sponsorship. You can check the validity of the certificate of sponsorship on the UK government website. You will need to enter the sponsor licence number and the certificate of sponsorship number. If the certificate of sponsorship is valid, you will see the details of the sponsor and the job offer. If the certificate of sponsorship is invalid, you will see an error message.
- Verify the identity of the sponsor. You should contact the sponsor directly using the official contact details on their website or on the UK government website. You should ask them to confirm the details of the job offer, the certificate of sponsorship, and the visa process. You should also check the reputation and credibility of the sponsor by doing some online research and reading reviews from other workers and volunteers.
- Report any suspicious activity. If you suspect that the certificate of sponsorship is fake or that the sponsor is trying to scam you, you should report it to the UK Home Office or the Action Fraud as soon as possible. You should also avoid paying any money or sharing any personal information with the sponsor until you are sure that they are legitimate.
How to apply for UK work visa from Nigeria?
If you want to work in the UK for a non-charity employer, you will need a UK work visa. There are different types of UK work visas, depending on your skills, qualifications, and occupation. Some of the most common UK work visas are:
- Skilled Worker visa. This visa is for people who have a job offer from a UK employer that is on the eligible occupations list. The employer must be a licensed sponsor and must issue a certificate of sponsorship for the applicant. The applicant must also meet the English language and financial requirements. The visa fee is £610 as of December 2023.
- Global Talent visa. This visa is for people who are leaders or potential leaders in the fields of science, engineering, humanities, medicine, digital technology, arts, and culture. The applicant must be endorsed by a UK organization that is recognized as a leader in their field, such as the Royal Society, the British Academy, or the Arts Council England. The visa fee is £152 as of December 2023.
- Innovator visa. This visa is for people who want to set up or run an innovative business in the UK. The applicant must have a business idea that is new, viable, and scalable. The applicant must also be endorsed by a UK organization that is authorized to support innovators, such as Tech Nation, Seedcamp, or The Bakery. The applicant must also have at least £50,000 to invest in their business. The visa fee is £1,021 as of December 2023.
To apply for a UK work visa from Nigeria, you will need to follow similar steps as the UK charity work visa, such as applying online, booking an appointment, submitting your documents, and waiting for a decision. However, the requirements and documents may vary depending on the type of work visa you are applying for. You can find more information on the UK government website.
How long does the UK charity visa take?
The UK charity visa processing time may vary depending on the volume of applications, the complexity of your case, and the availability of the visa application centre. However, according to the UK government website, the average processing time for the UK charity visa from Nigeria is 15 working days. This means that you should apply for the visa at least one month before your intended travel date. You can also pay an extra fee to get a faster decision, such as:
- Priority service. This service costs £220 as of December 2023 and reduces the processing time to 5 working days.
- Super priority service. This service costs £956 as of December 2023 and reduces the processing time to 1 working day.
You can choose these services when you apply online or at the visa application centre. However, these services are subject to availability and do not guarantee a positive outcome. You can check the status of your application on the UK government website.