Overseas Clergy and permission to officiate

Overseas Clergy & permission to officiate

A priest or deacon ordained by a bishop having a diocese or office elsewhere than in the province of Canterbury, the province of York, or the provinces of Ireland, Wales or Scotland is required by the Overseas and Other Clergy (Ministry and Ordination) Measure 1967 to have the written permission of the Archbishop of the province of Canterbury or York in order to officiate as priest or deacon in the Province of Canterbury or the Province of York.


If a person wishes to apply for Permission to officiate in the Province of York, application forms are issued by the Provincial Registry in York.

If you wish to apply, please click on the application form[LP1] , or contact the Registry Assistant by email to registry@luptonfawcett.law, or telephone 01904 623487 with any queries.

The Measure applies to all ministry as a deacon or priest in the Church of England by someone ordained overseas – even though the visit is short in duration. If there is any doubt or uncertainty about whether the Permission of the Archbishop is required under the Measure, the advice of the Provincial Registrar should be sought.

Roman Catholic priests and deacons wishing to minister in the Church of England also come within the 1967 Measure. So too do bishops from elsewhere in the Anglican Communion other than England wishing to exercise episcopal functions in England. In these circumstances full details of the proposal should be sent to the Provincial Registry so that the applicant can be advised what is required for the particular application.

The application form should be self-explanatory. Please remember to sign and date the form, which should be returned to the Provincial Registry.

Your application should always be accompanied by your Letters of Orders upon being ordained deacon and priest or certified copies of them. If you are unable to supply a copy you must explain the reason. Applicants who have lost their Letters of Orders should endeavour to obtain a Certificate of Ordination from the Diocese where they were ordained, and this must give details of the date and place of ordination and the name of the ordaining bishop and be signed by an official of the Church.

Applicants need to supply a letter of recommendation from the bishop currently or last served. This may be a letter addressed to the Archbishop of York provided specifically in support of the application for the Permission, or it may be a copy of a letter supplied to the Diocesan Bishop in the Diocese where the overseas priest hopes to minister in this country. The letter may be provided by the applicant, or he/she may ask the Bishop to send it directly to the Provincial Registry. A first application is normally for a specified and limited period of time and the maximum is usually three years. After that, if the priest wishes to continue to minister in the Province of York he may use the same application form to re-apply and can ask for a fresh permission without limit of time, provided the Bishop presently being served recommends and supports the application

Processing the application

Once received at the Provincial Registry, the Registrar will look through the paperwork and if everything is in order a Permission is drafted and sent, with the supporting papers, to the Archbishop of York to consider. If there are any queries, we will contact you.

If the Archbishop approves the application and after he has signed the Permission document, we will forward it to the applicant direct, or to the Bishop’s Office or Registry who submitted the application.

Once the Provincial Permission is in place, the Diocesan Bishop may issue his or her permission or licence to the priest to undertake a specific ministry in his Diocese.

Your key contact


Lupton Fawcett are very helpful and knowledgeable with practical advice.”

The Legal 500

Every insight

Sign up for our newsletter

Please fill in the form below to receive legal updates and seminar invitations from our expert solicitors – straight to your inbox.


By signing up, you agree to our terms and that you have read our privacy policy.