The R-1 Visa is a nonimmigrant visa issued to individuals who wish to come to the United States temporarily to be employed in a religious capacity, such as a minister, vocation or occupation at least part time (average of at least 20 hours per week) by a non-profit religious organization in the United States; or a religious organization that is authorized by a group tax exemption holder to use its group tax exemption; or a non-profit religious organization which is affiliated with a religious denomination in the United States.
More specifically, in order to be eligible for the R-1 Religious Worker Visa, the foreign national must demonstrate that he or she:
- is a member of the same religious denomination as the religious organization that he or she is planning to work for in the United States for at least two (2) years preceding the filing of the petition by the U.S. religious organization on your behalf;
- is coming to work as a minister or in a religious vocation or occupation in the United States;
- is employed by a non-profit religious organization in the United States (or an organization affiliated with the religious denomination in the U.S.); and,
- will work at least part time, with an average of at least 20 hours per week.
Authorized Stay under the R-1 Visa
The R Visa may be issued for an initial validity period of 3 years, and if deem necessary, may file for a Form I-129 extension petition for 2 more years, for a total period of 5 years. However, if the R-1 beneficiary wishes to stay beyond the 5-year limit, considering that the offer for the religious occupation still exists, he/she must reside outside the U.S. for 1 year in order to be eligible for a reboot of R-1 visa again.
Dependents of the R-1 Visa
Spouse and unmarried minor children of the R-1 visa holder may be issued the R-2 visa, which would allow them to accompany the principal applicant to the United States. This nonimmigrant status will grant them the same validity of stay as issued to the R-1 visa holder.
**Please call our office for immediate assistance on your visa requirements.