How to get an R- Religious Worker visa for the USA.
Our office assists international religious workers obtain the R-Visa to continue their mission in the United States.
To qualify for an R-1 visa, a religious worker must be:
A minister; or
A person working in a professional capacity in a religious occupation or vocation; or
A person working in a religious occupation or vocation who has been a member of that religious denomination for at least two years immediately preceding the date of the visa application. The religious denomination must qualify as a bona fide nonprofit religious organization in the United States.
Ministers conduct religious worship and perform other duties conducted by authorized members of the clergy of a particular religion.
Working in a professional capacity is defined by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as requiring a B.A. degree or its foreign equivalent.
Working in a religious occupation is defined as working in an activity that relates to traditional religious functions. The category includes religious workers such as cantors, liturgical workers, translators, religious broadcasters, and workers in religious hospitals. It does not include nurses, clerks, fundraisers, or maintenance workers.
Working in a religious vocation is defined as “a calling to religious life.” Examples of persons working in a religious vocation include nuns and monks.
A religious denomination is defined as a religious group that has some form of ecclesiastical government, a recognized creed and form of worship, a formal code of doctrine and disciplines, religious services and ceremonies, established places of worship, and religious congregations.
Spouses and unmarried children of R-1 Visa holders are allowed to R-2 Visas to accompany their spouse/parent to the United States. An R-2 Visa holder may study in the United States, but is not allowed to work on an R-2 Classification.
The period of stay on an R-Visa:
USCIS may grant R-1 status for an initial period of admission for up to 30 months. Subsequent extensions may be granted for up to an additional 30 months. The religious worker’s total period of stay in the United States in R-1 classification cannot exceed 5 years (60 months).
USCIS counts only time spent physically in the United States in valid R-1 status toward the maximum period of stay.
Our Firm can assist you in the process of qualifying and obtaining R-1 and R-2 Visas. Contact our office for a free initial consultation to discuss your case.