R-Visa (Temporary Nonimmigrant Religious Worker)
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If a foreign national needs to enter the United States temporarily for religious work, the individual can apply for an R nonimmigrant visa. This visa program is targeted at religious workers who dedicate their lives to carrying out religious functions and beliefs of their respective denomination, such as ministers, priests, temple workers. Certain positions such as administrative or support work do not qualify as religious occupations.
Qualifications for an R-1 Visa:
- The religious worker must be employed in a religious occupation or as a minister by a non-profit religious organization in the U.S.
- The religious worker must be employed at least 20 hours per week.
- The religious worker must be a member of the religious denomination for two years prior to filing a petition.
- The religious organization must hold tax exempt status under U.S. law.
Process for Obtaining an R-1 Visa
Employers must file for this visa on behalf of the religious worker using Form DS-156 non-immigrant visa application and Form I-129 and include the necessary documentation.
Once the petition is submitted, a USCIS office may conduct an on-site inspection to determine whether the religious site meets the requirements.
An R-1 visa holder may remain in the U.S. for up to 30 months.
Akula & Associates and our team of immigration legal professionals have experience assisting religious workers with their immigration issues. We can provide guidance for religious organizations during legal immigration proceedings.
Contact our office at (844) 299-5003 to learn more about obtaining an R-1 visa.