Religious Workers — Employment in the U.S Through Religious Organizations

The R-1 Visa refers to a special classification of visa that allows a person to come to the United States to be temporarily employed by a legitimate nonprofit religious organization. The United States values religious freedom and created an R-1 visa for people that dedicate their lives to religious practice and teaching. The religious visa includes working as a minister, in a religious vocation, or a religious organization. If you require assistance, The Law Offices of Anable & Rivera PC can help.

Visa Requirements

There are several requirements to be eligible for an R-1 visa or be classified as an R-1 nonimmigrant. These requirements include:

  • Being a member of a bona fide religious denomination that has non-profit religious status in the United States for at least two years before you file. 
  • Showing that you will be employed by a religious organization in the United States. 
  • Will be employed part-time as a minister or in another religious vocation or occupation. 
  • Will be employed by a religious organization that is tax-exempt or has nonprofit status. 

Type of documentation to Provide

Just like any other immigration process, there is always very specific documentation that is needed to begin the application process for a religious visa. An R-1 is no different and it’s why an experienced immigration attorney will ensure a successful process. Some of the basic requirements include:

  • Read and complete From l- 129, petition for a nonimmigrant worker. 
  • Pay any filing fee when applicable
  • Provide the required evidence and documentation of employment and future religious organization 

After you file, you will receive a receipt of confirmation and must await an answer from immigration officials. An interview might be required as well. Here at Anable and Rivera, we help people looking to come to the United States to work for a religious organization to complete the process smoothly and successfully. 

What Are the Recognized Religious Denominations?

In order for the organization to be eligible under the R-1 visa, they must meet certain requirements. Usually, these include:

  • A recognized or common statement of faith by all members of the organization
  • A shared form of worship
  • A doctrine or discipline 
  • Common religious ceremonies or rituals 
  • Established places of religious ceremonies 

What is the Length of Stay?

When obtaining an R-1 visa, the initial period of approval can be up to 30 months. Extensions may be granted under certain circumstances for up to 30 more months. 

Call Our Offices Today to Get Started

Thinking of applying for an R-1 visa? Work with a qualified immigration attorney before you begin the process. We can help things go smoothly. Contact The Law Offices of Anable & Rivera PC today to learn more.