R-1 Religious Workers

The R-1 visa permits religious workers to come to the U.S. to take on a religious occupation and perform services for their religious organization. The R-1 religious worker may come to the U.S. temporarily to work as a minister of religion, as a professional in a religious vocation or occupation, or in a religious occupation which relates to a traditional religious function for a bone-fide non-profit organization.  If the alien is outside the U.S., he or she may apply directly to a consulate for an R visa.

The alien seeking R-1 status must have been a member of a religious denomination having a nonprofit religious organization in the United States for at least the two years immediately prior to the application date. To be eligible, the U.S. petitioning organization must be a nonprofit religious organization and must demonstrate that it can and will provide for all of the R-1 beneficiary’s financial and physical needs.

Dependents (spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age) of R-1 workers are entitled to R-2 status. Dependents may be students in the U.S., but may not be employed under the R-2 classification.

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