Religious Worker Visas
The R-1 nonimmigrant visa is available to foreign religious workers who have been invited to work in the United States by a religious organization. The R-1 is a temporary visa that will be issued to you for aninitial period of 3 years. This visa can be extended for an additional two years.
In order to qualify in this category you must establish the following:
- That you have been a member of the particular religious denomination for at least twoyears.
- That you have been offered temporary full-time employment to work as a religious worker with a qualifying US religious organization.
- That the religious organization is a nonprofit organization as determined by the Internal Revenue Service (i.e. registered under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code).
A religious worker may include the following:
- Someone employed in a religious vocation or occupation for which the minimum of a U.S. baccalaureate degree or a foreign equivalent degree is required.
- Someone employed in a traditional religious function such as liturgical workers, religious instructors, religious counselors, cantors, catechists, workers in religious hospitals or religious health care facilities, missionaries, religious translators, or religious broadcasters.
- Someone pursuing a calling to religious life evidenced by the demonstration of commitment practiced in the religious denomination, such as the taking of vows including nuns, monks, and religious brothers and sisters.
Once an R-1 nonimmigrant visa has been issued to you as a religious worker your spouse and unmarried minor children are immediately eligible for R-2 visa status. R-2 nonimmigrants will be permitted to remain in the United States for the duration of your R-1 visa. The children will be permitted to attend school and will be permitted to perform volunteer work only. R-2 nonimmigrants are not permitted to work in the United States.