The R-1 visa may be obtained by a religious worker who:
- Has been a member of a US religious organization for the preceding two years and
- Seeks to enter the US for five (5) years or less
The R-1 visa is initially valid for three (3) years and may be extended for an additional three (3) years. Positions which qualify for an R1 visa are too numerous to list. Applicants should qualify for the visa as long as there is a religious component to the position.
Ministers and priests may apply for permanent residency (“green card”).
Spouses and children of the R-1 visa holder may obtain an R-2 visa to enter and remain in the US. The R-2 visa holder may attend school but if he or she wishes to work, he or she must change his or her status to obtain a work visa.
Foreign nationals coming to the US to work in a professional religious capacity for a religious group or community
An foreign national who, for at least the two (2) years immediately preceding the time of application for admission, has been a member of a religious denomination having a bona fide nonprofit religious organization in the United States, may be admitted temporarily to the United States to carry on the activities of a religious worker for a period not to exceed five (5) years. The foreigner must be coming to the United States for one of the following purposes: solely to carry on the vocation of a minister of the religious denomination; to work for the religious organization at the request of the organization in a professional capacity; or to work for the organization, or a bona fide organization which is affiliated with the religious denomination, at the request of the organization in a religious vocation or occupation.