The R-1 visa is a nonimmigrant visa for foreign national religious workers who wish to enter and work in the United States for up to 5 years. Spouses and unmarried children, under the age of 21, may accompany the religious worker with an R-2 visa. They can enter the U.S. and study, but not work. If a religious worker would like to continue his or her work beyond the 5 year limit, he or she must either leave the U.S. for a year and reapply for an R-1 visa or apply for and obtain a Green Card.
R-1 Visa Requirements
The individual applying for an R-1 visa must:
* Be a minister or other religious worker and wish to enter the U.S. to perform religious duties;
* Have been employed by the religious organization for a minimum of two years immediately preceding application; and,
* The religious organization must be a bona fide non-profit, tax exempt charitable organization recognized by the U.S., with official acknowledgment from the IRS.
R-1 Visa Benefits
Any individual granted the R-1 visa can:
* Enter the U.S. and stay for up to 5 years;
* Travel freely and reenter the U.S.;
* Work, but only for the specified religious organization;
* Apply for R-2 visas for spouse and unmarried children, under the age of 21 years old;
* Change religious employers; however, the new employer must submit a new Form I-129, Nonimmigrant visa application with requested supporting documentation; and
* Apply for a Green Card
R-1 Visa Required Documentation
To apply for an R-1 visa, an individual must submit:
* Form I-129, Nonimmigrant visa application with requested supporting documentation;
* Proof of employment as minister or religious worker and proof that he or she is qualified for such work;
* For a bona fide religious, non-profit, US. Government recognized organization;
* For at least two years immediately preceding application;
* Proof that individual will be supported above the poverty line and arrangements for financial support; and,
* Letters of recommendation.
Where to Get Help Obtaining R-1 and R-2 Visas
If you have questions regarding obtaining an R-1 visa and entering the U.S. to work as a religious worker as well as bringing your family into the U.S. on R-2 visas, consult with a qualified immigration attorney. Immigration is a very specialized area of law; be sure your attorney focuses his or her practice on immigration and obtaining religious visas.
We focus our practice on immigration law and help people just like you. You are not alone.
Your next step is to contact our office: 513-791-1673 or Thomasjr@geygan.com. We will gently walk you through the R visa process. In addition we explain immigration issues such as how to get R visas and Green Cards, represent you in front of the Department of State as needed, and aggressively fight for your legal rights.