The Religious Worker Visa
The R visa category permits individuals engaged in a broad range of religious occupations to enter the U.S. to perform services related to their religious calling or vocation and receive direct compensation for their work. The qualifying R nonimmigrant Religious Worker visa holder is a foreign national who:
- For the two years immediately preceding application for the R visa has been a member of a religious denomination having a bona fide, nonprofit religious organization in the United States; and
- Seeks to enter the U.S. for a period not to exceed five years to perform the work of a Special Immigrant.
The R visa petition is generally approved for an entry period of five years (initial admission not to exceed 3 years w/extensions of up to two years).
Immigration Law Associates, PC is well versed and experienced in preparing R visa applications of behalf of religious institutions seeking to bring essential religious workers to the U.S.
Elements of R-1 Visas:
- The R Visa Applicant Must Belong to a Suitable "Religious Denomination."
- The religious denomination must have a bona fide, nonprofit organization status in the U.S.
- Persons Seeking R Status Must Be Engaged in Qualifying Activities: In order to qualify for R status, employees of an R employer must be engaged in qualifying religious occupations.
Important R Visa Concepts
Strategic R concepts are key ideas that can govern an employer or foreign national's use of the R nonimmigrant visa category. These ideas are also important considerations that may guide how long an R visa might be utilized and whether an employer and/or prospective foreign employee might consider Permanent Residence or perhaps another nonimmigrant visa category.
The above examples are not exhaustive. Please consult us regarding other occupations and vocations in relation to the R category.
Note: The Spouse of an R-1 Visa Holder May Apply For and Receive Employment Authorization to Work in the United States.