Religious Worker Visas (R-1)
Attorney Haq helps religious organizations obtain Religious Visas for their temporary religious workers (R-1). R-1 visas are for ministers, priests, educators, translators, missionaries, and other religious workers.
R-1 visa holders can qualify for a green card as either a member of the clergy or a religious worker. Applicants must show two years membership in the religion. During those two years, employment must be continuous by that same religious group but not necessarily full-time.
- TWO YEARS MEMBERSHIP in religious organization;
- COMING TO WORK AS A MINISTER or in a religious vocation;
- EMPLOYED BY A NON-PROFIT religious organization or affiliated organization; and
- WORK AT LEAST PART TIME, 20 hours per week.
Certain religious related activities can be undertaken using a visitor (B) visa, such as private worship, prayer, meditation, informal religious study, and attendance at religious services or conferences in the United States. A visitor visa is generally appropriate for ministers of religion seeking to come to the United States temporarily, whose wages and reimbursement will be paid by their own religious group outside the United States, and when coming for:
- AN EVANGELICAL TOUR, without taking an appointment with any one church; or
- TEMPORARY EXCHANGE WITH U.S counterparts; or
- MEMBERS PERFORMING MISSIONARY OR VOLUNTARY SERVICE for a denomination, such as to aid the elderly or needy.
Serving the Vietnamese Community
When you have a religious vocation or profession, or are a religious worker coming temporarily to be employed, with your salary paid by a non-profit religious organization in the United States, the visitor visa is not permitted, and you must have a religious worker (R) visa or other work visa.
A petition for a nonimmigrant worker, Form I-129, must be filed on your behalf by a prospective employer and approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before a visa can be issued to you. You can file this at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate or you can change your status while in the U.S.
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