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R Visas for Religious Workers

R Visa Requirements

An R-1 visa (or status) is for a foreign national who will be employed or engaged in religious work for a qualifying religious organization in the United States. The maximum time in the United States in R-1 classification is 5 years. Spouses and children of R-1 foreign nationals are permitted to reside in the United States under an R-2 classification.

An R-1 visa is for a:

  • “Minister” type position (includes pastors, deacons, and rabbis) OR
  • Professional. Persons working in a professional capacity in a religious vocation or occupation requiring a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent; OR
  • Other religious worker.

Persons working in a religious vocation or occupation.

A religious occupation is activity which relates to a traditional religious function, e.g., cantors, liturgical workers, translators, religious broadcasters, workers in religious hospitals, but not if they are performing lay work. A religious occupation does not include clerks, fundraisers or maintenance workers.

A religious vocation relates to a traditional religious function, e.g., nun, monk. If a person practices a religious vocation it does not matter what job he or she performs only that she has “a calling to religious life evidenced by the demonstration of commitment practiced in the religious denomination, such as taking of vows.”

Additionally, a religious worker must show:

  • That the worker will be working under one of the classifications of religious workers described above
  • For 2 years immediately preceding the petition the applicant has been a member of the religious denomination having a bona fide nonprofit religious organization in the U.S.
  • The petitioning religious organization in the U.S. is bona fide nonprofit religious organization in the U.S. as “an organization exempt from taxation as described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.
  • “To whom it may concern,
    I am an Imam of Islamic Association of Mesquite, TX, and I want to express my appreciation and great thanks my immigration attorney Mr. Nick Chavez and his team about what they did for me and my family during 7 months he got the green cards for all of my family. Another thing is that Mr. Chavez is very close to his clients and he provided his professional service to them. It takes 5 minutes for him to answer your email with full respect. I advise all the community to come and deal with Chavez & Valko, LLP. Me and my family appreciate and thank him for his help and support.”

    – Imam Abuzaid with Family, Mesquite, TX ( I-360 Religious Worker Petition with Adjustment of status)

To learn more from clients who we have helped in these matters, please visit our testimonials page.