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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.

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Testimonials

“Mr. Chavez I cannot THANK YOU enough for helping us in reuniting our family. The WAIVER you completed for my husband was EXCELLENT. We will forever be grateful to you and your professional staff. I knew from my first consultation that you were sincere about helping your clients. You are an example of what a great attorney is. I HIGHLY recommend your law firm to everyone.“

– Elizabeth C., Crowley, TX (I-601 Waiver of inadmissibility in Cd. Juarez, Mexico)

“I am the General Counsel for a global internet security company. I have been working with Martin and his team for over three years on immigration matters including permanent residence, intracompany-transferee, investor’s, and H-1B matters. My experience has been outstanding. Martin or anyone in the firm always respond promptly and professionally. I usually work on very tight deadline and Martin and his team have always helped us achieve our goals. In my experience in comparison to working with other immigration lawyers, Chavez & Valko makes the complicated and burdensome process feel like a breeze. I would recommend Chavez & Valko to anyone who wants precision, promptness and professionalism.”

– Alexandra Albro, General Counsel, ESET ESET

“My husband WAS detained in a detention center, facing the possibility of deportation. As of today, my husband is home . . with the judge granting his cancellation of removal, and he was able to keep his permanent resident status here in the United States. . . The law firm of Chavez & Valko was wonderful to work with, guiding us through this long and difficult process with such conviction and compassion, that they gave my family and I that peace of mind of hope and encouragement that everything will be fine. . . I highly recommend the law firm of Chavez & Valko to anyone with immigration matter(s). . . Please continue doing what you do because you guys really do change lives. ”

– Removal client, Dallas, TX (Cancellation of Removal of Lawful Permanent Resident)

“My family and I would like to thank the attorneys from the immigration law firm of Chavez & Valko LLP for the great work fulfilled in my immigration case which had a happy ending. . . the immigration law argued that a criminal case like the one I had was eligible for deportation and my options were minimal. . . With their experience and great knowledge in immigration law, their perseverance and professionalism, they were able to win my case in my favor in Dallas immigration court (EOIR). I would like to give special thanks to the law firm of Chavez & Valko, who was with us at all times giving us support, security and great optimism.”

– Cecilio & Family, Dallas, TX (Defense against deportation in immigration court with 212(h) Waiver and Cuban Adjustment)

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