Religious Worker Visas
Those who would like to come to the United States to work as a minister or work in another religious role may use the R-1 visa.
R-1 Temporary Non-immigrant Religious Workers
Those who would like to come to the United States to work as a minister or work in another religious role may use the R-1 visa. It is also not the only religious immigration option. The experienced attorneys at Poarch Thompson Law can help you determine if the R-1 visa is right for you.
Who is eligible to be a Non-immigrant Religious Worker?
In order to be eligible for an R-1 visa, you must:
- Have been a member of your sponsoring organization for at least two years before filing form I-130
- Have worked continuously for the last two years in a religious capacity, professionally or non-professionally
- Be seeking entry to the United States to perform religious work for your organization
Organizations that can sponsor R-1
In order to sponsor a non-immigrant religious worker, your organization must be a bona fide non-profit religious organization. This means that the organization meets the following standards:
- Recognized as a non-profit religious organization in the U.S.
- A non-profit religious organization that is affiliated with a recognized religious denomination in the U.S.
- A religious organization that is authorized to use a group tax exemption
What a Religious Denomination means
In order to be a religious denomination, your organization must demonstrate one, or more, of the following conditions:
- Common creed or faith
- Common form of worship
- Common formal code of doctrine and discipline
- Common religious services and ceremonies
- Comparable indicia of a bona fide religious denomination
What is a Minister under Immigration Law?
A minister is someone who is authorized by the religion to which they belong to perform religious worship and other religious duties usually performed by that religion’s clergy. The petitioner must prove that the minister was fully trained according to their religious tradition and attest that the minister is qualified.
Can we use Premium Processing for R-1 Visas?
You can use premium processing for an R-1 visa. In general, you can expect the R-1 visa process to take eight months or more. With premium processing, it could take as little as two weeks.
How long can I stay in the U.S. on my R-1 Visa and are there any extensions available?
R-1 visas are granted for an initial period of stay of 30 months. They can be extended for another 30 months but cannot be renewed a third time. You may stay in the U.S. a maximum of five years on this visa.
As your cap approaches, you should look into another visa to extend your stay, and Poarch Thompson Law can help you navigate what visa may be best for you.
How Poarch Thompson Law can help?
It’s wise to have experienced immigration attorneys to help you navigate these changes and successfully sponsor your ministers or be sponsored as a minister to the United States. Reach out to us today.
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