An R-1 is a foreign national must be employed as a minister or in another religious occupation at least 20 hours per week by:
- A non-profit religious organization in the United States.
- A religious organization that is authorized by a group tax exemption holder to use its group tax exemption.
- A non-profit religious organization which is affiliated with a religious denomination in the United States.
The religious worker must intend to work as one of the following:
- Liturgical Worker
- Religious Instructor
- Religious Counselor
- Religious Hospital Worker
- Religious Health Care Facilitator
- Religious Translator
- Religious Broadcaster
Duration of Stay on R-1 Visa for Religious Workers
Relatives of R-1 Visa Holders
R-1 Visa for Religious Workers Requirements:
- The religious worker needs to have been affiliated with the United States’ non-profit denomination for at least two years.
- The religious worker must be able to provide evidence of recognition from the religious organization. This requirement can be met by a license, certificate, or official qualification documentation.
- The U.S. employer must file a Petition for nonimmigrant Worker (Form I-129).
- Workers who are exempt from the visa must display the original Form I-797 at a port of entry.
- Workers can work for multiple employers, however, each employer must be qualified and submit a petition. The worker must also fill out additional USCIS documentation for each employment.
R-1 Visa for Religious Workers Petition Requirements
As listed by the USCIS, if the petitioner is claiming tax exemption as a bona fide non-profit religious organization that:
- Has its own individual Internal Revenue Service (IRS) 501(c)(3) letter then you’ll need to submit a currently valid determination letter from the IRS showing that the organization is tax-exempt.
- Is recognized as tax-exempt under a group tax exemption then you’ll need to submit a currently valid determination letter from the IRS establishing that the group is tax-exempt. You’ll also need to submit group ruling that the group is tax exempt.
- Is affiliated with the religious denomination and was granted tax-exempt status under section 501(c)(3), or subsequent amendment or equivalent sections of prior enactments of the Internal Revenue Code, as something other than a religious organization. You’ll then need to submit the following:
(a) A currently valid determination letter from the IRS establishing that the organization is tax-exempt.
(b) documentation establishing the religious nature and purpose of the organization.
(c) organizational literature describing the religious purpose and nature of the activities of the organization.
(d) A religious denomination certification stating that the petitioning organization is affiliated with the religious denomination.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are you able to work for a different employer after arriving in the U.S. under R-1?
You can work for a different employer but they must petition you for the new visa. If, however, the new employer is not a religious organization you would need to seek an alternate type of work visa.
Is there a method to become a permanent U.S. resident after finishing work on an R-1?
You may be able to become a permanent resident by fulfilling the requirements of the EB-4 ‘Special Immigrant Religious Workers’ category.
How can I receive an R-1 visa?
After first filing Form I-129, the petitioning religious group must wait for approval. Until that approval is granted, the worker will not receive their visa at the consulate office.
How Our Immigration Lawyers Can Help:
- The R-1 Visa requires cohesive and extensive information from both the U.S. employer and you. Our R-1 Visa lawyers are capable of advising and helping you with the required documentation.
- Along with steps needed for the R-1 Visa, our attorneys are knowledgeable in the process needed to obtain an R-2 for your spouse and children (unmarried and under 21).
- Our immigration attorneys organize and plan tactical strategies to meet crucial deadlines and submit clear and concise data.