R-1 Visa – Nonimmigrant Religious Workers

Ministers and non-ministers in religious vocations and occupations may come to the U.S. temporarily for the purpose of performing religious work.

General Eligibility:

An R-1 non-immigrant is a noncitizen who is coming to the United States temporarily to work at least part time (an average of at least 20 hours per week) as a minister or in a religious vocation or occupation and be employed by a:

  • Non-profit religious organization in the United States.
  • Religious organization that is authorized by a group tax exemption holder to use its group tax exemption; or
  • Non-profit organization which is affiliated with a religious denomination in the United States.

To qualify, individual must have been a member of a religious denomination having a bona fide non-profit religious organization in the United States for at least two years immediately before filing the petition.

Period of Stay/Extension of Stay:

Initial Period of Stay: up to 30 months. 

Extension of Stay: Ssubsequent extensions for up to an additional 30 months.

Your total period of stay in the United States in R-1 classification cannot exceed five years (60 months). We only count time spent physically in the United States in valid R-1 status toward the maximum period of stay.

Family of R-1 Visa Holders:

An R-1 religious worker’s spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 may be eligible for R-2 classification. An R-2 dependent is not authorized to work based on this visa classification.

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