R-1 Religious Workers Visa

The Religious Worker Visa program in the U.S., commonly referred to as the R-1 Religious Workers Visa, is given to those who are religious workers. They can work for a span of 5 years in the U.S. and this allows them to ultimately apply for the Green Card and eventually U.S. Citizenship. This U.S. Religious Visa is offered only to those coming for the purpose of carrying out religious tasks in the U.S.. These workers may include ministers, professional religious workers, such as teachers and the other religious workers.

Our office has many categories of Religious Workers across the country for both non-immigrant and immigrant visa applications. These visas and green cards are for persons authorized by a recognized religious denomination to conduct religious worship and perform other duties usually performed by authorized members of the clergy of that religion or workers engaging in a religious vocation or occupation (such as religious teachers, including Hebrew teachers, as long as the position is mostly non-administrative in nature).

Get Your U.S. Religious Visa

We can help you get your R-1 (Religious) visa and ultimately your permanent residence as a religious worker whether you are in the U.S. or planning to come to the U.S. Contact us today and we will plan for your visa application.  Whether you are a clergy member, a teacher, or other religious professional, our office is here to help you apply for Religious Worker status.

Requirements for Religious Visa

Some of the requirements include, but are not limited to:

  • The applicant being a member of a religious denomination having an affiliated nonprofit religious organization in the U.S. (supported by written materials, brochures, Articles of Incorporation or other evidence of activity in the U.S.);
  • The U.S. organization is tax exempt supported by an IRS 501 (c)(3) designation letter; and
  • The applicant has been a member of the denomination for two years immediately prior to applying for the religious worker status- visa or green card (supported by a personal letter from a Rabbi, Priest, Minister, etc. who is familiar with the applicant).
  • The applicant is planning to work as a minister/clergy of the religious organization in the U.S., or in a religious occupation or vocation. We can discuss what qualifies as such a position.

While there is no requirement that individuals applying for religious visas maintain a residence in their home country while they are in the U.S. as religious workers, they do have to intend to depart the U.S. at the end of their visa status.

The R Visa has a maximum of 5 years, given in 30 month (2.5 year) approvals.  After 2 years of “full time” employment in R-1 status, the organization can sponsor the worker for permanent status as a religious worker and, upon approval, the religious worker can apply for their Green Card in the U.S. Care must be taken to plan this out with the proper strategy to avoid going beyond the legally granted status. In addition, some applicants will consider applying for their permanent residence status through other, more expedient processes that may be available at the time. Consultation with our office will determine what path is best for your particular situation.

Family members (spouse and children under 21) are granted R-2 status with the primary R-1 visa holder but cannot obtain work authorization with this status. They will also qualify for permanent residence status with the primary applicant.

Contact us today to discuss your options.

Neil J. Sheff Visas, Green Cards, Citizenship. Immigration Attorney
+310 446 3844 OR +310 496 1644