R-1 Visas for Temporary Religious Workers

Below is a general summary of the R-1 visa for religious workers. It is not intended to serve as a comprehensive outline of all aspects of US Immigration Law pertaining to the R-1 visa.

The R-1 visa is available to foreign workers who enter the United States temporarily to perform religious work. The following is a general summary of the criteria and restrictions:

1. The visa is available to those who seek to enter the United States to work as:

  1. a minister, or
  2. a person working in a religious vocation or occupation in a professional or nonprofessional capacity

2. The foreign worker has been offered one of the above listed positions by a bona fide nonprofit and tax-exempt religious organization in the United States.

3. Two years immediately preceding the application for the visa, the person has been a member of the same religious denomination as the United States religious organization. Mere membership in the denomination is sufficient. Prior work experience is not required.

The initial visa validity period is for three years. The maximum continuous period of validity is five years.

Consult with a San Diego Immigration Attorney for More Information

Located in San Diego, California, Chawla Law Group enjoys working with clients located in or moving to the local area as well as those located in Los Angeles, throughout California, and elsewhere. If you are a minister or other religious worker in need assistance with an R-1 visa, we welcome you to contact us by completing our online information form, calling (858) 586-0700, or emailing vchawla@chawlalaw.com.

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