December 29, 2021. 
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How do I get a Religious worker visa?

If you’re a religious worker wanting to work in the U.S., consider obtaining the R1 religious worker visa. You have to be a registered religious worker who has been working in the branch for the past two years. It doesn’t matter which religious denomination you’re associated with professionally as long as it is officially considered a non-profit religious organization in the United States.

Who qualifies for this visa?

The R1 religious visa is a temporary visa that requires you to work a minimum of 20 hours per week. It is not enough that you’re a follower of a denomination, but that you’re about to travel to the U.S. to become employed by a registered tax-exempt religious organization, a non-profit organization, or a non-profit organization associated with a religious denomination. Religious occupations (minister) and not religious vocations (nun, monk, etc.) are taken into account.

How do I apply for the R1 religious visa?

To reach the U.S. and work here in a professional religious capacity, you need to form a professional relationship with your future employer who starts your visa with Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker or Form I-129. Pay attention to when your future employer will file the petition. We recommended that it is not more than six months before your professional engagement begins in the United States. Your employer will receive proof of petition approval. Bring the proof of petition approval when you arrive at the Embassy for your interview. Besides the petition, you’ll need a batch of documents needed for a visa application. The complete documentation should communicate a clear reason why you’ve applied for the R1 religious visa.

Who qualifies for the R1 religious visa?

There is a case where you are reapplying for this visa because you spent the minimum amount of five years living in the U.S. working as a religious worker. You qualify for the R1 religious visa if you spent the past year outside the United States. As a qualified religious worker, you will get an immigrant visa as a Minister of Religion or a Certain Religious Worker. If you’re working in a religious organization or institution as a layperson, you don’t qualify for the R1 religious visa. Your position in the recognized religious organization in your country of origin will matter more than what position you will fill once you arrive in the United States.

Can I apply for a green card while on the R1 religious visa?

When you get your R1 religious visa approved, it will be valid for 30 months. You will have a chance to extend the visa for up to another 30 months. If you have a dependent, the qualified dependent can apply for the R2 visa. They can come to the U.S. to study but not to work. You can apply for a green card on either an R1 or R2 religious visa. If you’re approved, your status will change to legal permanent resident. Please note that there is no base income requirement to be met to qualify for the R1 religious visa.

If you have any questions regarding the R1 religious worker visa, you can contact VisaExpress. We’ll be happy to help you—our customer service is available 24/7, all week round. Schedule your consultation today and see what options are available to you.


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