What Is an R-1 Visa?
The R-1 religious worker visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows foreign nationals in religious occupations to enter into the U.S. and perform the duties of a religious worker.
Who qualifies for an R-1 visa?
You must be a foreign national and, for at least the past two years immediately preceding the time of application for admission, have been a member of a religious denomination having a bona fide non-profit religious organization in the U.S. R-1 visas may be issued both to members of the clergy and to lay religious workers. The initial stay can be up to 30 months, and the maximum stay is five years.
What are the benefits of applying under this visa category?
Some of the benefits of this visa include:
- Ability to engage in full-time study in the U.S.;
- Freedom to move in and out of the U.S.;
- Ability to apply for a green card; and
- Ability to apply for R-2 dependent visa for your spouse and unmarried children below 21 years.
How can an attorney help in this process?
Establishing eligibility for R-1 visas can be difficult, especially in cases involving religious professionals, religious occupation workers, and religious vocation workers. Even in cases where a petition includes the necessary documents, they must be presented in a logically organized format so that the immigration officer reviewing the case is led to make a favorable decision, particularly when the denomination is not very mainstream. Knowledge of what the immigration service or department of state anticipates to receive from the petitioner is vital to success.