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R-1 Visas: For Ministers And Other Religious Vocations

Members of the clergy and people with other religious vocations or occupations from other countries may come to the U.S. with R-1 or R visas for the purpose of working at least half-time in nonprofit religious organizations. An R-1 or R visa holder must have been a member of the religious group or denomination for at least two years before applying for such a visa to work in the U.S.

Common Questions And Answers About R-1 Visas

What is a “religious vocation or occupation” under R-1?

To meet the criteria for an R-1 visa, a position in a religious organization must involve traditional religious functions, be recognized as a religious occupation within the respective denomination and promote the denomination’s religious beliefs and standards.

What types of “religious organizations” can sponsor an R visa?

A tax-exempt nonprofit religious organization located within and affiliated with the United States is eligible to sponsor applications for R visas.

Can my spouse and children come with me on my R visa?

Yes, an R-1 religious worker may bring a spouse and children on R-2 visas, which do not authorize U.S. employment.

How long can I stay on R-1 status?

After an initial 30-month stay on an R-1 visa, extensions may be granted for a total of up to five years.

Contact Fok Immigration Law To Learn More

We are prepared to guide you through the process of securing a visa. We help workers secure temporary work visas, and we assist with family immigration. Call our San Jose office at 408-212-7014 to schedule a free initial phone consultation. You can also contact our California attorneys online.

Note: The information above is derived and summarized from a United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) source.