The R-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa category available to religious workers who wish to work temporarily in the United States. It is designed for individuals who are coming to the United States to engage in religious occupations or to work for religious organizations. Here is an overview of the R-1 visa category for religious workers:
Eligibility: To qualify for an R-1 visa, you must meet the following criteria: a. You must be a member of a religious denomination that has a bona fide nonprofit religious organization in the United States. b. You must have been a member of this religious denomination for at least two years immediately preceding the filing of the petition. c. You must be coming to the United States to work in a religious occupation or to perform duties for the religious organization.
Religious Occupation: The religious occupation should primarily involve carrying out religious duties and functions. This can include roles such as ministers, priests, pastors, rabbis, imams, religious counselors, or other similar positions.
Bona Fide Nonprofit Religious Organization: The religious organization that sponsors your R-1 visa must be a bona fide nonprofit religious organization, which means it must be a legitimate organization with religious purposes and activities.
Petition Filing: The religious organization seeking to employ you must file Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, on your behalf. The petition should include evidence of the religious organization's tax-exempt status, documentation of the organization's religious activities and mission, and supporting evidence of your qualifications and eligibility.
Duration and Extension: Initially, the R-1 visa is granted for an initial period of up to 30 months. Extensions may be granted, but the total period of stay cannot exceed five years. After reaching the maximum limit, you must depart the United States and reside abroad for at least one year before being eligible for a new R-1 visa.
Dependents: Your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 may be eligible for R-2 visas as your dependents. They can accompany you to the United States and are allowed to study but cannot work unless they obtain proper work authorization.
Dual Intent: The R-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa, but religious workers are allowed to have "dual intent," meaning they can have the intention to pursue permanent residence (immigrant status) in the United States while maintaining R-1 non-immigrant status.
It is important to note that the R-1 visa process requires detailed documentation and evidence to establish the religious nature of the occupation and the eligibility of the religious organization. Consulting with an experienced immigration attorney or professional who specializes in religious worker visas can help ensure that you meet all the requirements and navigate the application process successfully. They can guide you through the petition filing, document preparation, and any additional steps necessary to obtain the R-1 visa.
Immigrant Law- Investment R1 Religious Worker Visa
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