1. Q: What is R-1 religious worker visa?
A: The R-1 religious worker visa is a nonimmigrant visa which allows foreign nationals in religious occupations to enter into the U.S. and perform the duties of a religious worker.
2. Q: Who is eligible for R-1 visa?
A: You must be a foreign national who, for at least the two (2) years immediately preceding the time of application for admission, have been a member of a religious denomination having a bona fide nonprofit religious organization in the U.S.
3. Q: What is a religious denomination?
A: Regulations state that a religious denomination will generally be found to have the following elements:
• Some form of ecclesiastical government
• A recognized creed and form or worship
• A formal code of doctrine and discipline
• Religious services and ceremonies
• Established places of worship
• Religious congregations
4. Q: How can I qualify as religious worker for R-1 visa?
A: To qualify for R-1 visa, you must be one of the following:
• Minister of religion
• Working in either a professional or nonprofessional capacity, either in a religious vocation or occupation
5. Q: What is a Religious Occupation or Vocation?
A: A religious occupation means a habitual engagement in an activity that relates to a traditional religious function. Examples include liturgical workers, religious instructors or counselors, cantors, catechists, workers in religious hospitals or religious health care facilities, missionaries, religious translators or religious broadcasters.
A religious vocation means a calling to religious life, evidenced by the demonstration of a lifelong commitment as practiced in the religious denomination, such as the taking of vows. Examples include nuns, monks and religious brothers and sisters.
6. Q: How long can I stay in the U.S. on R-1 religious worker visa?
A: You may stay in the U.S. on R-1 religious worker visa along with your spouse, and unmarried children under 21 years of age for an initial period of up to 30 months.
7. Q: Can I extend my stay on R-1 visa?
A: Yes, you may apply for extension of stay. Extension may be authorized for a period of up to 30 months. Your total period of stay may not exceed five (5) years.
8. Q: Can I work part-time?
A: Yes, you can work part-time (average of at least 20 hours per week)
9. Q: Can I study on R-1 religious worker visa?
A: Yes, you may engage in full time study on R-1 visa.
10. Q: Can I change employers on R-1 religious worker visa?
A: Yes, you may change employers on R-1 visa. The new organization seeking to employ you must file a new petition with the USCIS and have it approved.
11. Q: What type of visa will my dependents require?
A: You may apply for R-2 visa for your spouse and unmarried children below 21 years.
12. Q: Can my dependents work on R-2 visa?
A: No, your dependents may not work on R-2 visa.