Helping Religious Workers Obtain R Visas

At the Lancaster Law Office of Troy J. Mattes, P.C., our attorneys work with religious organizations that are seeking R visas for religious workers. These visas are reserved for those who are wishing to come to the United States to serve as a minister, or to otherwise work in a religious vocation or occupation. There are strict legal definitions to these categories that must be met in order to successfully receive an R visa, which is why experienced legal guidance is important.

Contact us online today to schedule an initial consultation with our immigration lawyers. We are here to help answer your questions and to serve as your guides every step of the way.

Nonimmigrant Religious Worker Visas And Permanent Residency

An R-1 nonimmigrant visa is temporary. It is initially valid for 30 months, and a 30-month extension period may also be requested, allowing for a maximum stay of five years.

It may be possible to be granted permanent residence in the U.S. through work for a religious organization. One of the requirements for permanent residency of this type is that a person must have actually worked for two years in a religious position. Because of this requirement, religious workers often enter the U.S. on a nonimmigrant R visa and then apply for permanent residency after two years.

Religious Organization Sponsorship

Any bona fide nonprofit religious organization can sponsor a religious worker. The organization must be a 501(c)(3) organization or have another type of tax exemption status from the IRS. It is the duty of the religious organization to file an initial petition for religious sponsorship with the department of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). When a petition is approved, a worker may apply for a visa at the U.S. consulate in his or her home country.

Religious worker petitions will trigger an on-site visit to be performed by the USCIS. This requirement is not necessary if a previous successful site visit was performed within the last five years.

Contact Our Pennsylvania Law Firm For Your Visa Needs

We work closely with all types of religious organizations to help them navigate the R visa process successfully. Contact us online to find out how we can help you achieve your goals.