If you are religious and want to come to the United States to take on a religious occupation or vocation at least 20 hours every week, then you may be able to seek an R-1 visa. The R-1 visa is designed for religious workers who will be employed by:

  • A religious organization authorized by a group tax exemption
  • A nonprofit religious organization
  • A nonprofit religious organization that is also affiliated with a religious denomination found in the United States

The purpose of this visa is to give the opportunity to come to the United States to work to those who are dedicated to religious practices and their functions.

How do you qualify for the R-1 visa?

To qualify for the R-1 visa, you need to show that you were part of a denomination that does have a nonreligious organization based in the United States for at least the last two years. Your potential employer should then file Form I-129, which is a petition for nonimmigrant workers who want to come to the United States to be involved in a religious occupation or to become a minister while within the country.

How long can you stay in the United States with the R-1 visa?

Initially, the length of time you’ll be able to stay is only 30 months. However, you can seek extensions for up to another 30 months. While in R-1 status, you may not remain in the United States longer than five years (which only includes time that is physically spent within the country).

Your attorney can speak with you more about this visa and how to obtain it correctly. With the right documentation, you could soon be in the U.S. for a new job.