Religious Worker Visas - The religious worker visa is for members of a religious denomination that has a nonprofit religious organization in the United States. The visas are designated for ministers, nuns, rabbis, priests, monks and other similarly situated religious workers.
Unlike the EB-4 immigrant visa, the R-1 Religious Worker visa is a temporary non-immigrant visa. The R-1 visa allows religious workers to enter the United States and stay in the United States for three years. R-1 religious workers must be involved in a religious vocation, which is defined as a calling to religious life, shown by evidence of a lifelong commitment. Nuns, monks, religious instructors, missionaries, and priests are eligible for religious worker status among other religious vocations.
R-1 extensions are available for up to two years; however, the total period of stay may not exceed five years. The spouse and children under 21 years of age may be granted derivative status and permitted to enter the United States; however, they are not authorized to work in the United States.
The sponsoring United States organization must prove tax-exempt status. R-1 visa holders may change employers during their stay, but the new sponsoring organization must file a new I-129 form. The R-1 visa holder may travel freely inside and outside of the United States during the validity of the visa.
R-1 religious worker visa holders may apply for permanent residence while in the United States by filing the I-360 form.
How The Nuñez Firm can help you: The application process for religious worker visas can be very specific at times. There are several required documents and pieces of evidence that must be included with a Religious Worker Visa Petition. Failing to include the necessary documents and evidence can prolong the process substantially. Additionally, the U.S. Immigration officers often conduct site visits to inspect the religious organization's property. The Nuñez Firm will organize and collect all the necessary documents to ensure that the petition is adjudicated as promptly as possible. Additionally, we will help prepare you for the site visit, and accompany you during the visit, if necessary.