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Who is Eligible?
This visa applies to individuals who, for at least two 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 United States, may be admitted temporarily to the United States to carry on the activities of a religious worker.
The alien must be coming to the U.S. for one of the following purposes: solely to carry on the vocation of a minister of the religious denomination; to work for the religious organization at the request of the organization in a professional capacity; or to work for the organization, or a bona fide organization which is affiliated with the religious denomination, at the request of the organization in a religious vocation or occupation.
How to Apply
The sponsor will file a petition with the INS Regional Service Center having jurisdiction over the organization. The Religious Organization must be a bona fide Religious nonprofit organization in the U.S., the Organization may show tax exemption under the Internal Revenue code, 501(c)(3). The Applicant will need to document that he or she was a member in the same religious denomination as the sponsoring organization for a two-year period immediately preceding the application.
Factors to consider in determining a bona fide religious denomination are:
- Presence of some form of ecclesiastical government
- A recognized creed and form of worship
- A formal code
- Religious services
- Establishment of place of worship
- A religious congregation
Duration of Visa
An R-1 visa may be valid for a period up to 5 years.
Status of Spouse and Minor Children
Spouse and unmarried minor children of an alien who holds a R-1 visa are eligible for a R-2 visa. They may not accept employment under a R-2 visa. INS allows Expedited, Premium Processing is available under this Category.