R-1 Visa for Religious Workers

R-1 Visa is a non-immigrant visa designed for Religious Workers in the US. If you intend to work temporarily as clergy in a US Religious Organization, you will most likely need an R-1 Visa.

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Let’s take a closer look at the R-1 Visa for Religious Workers

The R-1 Visa is issued to temporary Religious Workers in the US. According to USCIS, a Religious Worker refers to a foreign national coming to the United States to work temporarily (for at least 20 hours per week), as a minister or the religious equivalent in a religious organization.

This type of visa is issued only to those who work directly in a religious organization, such as Clergy. People who play administrative or clerical roles in religious organizations are not qualified for this type of visa. 

It may interest you to know that there is no current annual cap for this type of visa. This means that all qualified R-1 Visa applicants have the opportunity to be granted an R-1 Visa.

What are the Benefits of the R-1 Visa

Here are the benefits of the R-1 Visa:

1.  When a religious worker gets into the US with this type of visa, they are permitted to work and study in the US.

2.  This type of visa holder is allowed to travel in and out of the US or remain in the US continuously through the validity of this Visa.

3. This type of visa holder is entitled to remuneration from the religious organization they work in the US.

3.  They can apply for an R-2 visa if they decide to bring their spouse and dependent children to the US. 

4.  This type of visa holder are permitted to open a bank account and have a driver’s license.

5. They can apply for permanent residence in the US.

R-1 Visa Requirements

You must meet the following requirements to be eligible for an R-1 Visa.

  • You must be a member of a religious denomination that is known as a nonprofit religious organization in the US.
  • The religious denomination you belong to must have a tax exemption
  • You must be a minister or the religious equivalent in a religious organization, 2 years before your application
  • You must have intentions of leaving the US at the expiration of your R-1 Visa
  • Get a job offer in a religious organization, or an organization affiliated with the religion in the US

How to Apply for the R-1 Visa?

To apply for this type of visa, you need a job offer from a religious organization recognized in the US. Your prospective employer must begin the process by filing Form I-129. After the petition has been processed, the applicant can apply following these steps:

Complete Application Form DS-160

You’re required to fill Form DS-160 with your personal information. After completing the form, print out the Form DS-160 confirmation page.

Pay for your Visa

You may be required to pay the non-refundable visa fee before or after your interview. The visa application fee for this type of visa is $190. Ensure you keep your receipt intact after making payments.

Schedule an Interview with US Consulate

If you’re above 13 years and below 80 years, you are required to schedule an interview with a US Consulate. Applicants below 13 years or above 79 years are not required to schedule an interview.

Compile the Required Documents

In Case you’re wondering what the R1 Visa required documents are, we made a list of the important documents. They include,

  • A passport
  • Your Visa application fee receipt
  • A photograph in accordance with the US visa Photo Requirements
  • Form DS-160 confirmation page
  • Your visa interview appointment letter
  •  I-129 petition receipt number 
  • Proof that you’re eligible for this kind of visa. This may include evidence that you have worked in the religious organization for the past 2 years.
  • Educational certificates
  • Proof that you will be compensated by the US employer
  • A Contract signed by the US employer

Go for your Interview

This is the last stage of the R-1 Visa Application. You are expected to attend an interview with a consular officer. Ensure you go with your I-129 petition receipt number to your interview. This will be used to confirm your petition’s approval.

How Long Does it Take To Process R-1 Visa?

After applying for the R-1 visa, you will have to wait for 6 months for your visa application to be processed. If you can’t wait for that long, you can request a premium processing by filing an I-907 which costs a $1,225 fee. If you pay for the premium processing, your visa will be available within 14 days

Can I Bring my Family with an R-1 Visa?

Spouses and children (under 21 years old) of R-1 visa holders can accompany them to the US, If they apply and are issued R-2 Visas

Validity of R-1 Visa

The validity of an R-1 Visa is 30 months. However, it can be extended for another 30 months. You’re expected to return to your home country after 60 months or apply for a green card.

Are You Interested in the R-1 Visa?

If you’re interested in the R-1 Visa, you should follow the instructions outlined in this article. Immigly.com is willing to answer all your questions and guide you in applying for the R-1 Visa. 

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