The R-1 Visa is a work visa for Temporary Nonimmigrant Religious Workers. This visa is intended for foreign nationals who will be entering the United States on a temporary basis for the purpose of working in a non-profit religious occupation, such as a minister. Applicants must be working a minimum of part-time, or at least 20 hours a week.

Applicants for R-1 Visas include:

  • Ministers: Applicants who are affiliated with a recognized religious denomination to perform acts of worship within the religion.
  • Professional Workers: Individuals who would like to work in a religious occupation or vocation and have a US Bachelor’s degree or the foreign equivalent of a US Bachelor’s degree.
  • Other Religious Workers: Applicants who are already employed or who have been offered employment in a religious vocation or occupation.

Complete information pertaining to R-1 Visa requirements can be found here.

R-1 Requirements

Foreign applicants who are applying for the R-1 Green Card must meet the following requirements:

  • Have an offer for employment from a US employer for a position that is at least part-time, or a minimum of 20 hours a week.
  • An affiliation with a religious group that has a bona fide non-profit, tax-exempt, religious status in the UN. That affiliation must be held for a minimum of 2 years prior to filing an application.
  • Entering the US for the sole purpose of serving as a minister or in another religious vocation or occupation.
  • The work duties of the applicant must primarily be related to the creed of the religious organization that he or she is affiliated with; additionally, the work must be recognized as an occupation or vocation within the applicant’s religious denomination.

R-1 Visa Costs

The total costs to apply for an R-1 Visa will vary and are dependent on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the US Embassy in the applicant’s country of origin.

Foreign applicants can expect to pay for the following:

  • USCIS Form I-129, Petition for Non immigrant Worker filing fee

R-1 Process

The process for obtaining an R-1 Green Card includes the following:

  1. Submission of Form I-129, Petition for Non-immigrant Worker, which must be filed by a prospective or existing US employer.
  2. The applicant’s employer must submit the filling fees, including any biometric service fees that may be required.
  3. The applicant’s employer must submit evidence on behalf of the R-1 worker that Form I-129 requires.
  4. The applicant’s employer must submit duplicate copies to the USCIS.
  5. The applicant’s employer must sign and file Form I-129.

Note: Workers who are Visa exempt are required to present their original Form I-797, Noticae of Action, at a US port of entry, as this serves as evidence that an I-129 petition has been approved.

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