R-1 Religious Worker Visa

What is it?

The R-1 visa allows foreign nationals to be temporarily employed in the United States as a minister or in a religious occupation. It is intended for religious workers whose lives are dedicated to religious practices and functions.

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To qualify for an R-1 visa, the following criteria must be met:

  • Employment must be at least 20 hours per week
  • The petitioner must be a non-profit religious organization in the United States with either authorized tax exemption status or which is affiliated with a religious denomination in the United States
  • The beneficiary must have been a member of a religious denomination having a bona fide non-profit religious organization in the United States for at least two years immediately before the filing of the petition

Religious occupations are defined as occupations whose duties must:

  • A recognized common creed or statement of faith shared among the denomination’s members
  • A common form of worship
  • A common formal code of doctrine and discipline
  • Common religious services and ceremonies
  • Common established places of religious worship or religious congregations, or
  • Comparable indicia of a bona fide religious denomination

Visas for R-1 Dependents

R-1 visa holders can bring their spouses and minor children under 21 to the United States under dependent visas.