R-1 Visa

What is the R-1 Visa?

An R-1 visa is issued to foreign nationals who plan to enter the United States for employment as a minister or in another religious vocation or occupation. To qualify, the foreign national must have been a member of a religious denomination which has a bona fide non-profit religious organization in the United States for a least two years before the application can be filed.

Who is Eligible for an R-1 Visa?

An individual may be eligible for an R-1 Visa if:

  • They are a member of a religious denomination which has had a bona fide non-profit status as a religious organization for at least two years;
  • The religious denomination and its affiliate are exempt from taxation, or they qualify for tax-exempt status;
  • They have been a member of the denomination for the two years preceding the filing of the application;
  • They want to enter the United States for the sole reason of being a minister of that denomination, or they are entering the U.S. in order to work in a religious vocation or occupation for the denomination.

What is the Process of Applying for an L-1 Visa?

To initiate the process of an L-1 Visa application, the applicant would first need to submit Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker to the USCIS. This form is to be filled out by the applicant or their employer. After Form I-129 is filed along with all supporting documentation, the applicant would need to visit their nearest U.S. Embassy for an interview in order to receive their visa.

How Long Does an R-1 Visa Last?

An R-1 visa may be granted for an initial period of up to 30 months. The visa may be extended for 30 month periods but overall, the R-1 holder may not exceed a total time of 60 months in the United States. Only time spent in the United States is counted towards the 60 months.

Family of R-1 Visa Holders

The spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 may be considered eligible for an R-2 visa classification. R-2 dependents are not permitted to work in the United States.

There is a substantial amount of documentation which must accompany the applicant’s paperwork. For this reason, it may be wise to consult with an immigration lawyer to ensure that the application is in good order before it is sent. Consider setting up a consultation with an immigration attorney at Gilles Law, PLLC. You can reach us at 980-272-8438 at our office in Uptown Charlotte. We are here to assist with your inquiries.

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