R-1 visa classification is intended for foreign religious workers whose lives are dedicated to religious practices and functions who seek admission to the United States for temporary employment in their religious capacity.
To qualify for an R-1 visa, a foreign national 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. The applicant’s prospective U.S employer must be:A non-profit religious organization in the United States;
- A religious organization that is authorized by a group tax exemption holder to use its group tax exemption; or
- A non-profit religious organization which is affiliated with a religious denomination in the United States.
R-1 status is initially granted for a period of admission for up to 30 months with subsequent extensions available for up to 30 additional months. Total periods of stay in the United States in R-1 classification may not exceed five years (60 months).
R-1 is a non-immigration visa classification which means that religious workers must maintain their intent to depart the United States when their nonimmigrant stay expires. However, under the doctrine of “dual intent,” USCIS may not deny a non-immigrant petition, application for admission, change of status or extension fo stay to an R-1 applicant who has concurrently file or been approved for an immigrant visa petition.
Foreign religious workers who do not otherwise qualify for R-1 classification may be allowed to enter the United States as B-1 business visitors. Similarly, foreign members of religious denominations seeking temporary admission to the United States for brief periods may be eligible to be admitted as B-1 business visitors if their activities are allowed under the B-1 nonimmigrant visitor category. Finally, foreign religious workers who wish to reside permanently in the U.S may be eligible to apply for EB-4 visa classification.
Contact a Skilled Business Immigration Lawyer for More Information*
Gold Law Group assists clients with a wide variety of business-related immigration matters including R-1 visas. If you are a foreign religious worker interested in applying for an R-1 visa, or if you are a U.S employer wishing to file an R-1 visa petition on behalf of a prospective foreign religious worker, please call 323.394.1281 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.
*Please read important legal notice below