R visas are a kind of non immigrant, temporary work visa whereby people who have been offered jobs as religious workers are allowed to remain in the United States. Ministers, monks, priests, rabbis and imams are just a few of the kinds of religious workers who may qualify under this kind of non-immigrant, short-term visa. Of course, if you feel that you may qualify for this special visa, you should consult with an attorney as you should in all matters related to immigration. There are special procedures that you must follow and deadlines that must be met. Here are few details about this program, how to qualify and the documents you may need.
What are the Requirements for an R-1 Visa?
The requirements for an R-1 visa are very specific. In order to qualify you must:
- Be employed at least 20 hours per week
- Be a member of a religious denomination and belong to a non-profit, tax exempt origination within the United States for at least 2 years.
- Be coming to the U.S. expressly to begin a religious occupation.
- Have been a member of a religious denomination for at least 2 years before applying for an R-1 visa.
- Your job duties must pertain to carrying out the religious organization’s creed.
How to Apply
As we said, there are many complicated steps involved in applying for this special visa. Just one mistake from your employer – he or she must apply for this document – and your application can end up being rejected. However, these are the general steps for applying for the R-1 Visa:
- Complete the Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker:
- Submit the Filing Fee(s):
- Submit supporting documents:
- Submit duplicate copies of the Form I-129:
- Sign and File the Form I-129:
What Type of Documentation Will You Need to Provide?
The evidence that should be included with your R-1 Visa is as follows:
- A letter from the IRS showing that the organization is a tax exempt religious body
- Documentation establishing the religious nature and purpose of the organization
- A religious denomination certification stating that the petitioning organization is affiliated with the religious denomination
You should consult with an immigration lawyer in Van Nuys to see what other documents you may need to help the USCIS make a determination. An immigration attorney in Ventura County will be able to make a personal analysis of your eligibility.