R-1 Temporary Nonimmigrant Religious Workers
An R-1 is a foreign national who is coming to the United States temporarily to be employed at least part time (average of at least 20 hours per week) by a non-profit religious organization in the United States (or an organization which is affiliated with the religious denomination in the United States) to work as a minister or in a religious vocation or occupation.
To qualify, the 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 2 years immediately before the filing of the petition.
A prospective or existing U.S. employer must file Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, on behalf of an R-1 worker. An R-1 visa cannot be issued at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad without prior USCIS approval of Form I-129. Visa exempt workers must present the original Form I-797, Notice of Action, at a port of entry as evidence of an approved I-129 R petition.
Submit Duplicate Copies Reminder:
Please remember to submit a duplicate copy of the petition and all supporting documents if the beneficiary will be applying for an R-1 visa. Failure to submit a duplicate copy to USCIS with the Form I-129 may result in a delay in the issuance of a nonimmigrant visa abroad from the U.S. Department of State.
Both the petitioning organization and the religious worker must satisfy certain requirements, which are listed in the chart below.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]
|Supporting Documents Required for the Religious Organization||Supporting Documents Required for the Religious Worker|
|Proof of tax-exempt status
• If the religious organization has its own individual IRS 501(c)(3) letter, provide a currently valid determination letter from the IRS showing that the organization is tax-exempt
1. A currently valid determination letter from the IRS showing that the organization is tax exempt;
Proof of salaried or non-salaried compensation
• Verifiable evidence showing how the organization will compensate the religious worker, including specific monetary or in-kind compensation. Evidence of compensation may include:
1. Past evidence of compensation for similar positions;
• Documents that show the religious worker will hold a position that is part of an established program for temporary, uncompensated missionary work, which is part of a broader international program of missionary work sponsored by the denomination
1. Compensated or uncompensated foreign workers previously held R-1 status;
• Evidence showing that the organizations religious denomination maintains missionary programs both in the United States and abroad
Copies of the religious workers bank records or budgets documenting the sources of self-support. This may include, but is not limited to, personal or family savings, room and board with host families in the United States, donations from the denominations churches, or other verifiable evidence
Proof of membership
• Evidence that the religious worker is a member of a religious denomination having a bona fide non-profit religious organization in the United States for at least 2 years immediately before the filing of Form I-129
If the religious worker will be working as a minister, provide:
• A copy of the religious workers certificate of ordination or similar documents
1. The religious denominations requirements for ordination to minister;
• If the religious worker received salaried compensation, provide IRS documents that show he or she received a salary. This may include, but is not limited to, Form W-2 or certified copies of filed income tax returns reflecting such work and compensation for the previous R-1 employment
1. If IRS documents are available, provide IRS documentation of the non-salaried compensation; or
• If the religious worker received no salary but supported him or herself and any dependents, provide verifiable documents to show how support was maintained. This may include, but is not limited to, audited financial statements, financial institution records, brokerage account statements, trust documents signed by an attorney, or other evidence
Period of Stay
USCIS may grant R-1 status for an initial period of admission for up to 30 months. Subsequent extensions may be granted for up to an additional 30 months. The religious workers total period of stay in the United States in R-1 classification cannot exceed 5 years (60 months).
USCIS counts only time spent physically in the United States in valid R-1 status toward the maximum period of stay. See the related policy memo for details.
Family of R-1 Visa Holders
An R-1 religious workers spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 may be eligible for R-2 classification. An R-2 dependent is not authorized to accept employment based on this visa classification.
For the ability to get permanent resident visas contact the Hassonjee Law Firm.