Are you a member of the clergy or a key employee for a religious organization? Then the R-1 might be the right visa for you. With an R-1 Visa, religious workers can live and work in the U.S. temporarily.
Who qualifies for an R-1 Visa?
Priests, Rabbis, ministers, pastors, are a few examples. What is in common with all these individuals? They have a religious vocation- a calling to religious life, shown by a demonstration of a lifelong commitment.
Who are religious workers?
Religious workers may also apply for an R-1. Nuns, monks, and religious brothers and sisters are examples of religious workers. A religious occupation is defined as “a continual engagement in an activity related to a traditional religious function”. This definition includes liturgical workers, religious instructors or cantors, catechists, workers in religious hospitals, missionaries, religious translators and religious broadcasters.
Who may not apply for an R-1 Visa?
Janitors, maintenance workers, clerks, fund raisers or solicitors of donations. This group may not apply.
May family members join the R-1 visa holder into the United States?
Yes. The spouse and/or unmarried children under 21 years of age may be granted derivative status to enter the U.S. However, family members may not work. They may attend school up to the 12th grade (last year of high school).
What steps are required to obtain an R-visa?
The petitioning organization files an I-129 petition along with supporting documentation with the USCIS. Once the petition has been approved, the Beneficiary of the approved petition applies for the R-1Visa at the US Embassy or Consulate with jurisdiction overthe place of his/her permanent residence.
Can R-1 Status ever lead to Legal Permanent Residence and United States citizenship?
Yes, if your case is handled properly. I have helped many R-1 visa holders become legal permanent residents. It is a difficult process, but it does lead to legal permanent residence. After legal residence, you can actually become a United States citizen?
Should I handle this R-1 application process alone?
I do not recommend filing this application without the help of an immigration attorney with experience in filing many R-1 visa applications. There is simply too much at stake.