R-1 Visa for Religious Workers

R-1 visa is issued to aliens who are ministers or religious workers who come temporarily to the U.S. to carry on the activity of a religious worker. The main purpose of their visit is to solely carry on the vocation of a minister or the religious denomination; work for the religious organization at the request of the organization in a professional capacity, or to work for the organization, or a bona fide organization which is affiliated with the religious denomination, at the request of the organization in a religious vocation or occupation.

Length of Stay and Extension. The total period of stay for R-1 visa is 5 years. The R-1 worker is initially granted a stay of 3 years, with the eligibility of applying for extension of stay for another 2 years, up to a maximum period of stay of 5 years. After having spent 5 years in the U.S., the R-1 worker must reside physically outside the U.S. for 1 year before s/he can be readmitted under the same category. However, brief visit to the U.S. for business or pleasure (B-1/B-2) is allowed.

Distinction Between R-1 and EB-4 Ministers & Religious Workers. R-1 category of religious worker is a nonimmigrant visa which authorizes only certain limited period of stay in the U.S. EB-4 Religious Worker is an employment-based fourth preference immigrant category, qualified aliens under which will receive permanent residence status (green card) in the U.S. Click EB-4 Immigrant Visa for Ministers & Religious Worker for more information of this category.

Family Members (spouse/children). They can accompany or follow to join the R-1 worker with R-2 visa. They cannot work without authorization.