Search articles:
Schedule an appointment

R-1 Temporary Nonimmigrant Religious Workers

R visas

"Apsan Law Offices has been assisting religious organization bring in their religious workers and Obtain Green cards for  Special Immigrants Religious workers for the last 30 years.  Our experience can help your organization through this very complicated process."

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.

Eligibility Criteria

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 preceding the filing of the petition.

Every petition for an R-1 worker must be filed by a prospective or existing U.S. employer through the filing of a Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker.  An R-1 visa cannot be issued at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad without prior approval of Form I-129 by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).  If the foreign national is visa-exempt (e.g. Canadian), he or she must present the original Form I-797, Notice of Action, reflecting an approval of a valid I-129 R petition at a port of entry.  There are certain general requirements which must be satisfied by the petitioning organization as well as by the religious worker, the beneficiary of the petition.  These requirements are listed in the chart below.

The petitioning employer must submit Form I-129 including the R-1 Classification Supplement signed by the employer as well as the following supporting documents:

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 establishing that the organization is a tax-exempt organization
  • If the organization is recognized as tax-exempt under a group tax-exemption, provide a group ruling
  • If the organization is affiliated with the religious denomination, provide:
    • A currently valid determination letter from the IRS;
    • Documentation that establishes the religious nature and purpose of the organization;
    • Organizational literature; and
    • A religious denomination certification, which is part of the R-1 Classification Supplement to Form I-129 (see the links to the right).

 Proof of salaried or non-salaried compensation

  • Verifiable evidence of how the organization intends to compensate the religious worker, including specific monetary or in-kind compensation.  Evidence of compensation may include:
    • Past evidence of compensation for similar positions
    • Budgets showing monies set aside for salaries, leases, etc.
    • Evidence that room and board will be provided to the religious worker
    • If IRS documentation, such as IRS Form W-2 or certified tax returns, is available, it must be provided
    • If IRS documentation is not available, an explanation for its absence must be provided, along with comparable, verifiable documentation

 If the religious worker will be self-supporting

  • Documents that establish 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
  • Evidence that establishes that the organization has an established program for temporary, uncompensated missionary work in which:
    • Foreign workers, whether compensated or uncompensated, have previously participated in R-1 status;
    • Missionary workers are traditionally uncompensated;
    • The organization provides formal training for missionaries; and
    • Participation in such missionary work is an established element of religious development in that denomination.
  • Evidence that establishes that the organization’s religious denomination maintains missionary programs both in the United States and abroad
  • Evidence of the religious worker’s acceptance into the missionary program
  • Evidence of the duties and responsibilities associated with this traditionally uncompensated missionary work
  • Copies of the religious worker’s bank records, budgets documenting the sources of self-support (including personal or family savings, room and board with host families in the United States, donations from the denomination’s churches), or other verifiable evidence acceptable to USCIS

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 preceding the filing of Form I-129

If the religious worker will be working as a minister, provide:

  • A copy of the religious worker’s certificate of ordination or similar documents
  • Documents reflecting acceptance of the religious worker’s qualification as a minister in the religious denomination, as well as evidence that the religious worker has completed any course of prescribed theological education at an accredited theological institution normally required or recognized by that religious denomination.  Include transcripts, curriculum, and documentation that establishes that the theological institution is accredited by the denomination
  • If the denominations do not require a prescribed theological education, provide:
    • The religious denomination’s requirements for ordination to minister
    • A list of duties performed by virtue of ordination
    • The denomination’s levels of ordination, if any, and
    • Evidence of the religious worker’s completion of the denomination’s requirements for ordination

Proof of previous R-1 employment (for extension of stay as an R-1)

  • If you received salaried compensation, provide IRS documentation that you received a salary, such as an IRS Form W-2 or certified copies of filed income tax returns reflecting such work and compensation for the previous R-1 employment
  • If you received non-salaried compensation:
    • If IRS documentation is available, provide IRS documentation of the non-salaried compensation
    • If IRS documentation is not available, provide an explanation for the absence of IRS documentation and verifiable evidence of all financial support, including stipends, room and board, or other support for you with a description of the location where you lived, a lease to establish where you lived, or other evidence acceptable to USCIS
  • If you received no salary but provided for your own support and that of any dependents, provide verifiable documents to show how support was maintained, such as audited financial statements, financial institution records, brokerage account statements, trust documents signed by an attorney, or other evidence acceptable to USCIS

 

 

Period of Stay

An R-1 status may be granted for an initial period of admission for up to 30 months.  An extension of an R-1 status may be granted for up to an additional 30 months.  The total stay in the United States in an R-1 status cannot exceed 60 months (5 years).

Family of R-1 Visa Holders

R-1 worker’s spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 may be eligible for R-2 classification.  The dependents of an R-1 worker may not accept employment while in the United States in R-2 status.

Green Cards

For information about petitioning for a permanent immigrant religious worker.



Last updated: 11/03/2009


Articles related to this topic

  • FAQ - Final Religious Worker Rule

  • Videos related
    Author
    Moses Apsan and his staff, based in New York City and Newark, NJ provide exceptional legal services throughout the world, in all aspects of immigration to the United States, including non-immigrant (temporary visas), immigrant visa (Green Card) and deportation defense. In addition Mr. Apsan, has been practicing Bankruptcy law and Divorce laws for over 30 years, He was the President of the Federal Bar Association, New Jersey Chapter (1997-2002). He speaks Portuguese and Spanish..
    Click-to-Call us

    Use our automated
    Click-to-call to contact Apsan Law Offices, LLC. or
    call directly at
    1(877) 873-8510

    Click to call immigration lawyers


    nj immigration lawyers
    PayPal
    Consultation
    Sign up

    Immigration news
    If Ronald Reagan were alive today, he probably would have cringed when he realized that his own party, the Republican Party, has been blocking the way for a comprehensive immigration reform. A law...
    President Obama is angry. Following a year of trying to convince Congress to pass an immigration reform law, President Obama vented his fury today in a scorching White House speech, saying it's ti...
    June 4, 2014 - É possível uma ordem executiva prestar socorro imediato a determinadas disposições das leis draconianas em vigor daimigração, mesmo enquanto se...
    June 4, 2014 - É possível uma ordem executiva prestar socorro imediato a determinadas disposições das leis draconianas em vigor daimigração, mesmo enquanto se...
    When an immigration case has run its’ course and the alien has not violated the terms of the bond, ICE cancels the immigration bond. Once this is done, ICE notifies the Debt Management Cente...
    June 6, 2014 - Washington D.C. On this day, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) informed the public of its’ new renewal system for the many thousands of youths who were gr...
    The multinational company, TelexFREE, recently shut down in Brazil is being investigated by the Secretary of the State  in Massachusetts, triggered by TelexFree’s filing for federal ban...
    This past Monday, Multinational company, TelexFree, filed for bankruptcy protection in a federal court in Nevada. The next day FBI and Homeland Security agents raided the company’s offi...
    The Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), has made available an immigration courts’ 800 Phone Number, which allows anyone to obtain information about their case though its automate...
    While Congress languishes on agreement to comprehensive immigration reform, a pro-immigration movement is sweeping the individual states. According to NCSL report for 2013, 184 laws were enacted a...
      CALABASAS, Calif. It seems that the more famous you are, the greater the chance of screwing up. Such is the case of Justin Bieber, a Canadian citizen, who is facing felony charges for alle...
    Immigration reform has been the perennial Ping-Pong in Congressional politics. Democrats are constantly on the march for comprehensive immigration laws, while ((Republican fear the word comprehensive,...
    Thousands of intending immigrants apply for U.S. residency every year. As part of the process, each applicant must have their fingerprint taken and processed through many agencies, such as the FBI, In...
    Attaining equality for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community has been a pressing civil rights issue created by our malfunctioning immigration system. The problem is heightene...
    Source: apsanlaw.com After weeks of contentious debate all 52 Democrats, as well as 14 Conservatives and two independents were responsible for the passage of the Senate Bill S.744, a landmark imm...
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has approved the statutory maximum 10,000 petitions for U-1 nonimmigrant status (U visas) for fiscal year 2014. This marks th...