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R-1 & R-2 Visas
R-1 religious workers may come to work temporarily in a religious profession, vocation or occupation for a tax-exempt U.S. religious organization in the same faith and denomination of which that worker has been an active member for at least the past 2 years.
Under a rule published on Nov. 26, 2008, the U.S. religious organization must file a visa petition with USCIS even if the religious worker is abroad. R-1 religious workers and their dependents may no longer apply for the R visas directly at an Embassy without an approved petition, and all R-1 visa applications must be based on an approved petition. Initial admission in R-1 status is for thirty months, and the maximum period of stay allowed in R visa status is 5 years.
Proof of the U.S. petitioner’s non-profit status as a tax-exempt religious organization is required, and proof of the offered compensation must be included with the petition – all R-1 non-immigrants must receive compensation in the form of either salary or room and board, unless they are coming to the U.S. to work as missionaries as part of an established, international missionary service program within their religious denomination, in which case evidence of that program must be provided, along with evidence of how they will be supported during their stay in the U.S. R-2 visas are available to dependent spouses and minor children, who are ineligible to work.
If you are in need of an R-1 religious worker visa, feel free to contact Karin Wolman today!