R Visa for Religious Worker

The temporary religious worker is divided into three categories of religious workers: 1) ministers; 2) professional workers in a religious vocation or occupation; and 3) "other workers" in a religious occupation or nonprofessional vocation.

This visa classification is overrun by specific definitions too broad to enumerate here in detail. However, suffice it to say that the application for an R visa must ensure that the foreigner meets the definitions as used by the Immigration Service in this category.
Any bona fide religious organization in the US may file for religious workers. The petitioner must qualify as well as the alien. The petitioner files a Form I-129 at the Immigration Service Center or application can be made at a US Consulate or Port of Entry for Canadians.

A nonimmigrant religious worker may be admitted to 1) carry on the vocation of a minister; 2) to work for a religious organization in a professional capacity; or 3) to work for a bona fide organization which is affiliated with the religious organization.

The period of admission cannot exceed three years. An extension of stay may be granted for an additional two years, not to exceed a total maximum stay of 5 years. If a different or additional unit of the same religious denomination seeking to employ the nonimmigrant religious worker must also file a Form I-129. The new employment cannot commence until approval is obtained from the Immigration Service.

A religious worker's spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 are entitled to R-2 classification but may not be employed.

The religious occupation or employment as a minister may also lead to permanent residency for the foreigner and her dependents. If the immigrant petition is approved, the alien can apply for adjustment of status in the US and not have to leave the country to process the application.

Visa requirements are highly complex, and many other rules apply. Let GoffWilson provide the timely advice and thorough expertise you need. Contact us Now.