Religious Visa R1 Visa for Religious Workers and R2 Visa for Dependents
The R1 visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows religious workers (ministers and persons working in the religious vocation or occupation) to work in the U.S. for a period up to 5 years and eventually apply for a green card for permanent residence.
Religious workers include ministers of religion who are authorized by a recognized denomination to conduct religious worship and to perform other duties usually performed by members of the clergy, such as administering the sacraments, or their equivalent. The term does not apply to lay preachers.
The R visa may be available for the following individuals
A recognized religious denomination must have authorized the candidate to conduct religious worship and to perform other duties usually performed by authorized members of the clergy of that religion. Licenses, ordination certificates, formal letter of conferral, etc. can serve as the evidence of such qualifications. Officers of the Salvation Army, deacons, and practitioners of Christian Science may also be considered ministers.
Workers in a Religious Vocation or Occupation Includes the Following 2 Types of Workers:
Professional Workers are the persons that want to work in a religious vocation or occupation that requires a U.S. bachelor degree or its foreign equivalent.
Other Religious Workers are the persons that are working in a religious vocation or occupation.
A religious vocation means a calling to religious life, evidenced by the demonstration of a lifelong commitment, such as taking vows. Examples include nuns, monks, and religious brothers and sisters.
A religious occupation means a habitual engagement in an activity which relates to a traditional religious function. Examples include liturgical workers, religious instructors or cantors, catechists, workers in religious hospitals, missionaries, religious translators, or religious broadcasters.
It does not include janitors, maintenance workers, clerks, fundraisers, solicitors of donations, or similar occupations. The activity of a lay-person who will be engaged in a religious occupation must relate to a traditional religious function: i.e., the activity must embody the tenets of the religion and have religious significance, relating primarily, if not exclusively, to matters of the spirit as they apply to the religion.