R1 Visa

The R1 (“Religious Organization Worker”) visa is a specialist US Visa that enables foreigners who work in religious organizations to come to the United States in order to perform duties in line with their religious occupation.

The requirements of the R1 are quite straightforward:

  1. The applicant must be a minister of religion who is currently working in a religious vocation or occupation (whether paid or unpaid).
  2. The applicant must prove that they have been a member of a bona fide non-profit religious organization for two years prior to application.
Photo of Religious Workers

Benefits and Conditions of the R1 Visa

  • Duration: The Initial visa may be granted for up to 30 months (2.5 years).
    • One extension may be added for an additional 30 months (2.5 years), making a maximum total stay in the U.S. of up to 5 years.
  • Payment: The holder is entitled to get paid for the services they carry out, but only from the organization through which the R1 visa was originally obtained.
  • Study: The R1 holder may participate in full-time study in the U.S.
    • As below, this also applies to dependents accompanying the R1 holder (under a R2 dependent visa).
  • Travel: Holder may travel freely within and outside the United States.
  • Green Card: It is permitted to apply for permanent residency while in the U.S. under an R1.
  • Dependents: Legal spouse and/or unmarried children under 21 years of age may apply for the R2 dependent visa.
    • R2 visa holders may study either part-time or full-time.
    • Dependents may not work under an R2 visa (employment requires qualification for working visa).

Attorney Tips for R1 Applicants

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Alternatives to the R1 Visa

R1 applicants who intend to apply for permanent residency in the United States may also consider the EB4 Green Card.

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