Religious Workers (R's)
R-1 Visa News:
Temporary Religious Workers (R-1) Employer Information Bulletin 18 (August 8, 2003)
The R-1 classification applies to a religious worker. This is an alien coming to the U.S. temporarily to work:
As a minister of religion;
As a professional in a religious vocation or occupation, or
For a bona fide nonprofit religious organization at the request of the organization, in a religious occupation which relates to a
traditional religious function.
The applicant (religious worker) must have been a member of a religious denomination having a nonprofit religious organization in
the United States for at least the two years immediately prior to the application date. To be eligible, the U.S. petitioning
organization must be a nonprofit religious organization granted (or eligible for) tax exempt status, and must demonstrate that it
can and will provide for all of the R-1 beneficiary's financial and physical needs. If the alien is outside the U.S., he or she may
apply directly to a consulate for an R visa. If visa exempt, the alien may apply at a port of entry.
If the alien is inside the U.S., the religious organization may petition for a change of status, extension of stay, or change of
Dependents (spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age) of R-1 workers are entitled to R-2 status with the same
restrictions as the principal. Dependents may be students in the U.S., but may not be employed under the R-2 classification. Note:
Dependents should file for a change of status or extension of stay (Application to Extend/change Nonimmigrant Status).
Petition Document Requirements
The petition may be filed by an authorized official of the U.S. organization and must be filed with:
A written statement from an authorized official of the religious organization that will be employing the alien establishing
that the alien has been a member of the denomination for the required two years;
a description of the proposed position, and that the alien is qualified for the position;
the arrangements, if any, for salary, benefits, and other compensation;
the name and location of the place the alien will provide the services;
the organization's affiliation with the denomination;
(note: if the alien is to be employed, the USCIS requires that this letter be from the organizational unit responsible for maintaining
Evidence showing that the religious organization or any affiliate which will engage the alien's services is a bona fide nonprofit,
religious organization in the U.S. and is exempt from taxation in accordance with section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of
How Can I Check the Status of My Application?
Click on the menu button to the left, labeled "Check Case Status" and enter your file number.