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R-1 Religious Visas

Posted by attorney Ryan Reppucci

An R-1 religious visa is a nonimmigrant visa which once granted permits a foreign national religious worker to enter the United States and perform duties of their religious occupation.

In order to qualify, an R-1 applicant must have worked in the religious field for a minimum of at least two years prior to submission. The applying parties religious occupation must likewise have a bone fide nonprofit religious organization or sec within the United States. In addition, to qualify for entry via a R-1 Visa, the applicant must be one of the following:

1) Minister of Religion;

2) Working in a professional capacity, either in a religious vocation or occupation; or

3) Other religious worker working in a religious occupation or in a religious vocation.

A person carrying a valid R-1 visa can engage in full time study within the United States, travel freely in and out of the United States, receive payment for services performed in the United States, apply for a green card, and apply for an R-2 dependent visa for a spouse or unmarried child under the age of twenty one (21).

Once a person receives entry into the United States via a R-1 Visa, they may stay in the United States for a period of thirty (30) months. Furthermore, an R-1 Visa can be extended by application for an additional period of thirty (30) months. Persons should be aware however that if they applied for and received a R-2 Visa for a dependent child, that child may not be permitted to stay lawfully in the United States once they reach the age of twenty one (21).

Once in the United States pursuant to a valid R-1 Visa, a holding party may change employment within their religious field as long as their new employer files and has approved a Form I-129.

For more information on this or other United States immigration issues, contact an experienced immigration law attorney or the experienced Phoenix, Arizona based immigration law firm of Ariano & Reppucci, PLLC.

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