R1 Visa

Learn About R1 Religious Worker Visa Requirements And Eligibility


The R1 visa is available to foreign members of religious denominations, having bona fide non-profit religious organizations in the U.S., for entering the U.S. to carry on the activities of a minister or religious worker as a profession, occupation or vocation.

Examples of persons in religious occupations include, but are not limited to, liturgical workers, religious instructors, religious counselors, cantors, catechists, workers in religious hospitals or religious healthcare facilities, missionaries, religious translators, or religious broadcasters. This group does not include janitors, maintenance workers, clerks, fundraisers, or persons involved solely in the solicitation of donations.

VisaPro’s experienced immigration attorneys will prepare and file all the required documents for religious workers and U.S. organizations applying for the R1 religious worker visa.

Check My Eligibility

R1 Visa Eligibility – It Is Suitable For:

  • Members of religious group or community having a bona fide nonprofit, religious organization in the U.S.
  • Foreign nationals coming to the U.S. to work solely as the minister of a religious group or community
  • Nonprofit religious organizations in the U.S. to employ foreign religious workers to work in religious vocations such as liturgical workers, religious instructors or cantors, catechists, missionaries, religious translators, or religious broadcasters

R1 Visa Benefits

  1. You do not have to maintain foreign residence and show intent to return to your home country while applying for the visa
  2. Your dependents can stay with you as long as you maintain your R1 status. They can also attend school
  3. You can freely travel in and out of the U.S. provided you have a valid visa
  4. You can obtain your visa from an American Consulate abroad with prior U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) approval

R1 Visa Requirements

A. Criteria For Determining Employer’s Eligibility

To be eligible for sponsoring an R1 visa, your employer must be a bona fide non-profit religious organization, which is exempt from taxation as described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 or a religious organization that has never sought such exemptions, but would otherwise be eligible for such status.

B. Criteria For Determining Religious Worker’s Eligibility

To qualify for the R1 visa, you must fulfill the following requirements:

  1. You must be a member of a religious denomination having a bona fide non-profit religious organization in the U.S.
  2. The religious denomination or the affiliate to which you belong is exempt from taxation, or the religious denomination qualifies for tax-exempt status
  3. You have been a member of the organization for at least two years immediately preceding your admission into the U.S.
  4. You plan to enter the U.S. solely to carry on the vocation of a minister of that denomination or at the request of the organization, you are entering the U.S. to work in a religious profession, occupation or vocation for the denomination or for an organization affiliated with the denominations
  5. You have resided and been physically present outside the U.S. for the immediate prior year if you have previously spent five years in the U.S. in the R1 classification
  6. You intend to leave the U.S. on completion of your authorized stay

R1 Visa Notes

  • To change the purpose of your visit while you are in the U.S. on a R1 religious worker visa, you must change your visa status.
  • The information provided here is applicable to New R1 Visa and R1 Extension.

R1 Visa Fees

Filing Fee – Regular $1615
Filing Fee – Premium $3,310
VisaPro Processing Time1 Week

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