R1 Visa Process

Learn About R1 Visa Application Process And Documents Checklist

Applying For The R1 Visa

You can apply for the R1 religious worker visa at the American Consulate with jurisdiction over your place of permanent residence. Your R1 religious visa application must include:

Check My Eligibility

A. DOS Form DS-156, Nonimmigrant Visa Application

B. DOS Form DS-157, Supplemental Nonimmigrant Visa Application, for all male applicants between the ages of 16 and 45

C. A copy of your passport which is valid for at least six months beyond the period of stay in the U.S. and with at least one blank page

D. Two identical color photographs showing full face without head covering against a light background. You may wear a headdress if required by a religious order of which you are a member

E. Copies of previous passports held by you

F. Proof of U.S. religious organization’s tax-exempt status or eligibility for tax-exempt status

G. A letter from an authorized official of the specific unit of the employing religious organization certifying that:

1. The foreign and U.S. religious organizations belong to the same religious denomination if your religious membership was maintained, in whole or in part, outside the U.S.

2. Immediately prior to the application for the R1 visa, you have been a member of the religious denomination for the required two-year period

3. You are authorized to conduct religious worship for that denomination if you are a minister

4. You have at least a baccalaureate degree or equivalent, and that such a degree is required to enter into the religious profession, or

5. You are qualified to work in a non-professional occupation, if the type of work to be done relates to a traditional religious function

6. The arrangements for remuneration, including the amount and source of salary, other types of compensation such as food and housing, and any other benefits to which a monetary value may be fixed, and a statement whether such remuneration shall be in exchange for services rendered

7. The name and location of the specific organizational unit of the religious denomination or affiliate for which you will be providing services

8. If you are to work for an organization which is affiliated with a religious denomination, the nature of the relationship between the two organizations is described

H. Evidence of the religious organization’s assets and methods of operation

I. The religious organization’s papers of entity formation under applicable state laws

Duration of Stay

You may stay in the U.S. for a maximum period of five years. The initial period of stay is 30 months, with an option to extend status for an additional 30 months. Once you have been in the U.S. for five years on R1 status, you can obtain R1 status again after remaining outside the U.S. for at least one year before reapplying.

Spouse and Children

Spouses and/or children under the age of 21 who wish to accompany or join you in the U.S. for the duration of your stay can apply for a dependent R2 visa.

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