R-1 Visas

The R-1 Visa is a religious based visa. It is designed for religious workers who are members of a U.S. religious organization for at least two years and wish to enter the United States for a period of five years or less. The R-1 Visa is valid for a period of three years and may be extended for an additional period of three years. There are many types of religious-based positions that may qualify for this type of visa. The most important factor is that the applicant must be working in a religious position.

It is helpful to note that ministers and priests are able to apply for permanent residency by way of a green card. Those who are spouses and children of R-1 visa applicants are eligible to attain an R-2 visa. This allows them to enter and remain in the United States. Children may attend school. However, those with R-2 visa status must obtain a work visa if they wish to get a job.
The R-1 Visa may be granted for one of the following purposes:

  • To perform activities of a minister of a specific religious denomination
  • To work for a religious organization in a professional capacity
  • To work for a religious organization in a religious occupation

There are some requirements for obtaining an R-1 Visa. An alien who has been a member of a religious denomination for a period of two years immediately prior to application may be admitted to the U.S. temporarily. The temporary period is not to exceed five years.