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R Visa

R Visa (Religious Workers)

The R visa allows religious workers to come to the U.S temporarily to work in religious occupations. Examples of R visa religious workers are monks, nuns, missionaries, and religious brothers and sisters.

R visa requirements: 

  • the religious worker must have been a member of a religious denomination having a non-profit religious organization in the U.S. for at least 2 years immediately preceding the filing of the R-1 visa application,
  • the petitioning U.S. organization must be a non-profit religious organization that is tax exempt, or one that would be tax exempt if it had applied,
  • the religious worker must enter the U.S. to pursue religious vocation or occupation, and
  • prove that there are sufficient funds to support the religious worker’s financial needs without recourse to employment other than the religious work for which the visa is granted.

The R-1 visa is usually issued for 3 years with an option of one 2 year extension. Dependents such as spouse and children (under 21 years old) of R visa religious worker are also entitled to R-2 visa. While dependents may become students in the U.S, they may not be employed.


R Visa Application Process

The application process for the R visa includes the sponsor and/or applicant filing a petition with the USCIS. The application waiting period will fluctuate but in general, is several months. The USCIS offers an option for premium processing. For a $1,000 fee, the USCIS will process the petition in 15 days.

Our experienced attorneys work with the sponsor and/or applicant to submit the most complete and thorough petition, which emphasizes the applicant’s education, qualifications, and experience. In addition, our attorneys know the processes and procedures to work with various government agencies to ensure the best possible outcome.