R-1 Visa: Religious Workers

The R-1 visa is available to foreign nationals working in a professional capacity for a religious organization.  The R-1 can be a minister or other type of religious leader, but other religious workers are eligible for R-1 visas as well.  In order to qualify, the position must serve a religious function.   Additionally, an R-1 must be a member of a religious denomination for at least two years prior to filing the visa application.

The religious organization does not necessarily need to be a church or house of worship.  However, some factors that will be considered in determining whether the organization qualifies as a religious one is whether there is an ecclesiastical form of government, a creed and form of worship, a formal code of doctrine and principles, and religious services.

R-1s can be admitted initially for up to 3 years, and are permitted to extend their status for an additional 2 years.