Ministers and individuals working for religious organizations in religious vocations or occupations may qualify for the R-1 visa.
To qualify for the issuance of an R-1 visa, the religious institution must be a nonprofit organization; have a branch, office or other presence in the U.S.; and consist of a bona fide and currently operating religious domination. Also, the sponsoring organization should be tax-exempt under U.S. tax laws in accordance with IRC Sec.501(c)(3).
The applicant must have been a member of the religious denomination at least two years immediately preceding the application for the R-1 visa, but need not to have prior work experience with the specific religious organization. (However, applicants with at least two years of related work experience may be eligible for an immigrant visa/permanent residence in the U.S.) The organization for which the applicant will work must offer employment, disclose the terms of employment and demonstrate applicant’s qualifications for the R-1 status. In addition, an authorized official of the religious organization must provide a statement establishing applicant’s membership in the religious denomination.
The R-1’s spouses and children are qualified for the R-2 status.