R visas are for individuals classified as “religious workers” including ministers, missionaries, monks, nuns, priests, rabbis, imams, clergy, religious instructors, religious translators, and religious broadcasters to temporarily work in the United States in furtherance of their faith for a U.S. religious organization that has been granted 501(c)(3) status by the Internal Revenue Service. In addition, spouses and unmarried children under 21 of these individuals may also be eligible for R visas.
R-1 visas are issued for the religious worker, and R-2 visas are for accompanying dependents. The majority of the religious worker’s intended work in the United States must involve furthering the religion’s mission and purpose, and not primarily of an administrative or support nature.
To be able to qualify for an R visa, the religious worker must have been a member of the religion for at least two years prior to filing a visa application. An R visa holder may reside in the United States up to five years in this status.
The religious organization must file the R visa application on behalf of the religious worker, including supporting documentation.
Spouses and unmarried children (under the age of 21) of R-1 religious workers may apply for R-2 derivative visas to accompany the R-1 visa holder for as long as the religious worker is legally in the United States. The R-2 visa allows for study at schools and colleges in the United States, but does not include work authorization.
An R visa holder may qualify for U.S. permanent residence (green card) after two years. The religious worker’s dependents may also qualify for permanent residence. The religious organization must file the immigrant petition on behalf of the beneficiary. A religious worker who has already been employed for two years in that capacity outside the United States may qualify to apply directly for permanent residence/green card rather than the temporary R visa.
Moro Legal, LLC, assists individuals and religious organizations through all steps of the R visa process. Contact us today to get started.
The content of this website is for general informational purposes only and is not a replacement for legal advice. Immigration law is a complex area of law that is constantly changing and this website cannot cover every facet of the law. Every case is different, and all individuals and businesses should consult with an immigration lawyer prior to filing any petition or application.