R-1 Religious Visas

R-1 Religious VisaR-1 Religious Visa is meant for foreign nationals who want to enter US for undertaking religious services and serve as a religious worker in a religious community on a temporary basis. It is necessary for the applicant to have served a religious denomination for at least two years immediately proceeding the time of application for admission. The organization served must be a non-profit religious organization and the applicant must be coming to serve the organization at a request made by the same organization.

Eligibility criterion for R-1 Religious Visa:

In order to be eligible for applying for the R-1 Religious Visa, the applicant has to qualify by fulfilling the following requirements –

  1. The applicant will need to be a Minister of a religion that he follows.
  2. The religious denomination that you work for must be a non-profit organization. The organization should be purely into the practice of religious teachings and preaching which does not charge for any of its services.
  3. The organization must be exempted from tax and must be a qualified one to enjoy the tax-exempt status.
  4. The applicant needs to be the member of the organization for two years before he can apply for this visa.
  5. The applicant will need to prove that he plan to enter the US solely to carry on the vocation of a minister of that denomination or at the request of the organization; that he is entering the US to work in a religious profession, occupation or vocation for the denomination or for an organization affiliated with the denominations.
  6. You have to place your intent to leave US immediately after the completion of your visa validity.

Documents required for the R-1 Religious Visa:

  1. Form I-129 signed and filled up visa application along with all the necessary specific documents.
  2. US employer will need to present a proof, in the form of bank statements, that he is capable of expending on the applicant.
  3. Any letter deemed as recommendation which could support the application made.
  4. Evidence that the applicant is qualified for the work designated in the U.S.
  5. All the documents which can prove the financial backing must be presented.

Processing the application:

The applicant must file his application along with all the necessary documents to the nearest US Embassy. In case the applicant wants to directly apply to the US Consulate he can do so but the application may take more time in processing when compared to the time taken by the center present within the region of residence. As part of the visa application process, an interview at the embassy consular section is required for visa applicants between the ages of 14 through 79, with few exceptions. Children less than 14 years of age and elders more than 80 years of age need not to take an interview unless not made necessary by the US Embassy itself. The time and date of interview will be scheduled for the applicant but he may have to wait for few weeks or months for the interview to take up. R-1 Religious Visa is issued for the period of three years initially but the applicant can apply for the extension which is allowed for the period of two years.


For assistance with R-1 Religious Visas, please consult with the immigration lawyers of