SPIRITUAL ENLIGHTENMENT AND U.S. IMMIGRATION: Understanding the Religious Visa (R Visa).


Could a religious visa help me and my family immigrate to the United States?

Religious or R visas are a type of work visa offered to immigrants who will work in the religious field. For qualifying immigrants and their families, a religious visa may provide the right path for entering the U.S. R visas have strict requirements and anyone looking to enter the U.S. on a religious visa should seek the help of an experienced immigration attorney.

Requirements for the R Visa:

With an R visa, a religious worker will be allowed to legally work in the U.S. for their R visa sponsor. The sponsor can file a visa petition with the immigration authorities. Once the employer has successfully applied for their initial R visa, subsequent visas will typically be issued in a timely manner. R visas are granted for an initial period of 36 months, with extensions up to five years and generally visa holders are allowed to travel outside of the country. A spouse and unmarried child under the age of 21 may accompany the primary religious visa holder, but will not be permitted to work in the U.S.

Qualifying for an R-1 Nonimmigrant Religious Worker Visa:

R-1 visas are available to people who have been the member of a recognized religious denomination for at least two years and have a job offer in the U.S. to work for an affiliate of their religious organization. R visas may be issued to clergy members and lay religious workers.

It is critical that R visa applicants be able to demonstrate their affiliation with a religious denomination for at least two years. Most major religions will be recognized. The term religious worker is a broadly defined and could include not just priests and monks but also ordained deacons, nurses for a specific church sect, salaried monks, religious counselors, religious instructors, Sunday School Teachers, Youth Group Leaders, and more. Employees involved in purely nonreligious jobs, like janitors or maintenance workers, will not qualify for this type of visa.

Immigrating to the United States can be a difficult task, especially at a time when immigration policies and procedures are becoming more rigid. Please feel free to contact the immigration and Nationality law firm of NPZ Law Group for assistance with your immigration concerns today.

For more information, or to speak to one of the immigration and nationality lawyers or attorneys at the Nachman, Phulwani Zimovcak (NPZ) Law Group, P.C., please feel free to e-mail us at info@visaserve.com or to call us at 201-670-0006 (x107).