RELIGIOUS WORKERS

INTRODUCTION

The R-1 Religious Workers visa classification allows foreign nationals to enter the United States to work in a religious capacity for up to 5 years. It is appropriate for ministers, professional workers who wish to work in a religious vocation, and other foreign religious workers. Tsang & Associates offers a complete consular visa service for individuals and companies. We also provide training for individuals who would like to prepare the R-1 visa themselves. Our attorneys will assess your qualification and assist you in meeting the requirements. Consultations are free and we look forward to your visit.


SERVICES

We will prepare an attorney cover letter along with all forms and supporting documents for the R-1 Visa application, including:

  • Mock Consular Interview Training
  • Instruction on how to prepare personal documents
  • Investigation Preparation
  • Proof of Membership Consultation
  • Bylaws of Religious Organization
  • Calendar of Duties
  • Employment Offer Contract
  • Interview Preparation

In short, we provide a start to finish service. Your case is safe with us until the case is complete. 

PAYMENTS

Legal Fee $4,000

Free Consultation

*Legal Fees vary based on complexity of each case, and the above quoted price represents the amount we charge for a typical case. 


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Requirements:

  1. Applicant must have been a member of a religious denomination having a bona fide non-profit religious organization in the United States for at least 2 years immediately before the filing of the petition;
  2. Applicant must belong to a religious denomination or affiliate which is exempt from taxation, or the religious denomination qualifies for tax-exempt status;
  3. Applicant must plan to enter the U.S. solely to carry on the vocation of a minister of a religious denomination or at the request of the organization to work in the U.S. in a religious vocation;
  4. Applicant must have an occupation or vocation for a religious denomination or for an organization affiliated with the denominations;
  5. Applicant must have resided and been physically present outside the U.S. for the immediate prior year if they have previously spent five years in the U.S. in the R-1 classification; 
  6. Applicant must intend to leave the U.S. on completion of the authorized stay.

Limitations:

  1. Applicant may be granted the status for an initial period of admission for up to 30 months;
  2. Applicant may extend the R-1 status in increments of 30 months;
  3. Applicant may not exceed a total period of stay in the U.S. of 5 years.

Four R-Visa Categories:

  1. Minister
    1. Foreign religious worker duly authorized by a recognized religious denomination to conduct religious worship and to perform other duties usually performed by authorized members of the clergy of that religion;
    2. Must have a reasonable connection between the activities performed and the religious calling of the minister; 
    3. Category does not include a lay preacher not authorized to perform such duties;
  2. Professional Religious Worker
    1. Foreign religious worker performs activities in a religious vocation or occupation that requires a United States baccalaureate degree or a foreign equivalent degree;
    2. No combination of education and experience, or experience alone, will be allowed to substitute for a baccalaureate degree;
  3. Work In a Religious Occupation
    1. Foreign religious worker performs an activity that relates to a traditional religious function;
    2. Examples of persons in religious occupations include, but are not limited to, liturgical workers, religious instructors, religious counselors, cantors, catechists, workers in religious hospitals or religious health care facilities, missionaries, religious translators, or religious broadcasters;
    3. This group does not include janitors, maintenance workers, clerks, fund raisers, or persons involved solely in the solicitation of donations;
  4. Work In a Religious Vocation
    1. Foreign religious worker called to religious life as demonstrated by a commitment to a religious denomination, such as the taking of vows;
    2. Examples of persons with a religious vocation include, but are not limited to, nuns, monks, and religious brothers and sisters.

CHECKLIST

In order to provide you with the best and most accurate consultation, we recommend that you bring as many of the following information/documents as you can to ensure a productive meeting. 

Supporting Documents from Beneficiary

  1. Proof of membership for at least the last two years
  2. Certificate of membership
  3. Certificate of qualification as a minister
  4. Tax documents from previous employment in the U.S.

Supporting Documents of U.S Employer

  1. Proof from the IRS that the organization is tax-exempt
  2. Religious certification for the organization
  3. Payroll records
  4. Budgets 
  5. Evidence that the religious worker will receive room and board