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R-1 Visa Temporary Nonimmigrant Religious Workers

What is an R-1 visa?

The R-1 visa classification permits a nonimmigrant to temporarily be employed as a minister or in a religious vocation or occupation.

r-1 religious worker


In order to be qualify for a R-1 visa, the Foreign National must be a member of a religious denomination having a bona fide non-profit religious organization in the U.S. for at least two (2) years immediately prior to filing the petition. Other eligibility criteria include the following:

  • The Foreign National must work for the employer who files the R-1 petition on their behalf; and
  • The Foreign National may only work as a religious worker, no other capacity allowed.


After filing the petition:  After filing the request for R-1 status, USCIS may conduct a site visit to the petitioner’s headquarters to verify the work location, work hours, duties, etc. An R-1 maximum stay is a total of five (5) years. Due to long delays in processing times that date pre-pandemic, it is advisable to begin the Green Card process (I-360 petition) early in five (5) year period to avoid problems.


Throughout the years, we have aided Religious Organizations, large and small, and Foreign Nationals in Minister and Non-Minister positions successfully obtain and extend their R-1 status.