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religious worker immigration: who is eligible for an R-1 visa | Godoy Law Office Immigration Lawyers

Religious Worker Immigration: Who Is Eligible for an R-1 Visa?

R-1 visas are non-immigrant, temporary employment based visas for foreign nationals who want come to the United States to be employed as religious workers including ministers, priests, educators, translators, missionaries and other clergy and church workers.

Religious Worker Immigration: How Foreign Church Workers Get A Green Card

When a member of the clergy or a religious worker wants to come to the U.S. to work, the employer must submit a petition to USCIS on the worker’s behalf for a visa. An experienced R-1 visa immigration lawyer can help you apply for a religious worker visa:

• The petition can be submitted up to six months before the employee’s start date.
• The visa processing time has increased from 6 months pre-covid to 7.5 to 10 months, according to the USCIS website.
• R-1 visas can last up to 5 years, and be split into two two-and-a-half year stays.
• A religious worker on an R-1 visa can file an I-360 form to become a permanent resident if they intend to stay in the U.S. beyond the five years allotted by the R-1 visa.
• R-1 visa holders are not required to stay in the U.S. the whole time their visa is valid, they can also travel to other countries.

Who Is Qualifed For An R-1 Visa? 
An R-1 visa is an opportunity for a religious worker to get a green card to temporarily work in the United States. This petition will be filed through a sponsoring employer. The qualifications for an R-1 visa include:

• Will be employed by a nonprofit religious organization 
• Have been a member of the religious denomination for at least 2 years immediately before filing the petition
• The visa application will work for the religious employer in the United States at least 20 hours per week
• Will not work in any other job other than as a religious worker

Only clergy and someone who does direct religious work is eligible for an R-1 visa; administrative and clerical workers are not eligible for Religious Worker visas.

Do You Need R-1 Visas to Hire a Religious Worker?

Religious worker R-1 visas for clergy and church workers can be difficult to obtain, cause stress and take time. An experienced R-1 visa lawyer can simplify the application process and help you secure an R-1 green card. Contact the experienced business and sports immigration lawyers at Godoy Law Office to schedule a consultation. Call us today at 630-912-0322.

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