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R Religious Worker Visas and Correlating I-360 Green Card Process

Understanding the R-1 Visa

The R-1 visa is for certain religious workers who are coming to the US temporarily to work at least part-time at a non-profit religious organization. The employee must be working as a minister or in a religious worker capacity. The employee must have been a member of a religious denomination with non-profit religious organization tax status in the US for at least 2 years immediately preceding the filing of the petition.R-1 visas can be granted initially for up to 30 months. With extensions, an R-1 visa holder cannot remain in the US for more than 5 years in R-1 status. R-1 visa holders often qualify for special immigrant visa petitions, which can be filed by the same religious entity and can result in permanent residency for the employee.

Spouses and Children of R Visa Holders

Spouses and unmarried children under 21 may accompany the R-1 visa holder to the US and can be given R-2 visas for dependents. An R-2 visa holder cannot engage in employment in the United States.

EB-4 Religious Worker Immigrant Visa Petitions

Since an R-1 visa holder cannot remain in the US for more than 5 years total in R-1 status. R-1 visa holders often qualify for EB-4 special immigrant visa petitions. The religious worker green card process begins by an employer – which is often the same religious entity that sponsored the religious worker for the R-1 visa – filing the I-360 petition for the foreign religious worker. Upon approval of the I-360 immigrant visa petition the worker’s application for permanent residency can be approved.

Connecting Your Business With International Talent

At Becker & Lee LLP, employment-based immigration is one of our primary practice areas. Our experienced attorneys have worked with a range of talented individuals, employers and human resource professionals to obtain R visas, Special Immigrant I-360 petitions, and other temporary work visas for their employees. Past clients include religious seminaries, churches, Buddhist monks and a range of other religious entities.

Our R-1 visa lawyers offer comprehensive representation to help ensure legal compliance and help increase chances of success in the visa application process. Contact our San Francisco law firm to learn more about your options.