Home / News / World /  Religious workers can get R-1 visa to travel, live in US. All you need to know

The United States government offers R-1 visa for religious workers seeking to work and live in US for non-profit religious organization in US. This specific type of visa allows the holders to stay in the US for a period of 5 years.

The organisation that the visa seeker is tied to should be registered as a non-profit organization in the US, tied to any religious denomination in the US, or a religious organisation that has a group tax exemption

There is also no cap on the number of R-1 visas that can be issued

Here is everything you need to know about the R-1 visa

Criterion for seeking R-1 visa

The person who is applying for the R-1 visa must fulfill the following conditions:

-Be a member of a religion for the past two years

-The religion must have a non-profit organization in the US

-Find a job in the non-profit religious organization, or an organization affiliated with the religion

-The applicant must be a minister or a person working directly in the religious occupation

-The applicant must commit to working at least 20 hours per week (part-time)

-The applicant must not work in other positions except in their religious capacity

-As for the non-profit organization, it must be either one of the registered organizations in the US.

-A non-profit religious organization with its own Internal Revenue Service letter of 501(c)(3)

-A non-profit religious organization with a group tax exemption

-A non-profit organization affiliated with a religion which has tax exemptions under 501(c)(3) rules or other IRS codes that does not make it a religious organization by definition

Benefits for R-1 visa holders

-R-1 visa holders can live and work within the US for the duration of the visa. 

-They will be allowed to open back accounts, get a driver's license

-They can study in US educational institutions. They are allowed to enroll in any course, either part time or full time

-They can also travel in and out of the US, and the time that they are outside the country does not count as part of their total visa time.

-R1 visa holders who will work part time in the US in religious positions can also work in other countries

-R-1 visa holders are not required to stay in the US for the whole time 

People ineligible for R 1 visa

Not all religious workers are allowed to work in the US under the R1 visa. It only applies to ministers and those who are directly tied to religious work. Administrative and clerical workers or any support personnel cannot apply for the R-1 visa and must go through applying for other applicable visas.

Process of getting R-1 visa

If both the applicant and the organization hiring the person fulfill the criteria, then the application process can begin.  According to the US government, a religion, or religious denomination is formed by a community of people who believe and are governed by rules of an ecclesiastical government. They also have these characteristics:

-Worship similarly

-Have a shared faith amongst their members

-Perform similar rituals, services, and ceremonies

-Have a shared code of discipline and doctrine

-Have organizations that are religious

-Have a shared place of worship

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