An R1 visa is a temporary work visa for ministers and other religious workers with a job offer in a non-profit religious organization or an organization affiliated with a religious denomination in the US.
Ministers and other religious workers with a permanent, full time employment offer may be able to apply for a Green Card as a special immigrant.
R1 Visa Requirements
To qualify for an R1 visa, the applicant must be a member of a religious denomination and have a temporary offer of employment (salaried or non-salaried) in a religious occupation from a non-profit religious organization in the US. The offer of employment may be as a minister or in any other religious vocation for at least 20 hours per week. The applicant must have been a member of their religious denomination for at least 2 years preceding the application.
R1 visa applicants may also be required to meet certain health and character requirements.
R1 Visa Entitlements
An R1 visa entitles the holder to live and work in the US temporarily. An R1 visa is usually granted for an initial period of 3 years and extensions may be granted. Religious workers with an R1 visa are permitted dual intent, meaning the applicant can maintain R1 visa status while applying for a Green Card to remain in the US permanently.
Spouses and unmarried children under the 21 years of age may apply for the applicable derivative visa (R2 visa) to join their spouse or parent in the US. Accompanying spouses and children are not entitled to work or study in the United States without obtaining an appropriate work or student visa.