Immigration Lawyer in Ohio

R-1 Visa: Religious Worker Non-Immigrant Visas

The R-1 non-immigrant visa status permits certain types of religious workers to enter and remain in the United States for a period of up to 30 months on an initial stay and up to 60 months after filing for an extension. In order to qualify for this type of visa, you must supply evidence that you are authorized to conduct religious worship and perform other duties that are usually carried out by the clergy of your religious denomination and you must be planning to perform such work during your visit to the United States. You must be planning to perform your services on a part-time or full-time basis equaling a minimum of 20 hours per week.

Before you can apply for an R-1 visa, the organization or employer that is sponsoring your visit must file a Form I-129, Petition for Non-Immigrant Worker with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services no more than six months in advance of your planned arrival in this country. The employer must be a bona fide nonprofit religious organization with full recognition in the United States, and the denomination must have tax-exempt status.

To be eligible, you must have been a member of the denomination for a minimum of two years. While many non-immigrant visa categories require the applicant to demonstrate that he or she has a permanent residence abroad and is therefore not likely to overstay the authorized period of the visa, this is not necessary when applying for an R-1 visa. You will, however, have to affirm that you intend to depart this country upon the expiration of the visa. It may be possible for an R-1 visa holder to petition for adjustment of status to the EB-4 immigrant visa, which opens the door to lawful permanent resident status and eventual naturalization.

Application Help

The process of applying for R-1 religious worker status can be lengthy and complex and presents challenges to both the individual applicant and the sponsoring employer. The Cleveland immigration attorneys of Robert Brown LLC assist clients with navigating the immigration legal system, working to gather the necessary documentation, preparing the paperwork, and resolving any issues with governmental authorities. Let us guide you through the process and work to help you achieve a successful outcome.

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