Frequently Asked Questions on R Visa

What is an R visa?
An R visa is a non-immigrant visa category for religious workers who wish to come to the United States temporarily to work in a religious capacity for a qualifying religious organization.
Who is eligible for an R visa?
Religious workers, including ministers, priests, monks, nuns, and other individuals who work in a religious capacity, may be eligible for an R visa if they have been a member of a qualifying religious organization for at least two years and have received a job offer from a U.S.-based religious organization.
What are the different types of R visas?

There are two types of R visas:

R-1 visa: for religious workers coming to the U.S. to perform religious duties as a minister, priest, or in another religious occupation.

R-2 visa: for the spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 of R-1 visa holders.

What qualifies as a qualifying religious organization for an R visa?
A qualifying religious organization must be a bona fide non-profit religious organization in the United States, such as a church, mosque, temple, or other religious institution that is tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
Can I bring my family members on an R visa?
R-1 visa holders can bring their spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 to the United States as dependents on R-2 visas. Dependents are allowed to study in the U.S. but are not permitted to work unless they obtain their own work authorization.
How long can I stay in the U.S. on an R visa?
Initially, R-1 visa holders can stay in the U.S. for up to 30 months. Extensions of stay are available in increments of up to 30 months, for a maximum total stay of five years.
Can I apply for a green card (permanent residency) on an R visa?
Yes, R-1 visa holders may be eligible to apply for a green card through employment-based immigration pathways if they meet the eligibility criteria for permanent residency. They must have a sponsoring employer and meet other requirements specified by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
What is the process for obtaining an R visa?
The process for obtaining an R visa involves several steps, including obtaining a job offer from a qualifying religious organization in the U.S., preparing and submitting the necessary visa application documents, attending an interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate, and complying with any additional requirements specified by the consulate.
Can I switch employers on an R visa?
Yes, R visa holders can change employers, but the new employer must file a new petition on the employee's behalf and obtain approval from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before the change can take effect.
How early can I apply for an R visa before my intended date of employment in the U.S.?
R visa applicants can typically apply for their visa as soon as they have a confirmed job offer from a qualifying religious organization in the U.S.


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