R-1 Visas are issued to temporary nonimmigrant religious workers. The worker must be sponsored by a non-profit religious organization that has been present in the United States for at least two years. Both the immigrant and petitioning organization must show that the worker will work a minimum of 35 hours per week at his or her selected organization. In addition, the petitioning organization must also provide evidence regarding compensation. This can include budgets and verifiable documentation of room and board. Obtaining an R-1 Visa is a complicated process, which is why it’s important to confide in a dedicated, experienced immigration lawyer.
Located in New York City, the immigration law firm of Berd & Klauss, PLLC has considerable experience handling R-1 Visas, and provides many other legal services related to immigration. An R-1 Visa allows you to work within the U.S. for up to 30 months, with a possible 30 month extension.
There are several steps you must take in order to obtain an R-1 Visa:
- Your petitioning religious organization must fill out an I-129 form and present all required evidence. If necessary, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will conduct a site visit to ensure that the organization is bona fide.
- Once the form is filed, the USCIS typically approves within five months, and then notifies the consular office.
- You must then undergo consular processing in your home country in order to receive the visa.
Once each of these steps has been completed, you will receive your visa and be free to begin your religious work. If you seek to change to an R-1 status from a different status while in the United States, your petitioning religious organization must still fill out an I-129 form. However, if you leave the country, you’ll need to apply for an R-1 Visa at a U.S. consulate. For more information on R-1 Visas, visit Berd & Klauss PLLC online.