For foreign nationals who are employed by religious affiliations, you may be wondering if your occupation has a specific visa that can allow you to legally come to the United States. The answer to that is yes. The R-1 visa is a nonimmigrant visa for those who have a religiously affiliated occupation. This visa will allow you to carry on your occupation in the United States temporarily.
R-1 visas allow a minister or another form of religious occupation to perform their work in the country for 30 months. In order to become eligible for this type of visa, you must be have found employment with a non-profit religious organization within the United States. In addition, you must work at least twenty hours a week, or the equivalent of a part time job. In order to be eligible for this visa, your employer must petition for you to work for them on an R-1 visa, further solidifying that you will in fact be working for a religious vocation. Finally, you must have been associated with this particular sect of the religion for two years prior to applying for an R-1 visa within the United States. It is also important to be aware that you may not have another non-religious affiliated job while holding this visa.
Though it is only valid for 30 months, you may apply to extend your R-1 visa. It costs $460 to file a Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, or Form 1-129. Make sure that you pay the appropriate amount of money for your filing fee because prices recently changed for this particular form. The fee used to be $325 but as of December 23, 2016, it was raised to $460.
If you are in need of experienced legal counsel for matters regarding immigration, please contact the Law Offices of Salvatore A. Falletta, LLC and we would be happy to provide you with assistance.