R-1 – Religious Workers

R-1 – Religious Workers

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R-1 – Religious Workers

R-1 status is available for ministers and certain religious workers to come to the U.S.  Ministers are individuals authorized by a recognized denomination to conduct religious worship and perform other duties usually performed by clergy such as administering sacraments, or their equivalent.  Religious workers are members of a religious denomination with a bona fide nonprofit religious organization in the U.S. who will be working in the U.S. in a religious vocation or occupation.  Religious vocation means a calling to religious life, evidenced by the demonstration of a lifelong commitment, such as taking of vows. Religious occupation means a habitual engagement in an activity which relates to a traditional religious function.

Requirements for R-1 status

To qualify for R-1 status, an individual must:

  • Be a member of a denomination that is affiliated with a bona fide nonprofit, tax-exempt religious organization in the U.S.
  • Have been a member of that denomination for two years immediately preceding admission to the U.S.
  • Be entering the U.S. solely to carry out work for the religious denomination or for an organization affiliated with that denomination
  • Be entering to work as a minister or a religious worker

Frequently Asked Questions about R-1 s

What Type of Religious Workers  are Included in this Category?

  • Clergy members
  • Monks and nuns
  • Religious instructors or cantor
  • Catechists
  • Missionaries
  • Workers in religious hospitals
  • Religious translators or broadcasters

How long can one remain in the U.S. in R-1 status?

Individuals in R-1 status can stay in the U.S. for a maximum of five years.

Can dependents accompany an R-1 individual to the U.S.?

Yes, spouse and minor children are eligible for R-2 status but they are not eligible to work in the U.S.

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