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
- 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.