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Four Things To Know About R Visas For Religious Workers


Are you a religious worker preparing to accept a position in the United States? You may need to obtain an R visa. An R visa is a specialized immigration option reserved for qualifying individuals. At Ellenberg Law Group, we have the skills and experience to help clients navigate a wide range of immigration matters, including R-1 visa and R-2 visa applications. Here, our Philadelphia immigration lawyer for religious workers highlights four things to know about R visa.

  1. The Purpose: A Specialized Immigration Tool for Religious Professionals 

The R visa is a non-immigrant visa category specifically designed for religious workers seeking temporary entry into the United States. It is issued by the USCIS to applicants who are ministers or religious workers affiliated with a religious denomination that has a bona fide non-profit religious organization in the country. The visa enables these individuals to perform their religious duties, participate in missionary work, or attend religious conferences and events in the United States. 

  1. You Must have at Least Two Years of Experience at a Qualifying Religious Organization 

To qualify for an R visa, applicants must meet a number of different requirements. To start, they must be a member of a religious denomination for at least two years immediately preceding the time of application. The religious denomination must also have a qualified non-profit religious organization within the United States. 

  1. Immediate Family Members of Qualifying Religious Workers May Also Have Options 

An R-1 visa is for a qualifying religious worker. The immediate family members of an R-1 visa holder may also have options available. They may qualify for an R-2 visa. The R-2 visa is for the spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age of the R-1 visa holder. R-2 visa holders are not authorized to work in the United States but may attend schools or colleges. 

  1. An R-1 Visa is Granted For 30 Months (Extension May Be Possible) 

The R-1 visa is initially granted for a period of up to 30 months, with the possibility of extension for another 30 months. For each R-1 visa, only one extension is generally allowed. In other words, the maximum stay is a total of 60 months (5 years). Of course, to qualify for a non-immigrant R-1 visa the applicant must demonstrate to USCIS that their stay within the United States will be temporary and that they have no intention of abandoning their foreign residence. After the maximum duration has passed (60 months), an applicant can apply for a new R-1 visa. However, they must remain outside of the United States for at least 12 months before applying for a fresh R-1 visa.

Contact Our Philadelphia R Visa Attorney Today

At Ellenberg Law Group, our Philadelphia immigration lawyer has the skills, experience, and legal expertise to help clients navigate issues related to R visas. If you have any specific questions or concerns about your case, we are here as an immigration law resource. Call us now or contact our legal team online to set up your fully confidential, no obligation initial appointment.

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