Coming to the United States from another country can be difficult and overwhelming for anyone, and even more overwhelming if you are a religious person. Fortunately, there are ways to make coming to the United States easier as a religious individual by applying for an R-1 Visa.

What is R-1 Nonimmigrant Status?

An R-1 immigration visa is a nonimmigration visa that allows a religious person to come into the United States for employment. If a religious figure or a vocation comes into the U.S. for at least 20 hours a week, then they are able to come into the country under the R-1 nonimmigration visa.

A non-profit religious organization, a religious organization that is given previous authorization by a tax exempt holder to use the tax exemption, or a religious organization affiliated with a religious denomination in the U.S., are all ways to get a temporary nonimmigrant religious worker visa or an R-1 nonimmigration visa. The R-1 visa is intended for those who have committed their lives to religious functions and practices in comparison to secular members of a religion. Furthermore, to qualify for the R-1 immigration visa, you need to be a member of the religion and part of the non-profit religious organization in the U.S. for at least two years before you’re able to file for the nonimmigration visa. For example, if a synagogue wants to bring over a rabbi from Israel whose temple is affiliated with the synagogue in the U.S., then they are able to do so under the R-1 visa.

An R-1 Visa allows nonimmigrant status for a temporary period of up to five years. If you are a religious person of any faith and have a job opportunity in the United States to perform religious work for any religious organization, the organization can request that R-1 status be granted for you to work in the United States for a 30-month period.

This 30-month period can be followed by a 30-month extension if the organization wishes to continue to employ you for religious work. One important factor to not to forget if you wish to apply for R-1 status is that prior to entry, you must file form I-129. Another detail important to remember is that the site of your sponsored organization will most likely be inspected prior to the approval of your R-1 status.

What Are the R-1 Status Requirements?

The R-1 status requirements can be broken down into five prongs; the first is that you must be a member of a religion for at least two years, as well as the organization you plan to work for must be tax-exempt under the Internal Revenue Code.

The second prong of this process is that you must be working for a minimum of 20 hours per week with your sponsored organization in the United States. To prove that you will have this requirement, the sponsored organization must be able to show that it has the funds to pay for your work hours.

The third requirement is that you must be coming to the United States solely to perform religious work, in either a nonprofessional or professional capacity. Although attending a religious educational institution cannot get you R-1 status granted, you can attend a religious or educational institution in the United States after being granted R-1 status for religious work.

The fourth prong of the requirements is that you must be coming to the United States to work for a sponsored organization at the request of the organization on your behalf. This step will require the sponsored organization to describe itself, the position they are offering you, and your character.

The fifth and final step of requirements is that you must not work in the United States in any other capacity other than religious work for your sponsored organization. Although, you can perform religious work for multiple religious organizations, each one must have an approved petition on your behalf.

How Can Zohar Law PLLC Law Office Help Me?

Zohar Law PLLC is a law office located in New York City. If you are seeking information about immigration visas, then you can always stop in to speak with an immigration lawyer. We strive to help those who are seeking immigration law services, especially those from the Middle East. As fluent Hebrew and Arabic speakers, Zohar Law PLLC is able to help those from Middle Eastern countries.

Our main goal is to give you the ability to gain the nonimmigration or immigration visa you seek. With a one-on-one consultation, we’re able to help figure out the best way to meet your immigration goals. Our legal team of immigration lawyers will help advise you on being able to protect your rights and obtain the legal status you seek. For more information on our law office or to speak with an immigration lawyer, then fill out the form below.

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