Immigration Attorney in Fort Myers & Surrounding Areas
The Citizenship App U.S. Citizenship Test Prep

R-1 Visa for Religious Workers in Fort Myers

Visa Category for Temporary Non-Immigrant Religious Workers

The R-1 visa allows a foreign national who is coming to the United States to be temporarily employed as a minister or in another religious vocation or occupation at least part time (an average of at least 20 hours per week).

A religious occupation could include employment by:

  • A non-profit religious organization in the United States
  • A religious organization that is authorized by a group tax exemption holder to use its group tax exemption
  • A non-profit religious organization that is affiliated with a religious denomination in the United States

This visa program is intended for religious workers whose lives are dedicated to religious practices and functions, as distinguished from secular members of the religion.

To qualify, the foreign national must have been a member of a religious denomination having a bona fide non-profit religious organization in the United States for at least two years immediately before the filing of the petition.

A religious denomination is defined by the following factors:

  • A group or community of believers governed or administered under a common type of ecclesiastical government and including one or more of the following
    • A recognized and shared common creed or statement of faith
    • A common system of worship
    • A common code of doctrine and discipline
    • Common ceremonies and services
    • Common established places of worship or congregations
    • Comparable indicia of a bona fide religious denomination

If you are seeking an R-1 visa to work in the U.S., reach out to Hurtado Immigration Law Firm at (239) 800-0580 today.

What is the Period of Stay Allowed on an R-1 Visa?

USCIS may grant R-1 status for an initial period of admission for up to 30 months. Subsequent extensions may be granted for up to an additional 30 months. The religious worker’s total period of stay in the United States in R-1 classification cannot exceed five years (60 months). USCIS counts only time spent physically in the United States in valid R-1 status toward the maximum period of stay.

Can Family Accompany R-1 Visa Holders to the United States?

An R-1 religious worker’s spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 may be eligible for R-2 classification. An R-2 dependent is not authorized to accept employment based on this visa classification.

Dual Intent

Non-immigrant religious workers must maintain the intent to depart the United States when their nonimmigrant stay expires. At the same time, USCIS may not deny a non-immigrant petition, application for initial admission, change of status, or extension of stay in R classification solely on the basis of a filed or an approved permanent labor certification application or a filed or approved immigrant visa petition.

B-1 Visa Holders

Members of religious denominations seeking temporary admission to the United States for brief periods may be eligible to be admitted as B-1 business visitors if their activities are allowed under the B-1 nonimmigrant visitor category.

Notification of Termination of Employment

The petitioner must notify USCIS within 14 days of any change in the non-immigrant religious worker’s employment. The petitioner must also notify USCIS when the employment is terminated.

Change of Location of Employment

Changes in location of employment may constitute material changes to the terms and conditions of employment as specified in the original approved R-1 petition. If there is a material change in the terms or conditions of employment (or the beneficiary’s eligibility), the petitioner may be required to file an amended petition and receive an approval prior to the beneficiary’s move to a location of employment other than that listed on the original approved R-1 petition.

Hurtado Immigration Law Firm looks forward to assisting you with your R-1 visa petition. Contact us at (239) 800-0580 to get started today.

We Rise by Lifting Others

Client Testimonials
  • Pablo was involved and attentive with our case and Alejandra was constantly reassuring!

    “Best experience by far with Pablo Hurtado and his staff. Alejandra is God-sent, always available by phone, text or email. Pablo was involved and attentive with our case and Alejandra was constantly ...”

    - Nancy
  • What an amazing experience from beginning to end.

    “What an amazing experience from beginning to end. This firm has handled our K1 Visa process like no other and made everything easy with lots of love, care and attention to detail. Highly recommend!!!!”

    - Irma R.
  • They have a lot of experience with immigrant visas and diligent employees.

    “This firm did a great job helping me through the process of my E2 visa. They have a lot of experience with immigrant visas and diligent employees. The service was very professional and the process is ...”

    - Carlos
  • They really cared and fought for me. Charges were dropped and now I am ready to pursue immigration benefits.

    “I am so thankful for the team at the Firm. The performed very professionally and with excellence. Not only were all the charges dropped, but I feel vindicated due to the fact that Mr. Hurtado and Ms. ...”

    - Sergio
  • Hoy puedo celebrar ser Ciudadano Americano gracias a la asistencia recibida por todo su equipo.

    “Gracias a The Hurtado Law Firm y Staff por una experiencia Profesional y Honesta. Durante todo el proceso me tuvieron informado de lo que estaba pasando con mi aplicación, si tenía alguna pregunta ...”

    - Ossie