The Immigration and Nationality Act provides visa classifications for religious workers on both a permanent and temporary basis.
Permanent Religious Workers
This category includes individuals working at religious organizations including:
- ministries of religion
- professionals working in religious vocations or occupations; and
- other workers in religious vocations or occupations.
Generally, eligibility includes:
- two year membership to the religious denomination; and
- continuous two year service in their religious denomination prior to filing the application.
Temporary Religious Workers
The R-1 visa allows for an individual to enter the United States to continue or develop a religious profession, or to assist religious organizations in the Untied States. Generally, eligibility includes:
- two year membership to the religious denomination immediately preceding the application, and
- one who seeks to enter for a period not to exceed five years.
Unlike permanent religious workers who must show that they have been engaged professionally in their denomination, R-1 applicants need only show membership. Although this visa requires temporary stay intent of five years, R-1 entrants often choose to remain as a permanent religious worker.
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