R-1 Religious visa ilexlaw Religious Worker Visa:


The Religious Worker Visa or R-1 visa is a temporary non-immigrant visa for foreign nationals intending to work for a religious organization.

R-1 visa has some distinct requirements:

  • The R-1 visa applicant must represent a legitimate non-profit religious organization that is tax exempt.
  • R-1 visa holders can freely travel in and out the US
  • Applicants do not have to maintain a residence in their home country while in the U.S.
  • R-1 visa holders are permitted to bring their dependents (spouses and children under 21.
  • The initial R-1 period of employment is 2 years and 6 months, total period is 5 years.
  • R-1 visa holders may change religious employers while in the U.S.
  • Visa holders are allowed to get paid and there is no minimum wage
  • The religious worker must have been a member of their denomination for at least two years prior to their R-1 application.

Documentation Required:

  • Form I-129, Petition for a Non-immigrant Worker
  • Form DS-156, Non-immigrant Visa Application
  • Paperwork that shows the applicant has been a member of the religious organization for over 2 years
  • Financial support documentation


  • Religious workers cannot stay longer than a total of 5 years on the R-1 visa.
  • The spouse and dependents of the R-1 visa holder may not work.