R-Class Visa

R-1 Temporary Nonimmigrant Religious Workers

 

These are visas given to foreign national coming to the US to work for a nonprofit religious organization(or an organization which is affiliated with the religious denomination in the US) to work as a minister or in a religious vocation or occupation at least in a  part-time capacity (20 hours per week).

 

Who Can File and What to File

 

This petition may be filed by or for an alien, who (either abroad or in the United States) for at least the two years immediately preceding the filing of the petition has been a member of a religious denomination which has a bona fide nonprofit religious organization in the United States.

 

An R-1 status may be granted for an initial period of admission for up to 30 months.  An extension of an R-1 status may be granted for up to an additional 30 months.  The total stay in the United States in an R-1 status cannot exceed 60 months (5 years).R-1 worker’s spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 may be eligible for R-2 classification.  The dependents of an R-1 worker may not accept employment while in the United States in R-2 status.

 

The petitioning employer must submit Form I-129 including the R-1 Classification Supplement signed by the employer with the following supporting documents: 

 

FROM PETITIONING CHURCH

 

PROOF OF TAX-EXEMPT STATUS

+  If the religious organization has its own individual IRS 501(c)(3) letter, provide a currently valid determination letter from the IRS establishing that the organization is a tax-exempt organization

+  a group ruling

+  If the organization is recognized as tax-exempt under a group tax-exemption, provide a group ruling

+  If the organization is affiliated with the religious denomination, provide:

 

+  A currently valid determination letter from the IRS;

+  Documentation that establishes the religious nature and purpose of the organization;

+  Organizational literature; and

+  A religious denomination certification, which is part of the R-1 Classification Supplement to Form I-129.

 

PROOF OF COMPENSATION  (MONEY OR IN-KIND)

  • Verifiable evidence of how the organization intends to compensate the religious worker, including specific monetary or in-kind compensation.  Evidence of compensation may include:

+  Past evidence of compensation for similar positions

+  Budgets showing monies set aside for salaries, leases, etc.

+  Evidence that room and board will be provided to the religious worker

+  If IRS documentation, such as IRS Form W-2 or certified tax returns, is available, it must be provided

+  If IRS documentation is not available, an explanation for its absence must be provided, along with comparable, verifiable documentation

 

If the religious worker will be self-supporting:

 

+  Documents that establish the religious worker will hold a position that is part of an established program for temporary, uncompensated missionary work, which is part of a broader international program of missionary work sponsored by the denomination

 

+  Evidence that establishes that the organization has an established program for temporary, uncompensated missionary work in which:

 

+  Foreign workers, whether compensated or uncompensated, have previously participated in R-1 status;

+  Missionary workers are traditionally uncompensated;

+  The organization provides formal training for missionaries; and

+  Participation in such missionary work is an established element of religious development in that denomination.

 

+ Evidence that establishes that the organization’s religious denomination maintains missionary programs both in the United States and abroad

+  Evidence of the religious worker’s acceptance into the missionary program

+  Evidence of the duties and responsibilities associated with this traditionally uncompensated missionary work.

 

+  Copies of the religious worker’s bank records, budgets documenting the sources of self-support (including personal or family savings, room and board with host families in the United States, donations from the denomination’s churches), or other verifiable evidence acceptable to USCIS

 

FROM BENEFICIARY

 

  PROOF OF MEMBERSHIP

+  Evidence that the religious worker is a member of a religious denomination having a bona fide non-profit religious organization in the United States for at least 2 years immediately preceding the filing of Form I-129

 

IF A MINISTER, PROVIDE:

+ A copy of the religious worker’s certificate of ordination or similar documents

 

+  Documents reflecting acceptance of the religious worker’s qualification as a minister in the religious denomination, as well as evidence that the religious worker has completed any course of prescribed theological education at an accredited theological institution normally required or recognized by that religious denomination.  Include transcripts, curriculum, and documentation that establishes that the theological institution is accredited by the denomination

 

+ If the denominations do not require a prescribed theological education, provide:

 

  +  The religious denomination’s requirements for ordination to minister
  +  A list of duties performed by virtue of ordination
  +  The denomination’s levels of ordination, if any, and
  +  Evidence of the religious worker’s completion of the denomination’s requirements for ordination

 

PROOF OF PREVIOUS R-1 FOR VISA EXTENSION

 

+  If you received salaried compensation, provide IRS documentation that you received a salary, such as an IRS Form W-2 or certified copies of filed income tax returns reflecting such work and compensation for the previous R-1 employment

  +  If you received non-salaried compensation:

 

  +  If IRS documentation is available, provide IRS documentation of the non-salaried compensation
  +  If IRS documentation is not available, provide an explanation for the absence of IRS documentation and verifiable evidence of all financial support, including stipends, room and board, or other support for you with a description of the location where you lived, a lease to establish where you lived, or other evidence acceptable to USCIS

 

SELF-SUPPORTING BENEFICIARY

If the religious worker will be self-supporting, then:

 

+  If you received no salary but provided for your own support and that of any dependents, provide verifiable documents to show how support was maintained, such as audited financial statements, financial institution records, brokerage account statements, trust documents signed by an attorney, or other evidence acceptable to USCIS

 

 

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