Immigrant applicants who are considering coming to the United States in order to gain employment with a non-profit religious organization need to be aware of all the requirements necessary to be issued with an R-1 US visa. R-1 US visas are given to religious workers, ministers and employees of religious organizations by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.
When a minister or religious worker wishes to stay in the United States for a short time they must submit an application for a visitor visa (also referred to as a B visa). Under a B US visa, certain religious activities are able to be performed, such as private worship, meditation, attendance at religious conferences or services in the US, prayer and informal religious study.
This visa is however only appropriate in the event that the individual concerned intends to stay in the United States on a temporary basis and if their reimbursement or wages are paid by their particular religious group outside of the country. If the salary of a religious worker is to be paid within the US then they will need to apply for an R-1 US visa.
In order to be eligible for an R-1 US visa, the immigrant applicant will need to be a member of a denomination which has a legitimate religious organization, is not-for-profit within the United States and has been in operation for at least two years. The worker’s prospective employer will also have to file Form I-129 before the applicant has a visa interview and files Form DS-160.