R Visas for Religious Workers

Practice Areas


Foreign national religious workers are eligible for R visas to work in the United States if they meet certain conditions. In this video presentation, Chugh, LLP Immigration Attorney Jacqueline Valle shares an overview of which individuals qualify for the R visa, what the process is like to obtain an R-1 visa, and finally, how to file a green card for a religious worker.

Which US Organizations Can Sponsor R Visas?


Religious organizations in the United States can sponsor individuals on R visas if they are:

  • Nonprofit.
  • Tax-exempt.
  • Affiliated with a recognized religious denomination.

Which Individuals are Eligible for R Visas?


Religious workers can qualify to be sponsored on R Visas if they meet the following conditions:

  • Primarily work as a minister or in another religious occupation.
  • Work at least part-time.
  • Belong to the religious denomination for at least two years before filing the R visa petition.

How Long is the R Visa Valid For?


The R-1 visa is granted for a maximum of three years at a time. Extensions are available for two years. The maximum period of stay is five years total.

Are the Dependents of R Visa Holders Eligible for Visas?


An R-1 visa holder may bring their spouse and children under 21 to the US on R-2 dependent visas.

Are Green Cards Available for Permanent Religious Positions?


Religious workers may be eligible for green card sponsorship if the religious position is permanent. The following conditions must be met for green card sponsorship:

  • The position must be full time: 35 hours or more per week on average.
  • The beneficiary has worked as a minister or in a religious occupation for at least two years immediately before the petition is filed.

Seamless Visa Sponsorship


For help sponsoring your religious worker on an R visa or green card, contact your trusted Chugh, LLP attorney.

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