R-1 Religious Worker Visas

Petitioning for R-1 Visas in South Florida

Immigration Attorney Serving St. Lucie & Martin Counties & Surrounding Areas

The Gaston Law Firm, P.A. can help lessen the confusion that might surround immigration law. We can provide insight into questions on filing fees, eligibility requirements, and processing times. If you have been offered a job in the United States by your religious denomination or organization, we can help with the process of obtaining a visa for work. The R-1 visa can allow you to work for up to 30 months while you are fulfilling the duties of your position.

A religious worker may include some of the following occupations:

  • Minister, priest, rabbi, monk, ordained deacon
  • Nuns, or religious brothers and sisters
  • Cantors or catechists
  • Religious hospital workers or health care providers
  • Religious instructors or counselors

The religious worker's duties should place them in a position to carry out the ministry and beliefs of the denomination. Those who work in administrative positions (such as janitors, clerks, fundraisers, accountants, choir members, etc.), whose work is not directly related to ministry are not eligible to file.

What Documents Are Required for Filing the R-1 Visa?

You must have been a member of your denomination for at least two years, and provide proof of membership. If you are a minister, you may need to provide a copy of your ordination and other documents that show you are qualified to work as a minister (such as transcripts of coursework taken while attending a theological school).

Additionally, for your employer to sponsor your visa, the organization must have been present for at least two years, demonstrate that you will be working full-time (at least 35 hours a week), and present proof from the IRS of their status as tax-exempt and nonprofit.

Extending Your R-1 Visa

You may petition to extend your R-1 visa past 30 months, up to 60 months. After 60 months, you may be able to petition R-1 status again, however, you will be required to live outside of the United States for at least one year. You do not want to be found living in the United States illegally, so it is important to note that maintaining your R-1 status falls upon your ability to provide all of the proper documentation of your employment. This is why you need a knowledgeable South Florida immigration attorney to help you through the process and ensure that you are staying up to date with your paperwork. Representation in Fort Pierce, Stuart, Palm City, Vero Beach, Port St. Lucie, Okeechobee, Indiantown, and Port Salerno.

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