Religious Worker Visas

Long Island Immigration Attorney

In 1990, Congress created the R1 visa, a special immigrant status for foreign nationals coming to the U.S. to perform duties of a religious worker.

R1 visa applicants are required to prove that they have been a member of a religious denomination for at least two years and that they intend to work at a qualified organization as either a minister, religious professional, or engage in some other religious work.

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Nassau County and Suffolk County R1 Visa Lawyer

The phrase religious denomination denotes any religious group or community of believers with some form of ecclesiastical government, a creed or statement of belief, worship of some kind, religious services and ceremonies, a formal or informal code of doctrine and discipline, established locations for worship, or similar indicia of a bona fide religious denomination.

The definition is not very limiting. Buddhist monks, for example, qualify as members of a religious denomination. Tax-exempt interdenominational organizations also can qualify. Lay ministers, on the other hand, may not qualify unless they are authorized by an organization.

R1 Visas Allow Significant Flexibility

  • R1 holders need not maintain a residence in their native country while in the U.S.
  • They are free to exit and re-enter the U.S. without restrictions.
  • They are allowed to accept payment for their services in the U.S.
  • They may bring their spouse and children with them. (The spouse and children must apply for the R2 visa.)
  • They may change religious employers while in the U.S.

Information about EB4 Special Immigrant Visas

The EB4 visa is for a special grouping of immigrants that includes religious workers, broadcasters, Iraqi/Afghan translators, Iraqis who have assisted the United States, international organization employees, physicians, armed forces members, Panama Canal zone employees, retired NATO-6 employees, along with spouses and children of deceased NATO-6 employees.

Contact a New York Immigration Attorney

For more information about both R1 and EB4 visas, call Long Island Law Offices of William A. Streppone at (631) 265-3988. We offer free initial consultation to discuss your visa requirements.

You may also use our online form, to contact us about your legal problem.

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William A. Streppone - Immigration Attorney