R Type Visa

If a foreign national is travelling to the US on a temporary basis as a religious worker e.g. working as a minister (or other religious vocation) then they require a R-1 visa to provide the relevant permission to enter the US for those purposes.

Requirements for a R-1 visa

The requirements include that the person must entering the US to be employed as a minister (or alternative religious vocation) for a minimum of 20 hours per week on average. They can only work for non-profit organizations in the US (and be able to provide the relevant evidence to show this). The applicant of a R-1 visa must be visiting the US with the sole purpose of performing their religious occupation.
To be eligible for a R Type visa, the applicant must have been a member of a religious denomination having a bona fide non-profit, tax-exempt religious organization in the United States for at least 2 years immediately preceding the time of application.
It is often difficult to have the R-1 visa approved without providing extensive information and evidence of the qualifications, role and responsibilities etc. The USCIS will send a Request for Evidence (RFE) if they are not satisfied with the information that is initially provided to them. It is important that a response to a RFE is provided within adequate time, or it will affect the approval of the petition and be declined if left too long.

Applying for R-1 visa

As part of the application process, the applicant will be required to provide proof of religious qualification, as well as proof of the religious organization’s tax-exempt status. The first step of applying for the R-1 visa is for the employer to complete the Form I-129, Petition for Non-immigrant Worker. The USCIS will review the application to determine whether the petitioning organization and the beneficiary have met their eligibility requirements.
The R-1 visa will allow permission for a stay in the US for up to 30 months although extensions can be applied for, following the 30 month period.

Dependents of R-1 visa holders

The spouse and any children (aged under 21) of a R-1 visa holder may apply for the R-2 visa which allows study in the US but does not allow the holder to seek employment in the US.
If the R-2 applicant is looking to gain employment in the US then they will require an appropriate working visa that provides permission to work in the US. When the R-1 visa holder’svisa expires, the R-2 visa is also no longer valid and the holder must leave the US.

Other Visas


Type Q Visa

The Q-1 visa is for foreign nationals taking part in a cultural exchange program in the US. This enables people to enter the US to provide practical training and sharing the history, culture and traditions of a country with the US. The main purpose is to educate people in the US regarding international cultures from around the world.

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H-2A for seasonal agricultural workers

The H-2A visa is available specifically for foreign nationals to take on seasonal agricultural work. This type of visa is only applicable for temporary and seasonal work and not long-term work. Typically, it can be difficult for employers to fill their vacancies for this type of work, particularly given the short-term nature of it, so it is often in their interests to employ foreign nationals to perform the duties due to higher levels of availability.

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F-1 Visa

For any foreign national that is looking to study full-time in the US, they must apply for a student visa. There are three different types of student visa and it is important to understand the differences, so that you can apply for the correct one or else your application may get declined if you do not fit the criteria.

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