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 When the R-1 visa holder’svisa expires, the R-2 visa is also no longer valid and the holder must leave the US.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

H1-B for Speciality Occupation

Graduate level workers wanting to work in the US are able to apply for a H1-B visa for speciality occupations. This enables US companies to employ foreign skilled workers for in-demand jobs such as in IT, medicine, finance, engineering and numerous other speciality occupations that are highly valued in the US. H1-B visas are valid for three years, with extensions possible, providing that the terms are still valid, i.e. you are still working in the role.

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B-1 Visa for the USA

When you are planning a business trip to the US then it is important that you research the type of visa that you require and apply for it in advance of your visit. For shorter business trips, it may be that an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) provides the adequate level of authorization. However, there is a limit on how long you can visit the US with ESTA, which is a maximum of 90 days for one trip.

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Type O Visa

The Type O visa is for foreign nationals with extraordinary ability in arts, athletics, business, education or sciences. Other areas of ability that are considered under this type of visa are people who have demonstrated extraordinary achievement in the TV or motion picture industry and has been recognized for those achievements (nationally or internationally).

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