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The R-1 visa is available to a person who has been a member of a legitimate religious denomination for at least two years and has a job offer in the U.S. to work for an affiliate of that same religious organization. You must have an offer to work before applying.
R-1 visa is issued both to members of the clergy and to lay religious workers. The period of the visa is between 30 months, and the maximum stay is five years.
The criteria for qualifying for the visa are the same as those for religious workers applying for special immigrant green cards (lawful permanent residence). In both cases, minister is defined as a person authorized by a recognized religious denomination to conduct religious activities. The term covers ministers, priests, and rabbis, and salaried Buddhist monks, commissioned officers of the Salvation Army, practitioners and nurses of the Christian Science Church, and ordained deacons.
You will have to submit proof of formal recognition from the religious organization in question, such as a license, certificate of ordination, or other qualification to conduct religious worship, or your job duties.
If you are under the subcategory of “other religious workers” if you are a person authorized to perform normal religious duties, but are not considered part of the clergy. This includes anyone performing a traditional religious function, such as liturgical workers, religious instructors, religious counselors, cantors, catechists, workers in religious hospitals or religious health care facilities, missionaries, religious translators, or religious broadcasters. It does not cover workers involved in purely nonreligious functions such as janitors, maintenance workers, clerical staff, fundraisers, or even singers. It also does not cover volunteers.
Any bona fide non-profit religious organization can sponsor a religious worker. The organization must have a letter from the IRS showing exemption from income tax as a 501(c)(3) organization, or it must be exempt under a group ruling
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