R Religious Visa
The new Immigration Act established the R visa category for religious workers. Religious Workers are defined as aliens who are coming to the United States solely to work for a bona fide nonprofit religious organization or denomination.
In order to qualify for this type of visa, the purpose of the applicant’s trip must be to work either as a minister of religion, or at the request of the organization or affiliated organization in a religious vocation or occupation, whether in a professional (normally requiring a Bachelor’s degree) capacity or not. To qualify, the applicant must be able to show that:
1) He/she is a member of a religious denomination
2) He/she has been a member of the religious denomination for two years immediately preceding admission
3) The religious denomination is nonprofit
4) He/she is coming to pursue a religious vocation or occupation
5) He/she has sufficient funds to support him/herself without recourse to employment other than the religious work for which the visa is granted.
R visas are normally issued for two years. The spouse and children (under the age of 21) of the R visa holder are also entitled to R visas. They may not seek employment in the United States, but are able to attend school.