R-1 Religious Worker Visa
Religious workers can get two types of visas to work in the United States.
B1/B2 Visa for temporary religious activity
Common religious activities can be approved for a visitor (B) visa. Some activities include:
- Worship services
- Religious study
- Prayer and/or worship
- Religious conference
B1/B2 visa for ministers
A minister who wants to come to the U.S. for a short time can usually get a visitor (B) visa. They need to be paid by their own religious group located outside of the U.S.
Caution for high denial countries
Visa applications from some countries are denied more often than others. These countries are called “high denial countries.” To see a list based on 2017, click here. If you are applying from a high denial country, you might want to apply for a different religious worker visa.
R-1 Visa: Temporary Nonimmigrant Religious Workers
An R-1 visa is for religious workers who will only be in the U.S. temporarily. There are standards that the worker and the organization have to meet:
- The worker must prove they have at least a part time job.
- The organization must prove that it is a nonprofit religious organization, or at least connected to a religious organization.
- The organization must explain how the worker will be paid.
- The religious worker should explain the relationship between the organization in their home country and the organization in the U.S.
A religious worker’s spouse and unmarried children who are under age 21 can apply to come with the worker to the U.S.