R1 Visa Is for Those Doing Religious Work in the United States

An R1 Visa is for a foreign national coming to the USfor the time being to work as a minister or in any other religious occupation or vocation at least part of the time (average of 20 hours per week) by:

  • A not-for-profit religious group in the United States.
  • A religious group that is sanctioned by a tax exemption holder groupto use its tax exemption or
  • A non-profit religious groupassociated with a religious group in the United States.

Non-profit occupation

The R1 visa is a visa for non-immigrant that will allow entrance to the United States for service as a minister or another religious occupation. The institution they represent needs be registered as a not for -profit group in the United States or authorized for the use of a group tax exemption status.


This individual needs to have worked for at least the preceding 2-years as a member of a religious denomination and works at least 20 hours each week while in the United States.


When applying for this type Visa, the person needs to provide indication of qualification together with the application. This evidence required to afford will be contingent on whether you will be paid by the religious employer or whether you will be supporting yourself during your stay in the United States. Some of the supporting documents used include:

  • Proof of the religious group tax-exempt status;
  • Proof of the religious organization’s established program of work as missionaries;
  • Evidence of acceptance into this program;
  • Evidence of required responsibilities and duties;
  • Evidence of how the organization will pay you or copies of your bank’s records, depending on who will support you;
  • Copy of any certification or ordination or required education.

Lives dedicated to religious practices

This Visa is intended for those religious workers who have dedicated their lives to their religion and function, as distinguished from any secular members of the religion. In order to qualify, the foreign national needs to have been a member of a denomination that has a non-profit religious status in the United States for at least 2-years immediately prior to filing for this petition.

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