R-1 Visas are available to members of the clergy and also to key employees of religious organizations. The R-1 Visa enables religious workers to temporarily enter the United States. A religious vocation is defined as a calling to religious life, shown by a demonstration of a lifelong commitment; for instance, taking vows. Nuns, monks, and religious brothers and sisters are examples of religious workers. A religious occupation is defined as a continual engagement in an activity related to a traditional religious function. This definition includes liturgical workers, religious instructors or cantors, catechists, workers in religious hospitals, missionaries, religious translators and religious broadcasters. However, it doesn’t include janitors, maintenance workers, clerks, fund raisers or solicitors of donations.
The spouse and/or unmarried children under 21 years of age may be granted derivative status to enter the U.S. They are not authorized to work while in the U.S., but may attend school.
The petitioning organization files an I -129 petition along with supporting documentation with the USCIS. Once the petition has been approved, the Beneficiary of the approved petition applies for the R-1 Visa at the US Embassy or Consulate with jurisdiction over the place of his/her permanent residence. One does not need to maintain a residence abroad which one has no intention of abandoning, but must intend to leave the U.S. at the end of your R-l status.
To get a list of documents that must be submitted at the time of interview, please visit the website for the U.S. Consulate where the visa application is being submitted.