Religious organizations often have reason or need to bring in ministers or other religious workers from other countries.
If a person from a religious affiliation wishes to go to the United States to serve there, what visa is available to them?
What the R-1 visa allows
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services discuss the R-1 nonimmigrant religious worker visa. This visa allows a person to stay within the United States for a period of up to 30 months doing work for a non-profit religious organization. They are also eligible for a one-time extension of another 30 months.
This allows for a maximum allowance of 5 years within the country. Fortunately, after 2 years of working, the person is eligible to apply for permanent residency, otherwise known as a green card. Green card holders have the ability to stay indefinitely within the United States and gain numerous residency benefits.
What the applicant must abide by
Of course, the organization must first file the necessary paperwork and then the individual needs to apply for the visa. This process must be clear and free of all mistakes in order to avoid set-backs and longer wait times, as well as the potential of legal repercussions for some mistakes.
Many requirements must also be met by the individual applying for a visa. For example, they need to work a minimum of 20 hours a week and must only do work for the religious organization in question. This means they are not allowed to have side-jobs or additional work that does not revolve around the church or its furtherance, which is crucial to remember.