Working in the United States
Supporting Documents Required for the Religious Organization
Supporting Documents Required for the Religious Worker
Proof of tax-exempt status
Proof of salaried or non-salaried compensation
If the religious worker will be self-supporting
Copies of the religious worker’s bank records or budgets documenting the sources of self-support. This may include, but is not limited to, personal or family savings, room and board with host families in the United States, donations from the denomination’s churches, or other verifiable evidence
Proof of membership
If the religious worker will be working as a minister, provide:
Proof of previous R-1 employment (for extension of stay as an R-1)
Period of Stay
USCIS may grant R-1 status for an initial period of admission for up to 30 months. Subsequent extensions may be granted for up to an additional 30 months. The religious worker’s total period of stay in the United States in R-1 classification cannot exceed 5 years (60 months).
USCIS counts only time spent physically in the United States in valid R-1 status toward the maximum period of stay. See the related policy memo for details.
Family of R-1 Visa Holders
An R-1 religious worker’s spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 may be eligible for R-2 classification. An R-2 dependent is not authorized to accept employment based on this visa classification.
For information about petitioning for a permanent immigrant religious worker, see the “Permanent Workers” link to the left and select “Employment-Based Immigration: Fourth Preference EB-4.”
- Procedures for Calculating the Maximum Period of Stay for R-1 Nonimmigrants (AFM Update AD12-03) (70 KB PDF)
- Questions and Answers: Religious Worker National Stakeholder Engagement
- Fact Sheet: Final Rule for Religious Worker Visa Classifications
- Form M-736, Optional Checklist for Nonimmigrant Religious Workers Filing Form I-129 (372 KB PDF)
- I-129,Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker
- Direct Filing Addresses for Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker
- Employment Based Forms