Visas for Ministers or Other Religious Workers

Abogados Helping Religious Workers Receive Nonimmigrant Visas in Memphis, TN

Shelby County Minister Visa Lawyer

People come from all over the world to work in the United States in a variety of occupations, but before doing so, it is necessary to obtain a temporary nonimmigrant visa. While many foreign citizens may be eligible for visas allowing them to work in specialty or seasonal occupations, workers who do not fall into these categories may be eligible for other types of nonimmigrant visas. One such category applies to religious workers. At Douglass & Runger, Licenciados en Leyes, we can assist churches, ministers, and religious denominations with meeting the requirements to obtain this type of visa.

R Visas for Religious Workers

R-1 Visas allow people to work in the U.S. in a religious occupation for a non-profit or tax-exempt religious organization. They must work for at least 20 hours per week, and their occupation must be related to traditional religious functions which carry out the beliefs of the organization (that is, they cannot be support staff such as maintenance workers, clerical employees, or fund-raisers).

To apply for an R-1 visa, a religious organization must file Form I-129 (Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker) on behalf of the foreign national worker it wishes to employ. It must also provide evidence of eligibility for this type of visa classification, including documentation from the IRS showing the organization’s tax-exempt status, proof of how the worker will be compensated, and evidence that the worker has been a member of the religious denomination for at least two years.

R-1 visa holders are allowed to stay in the United States for up to 30 months, and they may request an extension of an additional 30 months, for a maximum total stay of five years. A religious worker’s spouse and unmarried minor children may be eligible for R- 2 visas, which will allow them to live in the United States, although they will not be authorized to work.

Religious workers who wish to immigrate to the United States may be eligible for an EB-4 immigrant visa. Employers may apply for this type of visa by filing Form I-360(Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant). After receiving an EB-4 visa, a worker may apply to become a lawful permanent resident by filing Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status).

Contact a Bartlett Immigration Abogado

The process and requirements for applying for a nonimmigrant visa for religious workers are complex. If your religious organization is planning to hire a foreign minister, Douglass & Runger, Licenciados en Leyes can guide you through the visa application process, ensuring that forms are completed and documents are filed correctly. Contact our Memphis immigration lawyers today by calling 901-388- 5805.