How does a person qualify for a religious visa?

by | Dec 7, 2020 | Immigration

People come to the United States for different reasons. They may want to marry an American. They may wish to find work that they cannot get in their home country. But you might have a different reason to want to reside in the U.S. You may feel you have a religious calling to be here. 

If you are a minister or a religious worker in some capacity, you have a way to visit the U.S. for a period of time. A religious visa, known as an R-1 visa, can grant you residency. The State Department website explains how you may qualify for one of these visas. 

Religious requirements

An R-1 visa allows you to stay in the United States for up to 30 months, although you may file for an extension for an additional 30 months. To qualify, you must have been a member of a religious denomination for no less than two years. The purpose of your stay in the United States must be to do work as a minister or in an occupation or vocation of a religious nature. 

However, it is not enough to just be a member of a religion or religious denomination. A non-profit religious organization based in the United States must employ you. As an alternative, you may qualify for a visa if an organization that currently affiliates with your religious denomination has hired you. 

A requirement to work

Like other visas, you must hold a job while you reside in the United States. You may work full time, but it is not necessary. The U.S. government could qualify you for a religious visa if you at least have a part time job and work an average of no less than 20 hours each week.