R-1: Religious Worker

The R1 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 or 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. Spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age may be granted derivative status (as R-2) to enter the U.S. They are not authorized to work unless they have their own work visas, but may attend school. The maximum stay in R-1 status is 5 years. A person can obtain R-1 status again after remaining outside the US for one year before making another application.

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