In 2016, over 617,000 immigrants found themselves in need of US visas. Dallas, TX, which has one of the country’s highest number of immigrants, received many of those applications.
Among the many forms of visas available to immigrants is one relatively unknown option, the R Visa for religious workers. As you would guess, the R Visa might be the right choice for you if:
- You’ve been hired to a job that is religious in nature
- You need a short-term visa
What is the R Visa?
If you are hired to a religious position (like a role as a minister or priest), you are eligible for the R-1 visa. It is a non-immigrant visa, meaning it can’t be a long-term solution. In fact, it only remains in effect for 30 months.
If you are the spouse or child (21 years old or younger) of a R-1 visa recipient, you are eligible for the accompanying R-2 visa. If you are in the United States on a R-2 visa, you cannot accept a job; you would need your own green card or visa.
Who is Eligible for an R Visa?
Besides the underlying religious qualifications, these criteria apply to the R-1 visa:
- You must have been a member of said denomination for at least two years prior to requesting a visa (not necessarily employed by it)
- Your religious position in the US must be with that same denomination
- Your denomination must vouch for your membership and employment
Most individuals qualified for R-1 (and subsequently, R-2) US visas in Dallas, TX, also qualify for green cards, so many choose to go that route.
While you mustn’t necessarily hold the title of pastor, priest, minister or another leadership position, you won’t qualify for the R-1 by accepting a non-religious job at a religious institution (groundskeeping, for example).
When Does an R-1 Visa Expire?
The R-1 visa expires after 30 months, but you can apply to renew it for additional 30-month increments for up to five years total. After the five-year total is used, visa recipients must spend at least one year outside of the US.
Acquiring US Visas in Dallas, TX
While you can use the various online resources at your disposal to properly apply for a visa, the process is difficult and time-consuming. The Law Office of Nathan Christensen PC can help you determine your eligibility and submit a perfect application; any mistakes can disqualify you for the R-1 visa.