R-1 Visa2018-03-13T01:36:08+00:00

R-1 Visa

The Religious Worker (R) visa is for persons seeking to enter the United States (U.S.) to work in a religious capacity on a temporary basis, under provisions of U.S. law, specifically the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Our approach to processing R-1 Visas

An R-1 is a foreign national who could be temporarily employed at least part time (average of at least 20 hours per week) by a non-profit religious organization in the United States (or an organization which is affiliated with the religious denomination in the United States) to work as a minister or in a religious vocation or occupation.

Important Note: It is very important for prospective employers to file the petition as soon as possible (but not more than 6 months before the proposed employment will begin) to provide adequate time for petition and subsequent visa processing.

Religious workers include persons authorized, by a recognized employing entity, to conduct religious worship and perform other duties usually performed by authorized members of the clergy of that religion, and workers engaging in a religious vocation or occupation.

  • The applicant must be a member of a religious denomination having a bona fide nonprofit religious organization in the U.S.;
  • The religious denomination and its affiliate, if applicable, are either exempt from taxation or qualifies for tax-exempt status; and
  • The applicant has been a member of the denomination for two years immediately preceding applying for religious worker status. The applicant is planning to work as a minister of that denomination, or in a religious occupation or vocation for a bona fide, non-profit religious organization (or a tax-exempt affiliate of such an organization). There is no requirement that individuals applying for “R” visas have a residence abroad that they have no intention of abandoning. However, they must intend to depart the U.S. at the end of their lawful status, absent specific indications or evidence to the contrary. The applicant has resided and been physically present outside the U.S. for the immediate prior year, if he or she has previously spent five years in this category.

Every petition for an R-1 worker must be filed by a prospective or existing U.S. employer through the filing of a Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker. An R-1 visa cannot be issued at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad without prior approval of Form I-129 by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). If the foreign national is visa-exempt (e.g. Canadian), he or she must present the original Form I-797, Notice of Action, reflecting an approval of a valid I-129 R petition at a port of entry.

Important Note: Visa applicants must bring the approved I-129 petition receipt number to the interview, so that petition approval can be verified.

There are certain general requirements which must be satisfied by the petitioning organization as well as by the religious worker, the beneficiary of the petition. These requirements are listed in the chart below.

The petitioning employer must submit Form I-129 including the R-1 Classification Supplement signed by the employer as well as the following supporting documents:

Supporting Documents Required for the Religious Organization

Supporting Documents Required for the Religious Worker

Proof of tax-exempt status
· If the religious organization has its own individual IRS 501(c)(3) letter, provide a currently valid determination letter from the IRS establishing that the organization is a tax-exempt organization
· If the organization is recognized as tax-exempt under a group tax-exemption, provide a group ruling
· If the organization is affiliated with the religious denomination, provide:
A currently valid determination letter from the IRS;
Documentation that establishes the religious nature and purpose of the organization;
Organizational literature; and
A religious denomination certification, which is part of the R-1 Classification Supplement to Form I-129 (see the links to the right).
Proof of salaried or non-salaried compensation
· Verifiable evidence of how the organization intends to compensate the religious worker, including specific monetary or in-kind compensation. Evidence of compensation may include:
Past evidence of compensation for similar positions
Budgets showing monies set aside for salaries, leases, etc.
Evidence that room and board will be provided to the religious worker
If IRS documentation, such as IRS Form W-2 or certified tax returns, is available, it must be provided
If IRS documentation is not available, an explanation for its absence must be provided, along with comparable, verifiable documentation
If the religious worker will be self-supporting
· Documents that establish the religious worker will hold a position that is part of an established program for temporary, uncompensated missionary work, which is part of a broader international program of missionary work sponsored by the denomination
· Evidence that establishes that the organization has an established program for temporary, uncompensated missionary work in which:
Foreign workers, whether compensated or uncompensated, have previously participated in R-1 status;
Missionary workers are traditionally uncompensated;
The organization provides formal training for missionaries; and
Participation in such missionary work is an established element of religious development in that denomination.
· Evidence that establishes that the organization’s religious denomination maintains missionary programs both in the United States and abroad
· Evidence of the religious worker’s acceptance into the missionary program
· Evidence of the duties and responsibilities associated with this traditionally uncompensated missionary work
· Copies of the religious worker’s bank records, budgets documenting the sources of self-support (including personal or family savings, room and board with host families in the United States, donations from the denomination’s churches), or other verifiable evidence acceptable to USCIS
Proof of membership
· Evidence that the religious worker is a member of a religious denomination having a bona fide non-profit religious organization in the United States for at least 2 years immediately preceding the filing of Form I-129
If the religious worker will be working as a minister, provide:
· A copy of the religious worker’s certificate of ordination or similar documents
· Documents reflecting acceptance of the religious worker’s qualification as a minister in the religious denomination, as well as evidence that the religious worker has completed any course of prescribed theological education at an accredited theological institution normally required or recognized by that religious denomination. Include transcripts, curriculum, and documentation that establishes that the theological institution is accredited by the denomination
· If the denominations do not require a prescribed theological education, provide:
The religious denomination’s requirements for ordination to minister
A list of duties performed by virtue of ordination
The denomination’s levels of ordination, if any, and
Evidence of the religious worker’s completion of the denomination’s requirements for ordination
Proof of previous R-1 employment (for extension of stay as an R-1)
· If you received salaried compensation, provide IRS documentation that you received a salary, such as an IRS Form W-2 or certified copies of filed income tax returns reflecting such work and compensation for the previous R-1 employment
· If you received non-salaried compensation:
If IRS documentation is available, provide IRS documentation of the non-salaried compensation
If IRS documentation is not available, provide an explanation for the absence of IRS documentation and verifiable evidence of all financial support, including stipends, room and board, or other support for you with a description of the location where you lived, a lease to establish where you lived, or other evidence acceptable to USCIS
· If you received no salary but provided for your own support and that of any dependents, provide verifiable documents to show how support was maintained, such as audited financial statements, financial institution records, brokerage account statements, trust documents signed by an attorney, or other evidence acceptable to USCIS

Period of Stay

An R-1 status may be granted for an initial period of admission for up to 30 months. An extension of an R-1 status may be granted for up to an additional 30 months. The total stay in the United States in an R-1 status cannot exceed 60 months (5 years).

Family of R-1 Visa Holders

R-1 worker’s spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 may be eligible for R-2 classification. The dependents of an R-1 worker may not accept employment while in the United States in R-2 status.

12Mar, 2012

R-1 Visa Memorandum

This memorandum provides instruction to Immigration Service Officers who adjudicate R-1 nonimmigrant petitions for aliens who are coming to the [...]

December 2021 Visa bulletin filing table and additional H-1B CAP selection

Visa Bulletin for December

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/legal/visa-law0/visa-bulletin/2022/visa-bulletin-for-december-2021.html

For Family-Sponsored Filings:

In the F2A category, there is a cutoff date on the Dates for Filing chart. However, the category is “current” on the Final Action Dates chart. This means that applicants in the F2A category may file using the Final Action Dates chart in the Department of State Visa Bulletin for December 2021.

For all the other family-sponsored preference categories, you must use the Dates for Filing chart in the Department of State Visa Bulletin for December 2021.

For Employment-Based Preference Filings:USCIS will not accept any new employment-based fifth preference adjustment of status applications based on the Regional Center Program until that program is reauthorized.  For all other employment-based preference categories, you must use the Dates for Filing chart in the Department of State Visa Bulletin for December 2021.

USCIS Conducts Third Random Selection from Previously Submitted FY 2022 H-1B Cap Registrationshttps://www.uscis.gov/newsroom/alerts/uscis-conducts-third-random-selection-from-previously-submitted-fy-2022-h-1b-cap-registrations

On November 11th, USCIS announced that it had determined that it needed to select additional registrations to reach the fiscal year (FY) 2022 H-1B numerical allocations, including the advanced degree exemption. On Nov. 19, USCIS selected from among previously submitted electronic registrations using a random selection process. The petition filing period based on registrations selected on Nov. 19 will begin on Nov. 22, 2021, and close on Feb. 23, 2022. Individuals with selected registrations will have their myUSCIS accounts updated to include a selection notice, which includes details about when and where to file.

USCIS Releases Policy changes for Employment Authorization for Certain H-4, E, and L Non immigrant Dependent Spouses

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has issued policy guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual to address automatic extension of employment authorization for certain H-4, E, and L nonimmigrant dependent spouses. USCIS is also rescinding the 2002 Legacy Immigration and Naturalization Service memorandum entitled, “Guidance on Employment Authorization for E and L Nonimmigrant Spouses, and for Determinations on the Requisite Employment Abroad for L Blanket Petition”. This guidance, contained in Volume 10 of the Policy Manual, is effective immediately. The guidance contained in the Policy Manual is controlling and supersedes any related prior guidance.

Policy Highlights

  • Provides that certain H-4, E, or L dependent spouses qualify for automatic extension of their existing employment authorization and accompanying EAD if they properly filed an application to renew their H-4, E, or L-based EAD before it expires, and they have an unexpired Form I-94 showing their status as an H-4, E, or L nonimmigrant, as applicable.
  • Provides that the automatic extension of the EAD will continue until the earlier of: the end date on Form I-94 showing valid status, the approval or denial of the EAD renewal application, or 180 days from the date of expiration of the previous EAD.
  • Provides that the following combination of documents evidence the automatic extension of the previous EAD, and are acceptable to present to employers for Form I-9 purposes: Form I-94 indicating the unexpired nonimmigrant status (H-4, E, or L), Form I-797C for a timely-filed EAD renewal application (Form I-765) stating “Class requested” as “(a)(17),” “(a)(18),” or “(c)(26),” and the facially expired EAD issued under the same category (that is, indicating Category A17, A18, or C26).
  • Provides that E and L dependent spouses are employment authorized incident to their status and therefore they are no longer required to request employment authorization by filing Form I-765 but may continue to file Form I-765 if they choose to receive an EAD.

Note, however, that until such time as USCIS can implement changes to the I-94 to distinguish E and L spouses from E and L children, E and L spouses would still need to rely upon an EAD as evidence of employment authorization to present to employers for completion of Form I-9. Until the notation on Form I-94 issued to E and L dependent nonimmigrants is revised, Form I-94 solely indicating E or L nonimmigrant status is insufficient evidence of employment authorization under List C of Form I-9.

Automatic EAD Extension for Nonimmigrant Spouses

Washington, DC – In a historic settlement with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in Shergill, et al. v. Mayorkas, there will be forthcoming changes made to the Employment Authorization Document (EADs) for H-4 and L-2 dependents.

The litigation successfully achieved the reversal of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) policy that prevented H-4 spouses from benefiting from automatic extension of their employment authorization. The individuals covered by the Settlement Agreement are: 1. L-2 nonimmigrants who are the spouse of an L-1 nonimmigrant; and 2. Qualifying H-4 dependent spouses who a) properly file an application to renew their H-4 based EAD before it expires; b) have an unexpired Form I-94 showing their status as an H-4 nonimmigrant; and c) will continue to have H-4 status beyond the expiration date of their EAD.

USCIS will interpret 8 CFR § 274a.13(d) such that certain H-4 nonimmigrants who timely file their I-765 EAD renewal applications and continue to have H-4 status beyond the expiration date of their EAD qualify for the automatic extension of their (c)(26)-based employment authorization and EADs. Such auto-extensions terminate the earlier of: the end date of the individual’s H-4 status as noted on Form I-94, the approval or denial of the Form I-765 EAD renewal application, or 180 days from the “Card Expires” date on the face of the EAD. 2. USCIS will issue appropriate guidance to employers and benefit granting agencies.

Additionally, USCIS will issue policy guidance that states that L-2 spouses are employment authorized incident to status and, in cooperation with CBP, change the Form I-94, within 120 days of the Effective Date, to indicate that the bearer is an L-2 spouse so that it can be used as a List C document for Form I-9 purposes.

Read the full Settlement Agreement (PDF)

White House Rescinds Current Regional COVID Travel Bans and Imposes Vaccination Requirement

On October 25, 2021, President Biden announced a presidential proclamation titled “A Proclamation on Advancing the Safe Resumption of Global Travel During the COVID-⁠19 Pandemic”. Effective on November 8, 2021, at 12:01 am (ET), the proclamation moves away from country-by-country travel restrictions and adopts an air travel policy that relies primarily on vaccination, with limited exceptions.

The memo states:

This proclamation governs the entry into the United States of noncitizen nonimmigrants — that is, noncitizens who are visiting the United States or otherwise being admitted temporarily — traveling to the United States by air. It suspends the entry of unvaccinated noncitizen nonimmigrants, except in limited circumstances, and it ensures that the entry of unvaccinated noncitizen nonimmigrants is consistent with applicable health and safety determinations made by the Director of the CDC, including a requirement that, where appropriate, such individuals agree and arrange to become fully vaccinated against COVID-19 upon their arrival.

See also,

White House Fact Sheet on New Requirements

FAQs on New Requirements for Vaccination Prior to International Travel

Requirement for Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination for Air Passengers

Employment Based Green Card (EB3) w/Child Aging Out

Hi Andres and Mr. Kidambi,

I have been meaning to write to you for some time. This past labor day makes it 17 years in this country. I remember landing in JFK in 2004 on Labor day weekend. Thank you for being part of my journey in celebrating this 17th anniversary, especially with a Green card.  You have been through the thick and thin of it all. I appreciate your work and support.

— Mary. S.

Yasmin Blackburn, Esq. Appointed to The National Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee

Kidambi & Associates, P.C. is proud to announce that Attorney Yasmin A. Blackburn, who has been with the Firm for over 17 years and is a Senior Associate, has been appointed to The National Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee by the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Attorney Blackburn oversees several areas of practice including labor certification for the Firm. She has extensive business immigration experience handling H, L, TN, VAWA and complex EB-1 Multinational Management. She also advises companies on a range of workplace issues, including immigration and I-9 compliance, and E-Verify best practices.

Attorney Blackburn earned her law degree from the Beasley School of Law at Temple University and her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Iowa State University.

About the AILA Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee

The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee is charged with promoting full and equal participation of all members in chapters, committees and groups including lawyers of varying genders, national origins, racial and ethnic backgrounds, sexual orientation and gender identity, religious beliefs, age, marital status, geographic location, and lawyer with disabilities; expanding the diversity of access to leadership opportunities; and to assuring that the immigration bar reflects the society it serves.

WORKING THROUGH THE PANDEMIC – Office Working Hours and Petition Filing Procedure

Dear Client,

Your immigration is our priority. Please stay safe while we continue to assist you during this global crisis. In keeping with the nationwide trend, our office has resorted to  a hybrid model of working in person and remotely all five days of the week. You may continue to call the Office and enter your caseworker’s extension to be connected. However, the best way to reach us is via email.

From time to time, we will keep you informed of the latest through this post.

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

O-1 Visa for Tennis Coach. 221(g) at U.S. Embassy in Nairobi and Subsequent Approval

Guess what. I can’t wait to break the news to you. I finally got my visa for the work permit !!!

I want to say a big thank you. You and your company are just really good .You have really been supportive all through, even when I was initially refused, you still made yourself available for all my correspondence and you keep advising.

— Andrew R.

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