R-1 Religious Workers

At Rabinowitz & Rabinowitz, P.C., our Dallas, Frisco, and North Texas lawyers have taken great satisfaction in representing religious workers of diverse denominations including Catholic, Baptist, Episcopal, Jewish, Christian Science, Buddhist and others. We warmly welcome you to contact our office to schedule an evaluation of your or your prospective religious worker’s eligibility for U.S. immigration law benefits. We look forward to being of service to those who are of such special service to others.

One of the unique joys of immigration law practice is assisting with the entry of religious workers into the United States, whether on a temporary basis as an R-1 nonimmigrant or on a permanent basis as an employment-based 4th preference immigrant.

R-1 nonimmigrant status is available to persons who for the 2 years immediately preceding the time of application for admission to the U.S., have been a member of a religious denomination have a bona fide nonprofit, religious denomination in the U.S.; who will work at least part-time (an average of at least 20 hours per week) in a qualifying position in the U.S.; and who seek to enter the U.S. for a period not to exceed 5 years to perform qualifying religious work. Denominational membership abroad must be the same religious denomination as that of the U.S. religious organization where the individual will work. The applicant must seek to enter the U.S. solely for the purpose of carrying on the vocation of a minister of that religious denomination; in order to work for the organization at the request of the organization in a professional capacity in a religious vocation or occupation; or in order to work for the organization (or a bona fide organization which is affiliated with the religious denomination and is exempt from taxation ) at the request of the organization in a religious vocation or occupation.

Ministers must be fully authorized by the religious denomination and fully trained according to the denomination’s standards to conduct religious worship and perform other duties ordinarily performed by authorized members of the clergy of that organization; lay preachers do not qualify. Religious occupations involve duties that relate to a traditional religious function, that primarily relate to carrying out the religious creed and beliefs of the denomination, and that are not primarily administrative or support duties. Religious vocations are those involving a formal lifetime commitment to a religious way of life, including nuns, monks, and religious brothers and sisters.

Unlike employment-based 4th preference immigrant religious workers, the prospective R-1 nonimmigrant religious worker need not have been working as a minister, or carrying on the vocation, professional or other qualifying religious work continuously for at least the two-year period immediately preceding the time of application for admission to the U.S. For R-1 nonimmigrants, it is only a two-year period of membership in the denomination that is required.