Danbury and New Haven Connecticut Immigration Lawyers - Law Offices of Michael Boyle - Religious Worker Visas
Religious Worker Visas

Visas for Religious Workers

Individuals can pursue a religious worker visa to obtain worker status in the United States. A religious worker visa (R-1 visa) is a long-term temporary visa that allows individuals to reside in the United States for the purpose of pursuing religious work. Some religious workers can also apply for green cards.

In late 2008, USCIS introduced new rules that significantly complicated visa processing for religious workers. Eliibility rules were tightened, and now all applications must be approved by USCIS. It is no longer possible to apply for an R-1 visa directly at a U.S. consulate abroad. The process has become more difficult for both large and small churches.

Our lawyers can help you file applications for religious workers. We have experience representing different faiths, inlcuding Catholic dioceses and religious orders, Pentecostal and other Protestant churches, large and small, and a Buddhist temple. At the Law Office of Michael Boyle, each of our attorneys is experienced and dedicated to providing exceptional representation to assist our clients in applications for visas and green cards.

Our attorneys are dedicated to protecting religious freedom in the United States and helping chruches sponsor the religious workers they need in order to fulfill their mission.

Contact us for more information on how to obtain a religious worker visa.

R temporary visas for religious workers
Ministers and other full-time religious workers who have been members of a religious organization for two years prior to their application can qualify for R visas to come to the U.S. to perform religious work for the sponsoring organization. R visa applications must initially be processed at a USCIS Service Center, even if the applicant is overseas. The religious work must be full-time, and neither the principal applicant nor any other family members can hold nonreligious employment. R visas can be issued for an initial period of up to thirty months and renewed for a total stay of up to five years. These applications are likely to be very closely scrutinized, especially where the religious organization is small or the applicant is currently in the U.S. on a visitor visa.

Green cards for religious workers
Ministers and other full-time religious workers who have worked full-time for a religious organization in the U.S. or overseas for the two years immediately prior to applying can qualify for permanent residence as a religious worker for the sponsoring organization. The finances of the sponsoring organization and the qualifications of the religious worker will have to be carefully documented. USCIS expects the religious worker's qualifying experience to have been salaried, although some exceptions ought to be available, particularly for monks or nuns.

In addition to R-1 visas, we also handle R-2 visas and green cards for religious workers' family members.

Contact the Law Office of Michael Boyle today to schedule an initial consultation with an experienced immigration lawyer. We serve clients in Greater New Haven, Danbury, and throughout Connecticut.

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