UNITED STATES R-1 Visa For Nonimmigrant Religious Workers

Application Fee:



Processing Time:


8 - 9 Months

Table of Contents

Temporary religious worker (R-1 Visa) is for persons who wish to enter the United States to work temporarily in religious capacities.

Who Is It For

An R-1 visa nonimmigrant is someone who is coming to the United States temporarily to work at part time (an average of at least 20 hours per week) or full time as a minister or in a religious work and be employed by a:

  • Non-profit religious organization in the US
  • Religious organization that is approved by a group tax exemption holder to use its group tax exemption
  • Non-profit organization which is associated with a religious denomination in the United States.

To be eligible, you must have been with a religious denomination having a bona fide non-profit religious organization in the United States for at least two years immediately before filing the petition.

How to Qualify?

As a Nonimmigrant Temporary Religious Worker, You Must fulfill below requirements to get R-1 visa USA:

  • Have at least two years’ work experience in the same organisation that will petition on your behalf.
  • be coming to perform as a minister or in a religious occupation in the United States;
  • be contracted by a non-profit religious organization in the United States (or an organization affiliated with the religious denomination in the United States); and
  • be working at least part time, or at least 20 hours/week.


How to apply for R-1 visa application?

Complete the Online Visa Application

Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160 

Photo – You will upload your photo while completing the online Form DS-160.

Documents Needed

Gather and prepare the following required documents before your visa interview:

  • Passport: Your passport must be valid for travel to the United States 
  • Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160confirmation page
  • Application fee payment receipt, if you are required to pay before your interview
  • Photo – You will upload your photo while completing the online Form DS-160.
  • Receipt Number for your approved petition as it appears on your Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, Form I-129, or Notice of Action, Form I-797, from USCIS.

Additional Documentation May Be Required

Review the instructions for how to apply for a visa on the website of the embassy or consulate where you will apply. Additional documents may be requested to establish if you are qualified.

Government Fees

The Government Fees to apply for R-1 visa is $460.

Additional Information

Attend Your Visa Interview

During your visa interview, visa officer will decide whether you are qualified to be approved a visa, and if so, which visa category is suitable based on your purpose of travel. You will need to demonstrate that you meet the requirements under U.S. law to obtain the category of visa for which you are applying. 

As a part of the process, Ink-free, digital fingerprint scans will be taken. They are generally taken during your interview, but this varies based on country.

Once your visa interview is done, your application may require additional administrative procedures. You will be updated by the consular officer if further processing is necessary for your visa application.

When the visa is approved, you may pay a visa issuance fee if applicable to your nationality, and will be informed how your passport with visa will be returned to you. Review the visa processing time, to learn how soon your passport with visa will generally be ready for pick-up or delivery by the courier.

Spouse and Children

Your spouse and unmarried children under age 21 may apply for R-2 visas to accompany or join you to reside temporarily. you need to demonstrate that you are going to be ready to financially support your family in the US . they’re permitted to study while in the us , but don’t seem to be authorized to accept employment.

For information about employment or study while in the us , review Religious (R) Workers and Employment Authorization on the USCIS website.

Things to remember:

Petition approval by USCIS does not guarantee visa approval. You must not make any travel plan before you get your visa approval.

Unless canceled or revoked, a visa is valid until its expiration date. Therefore, a valid U.S. visa in an expired passport remains valid. If you’ve got a legitimate visa in your expired passport, don’t remove it from your expired passport. you’ll use your valid visa in your expired passport along side a new valid passport for travel and admission to the US .

Source: U.S. Department of State