Religious Workers R Visa Attorney

The “R” visa is for individuals seeking to enter the United States to work in a religious capacity on a temporary basis.


Religious workers include individuals authorized by a recognized employing entity to conduct religious worship and to 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 exempt from taxation, or the religious denomination qualifies for tax- exempt status (such as 501(c)(3)); and
  • The applicant has been a member of the particular denomination for two years immediately preceding the application for an R visa.
  • 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 United States 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 United States for the immediate prior year if he or she has previously spent five years in this classification.


  • If the applicant is a minister, he or she must be authorized to conduct religious worship for that denomination. The duties should be described in detail; or
  • If the applicant is a religious professional, he or she has at least a baccalaureate degree or its equivalent, and that such a degree is required for entry into the religious profession; or
  • If the applicant is to work in a nonprofessional vocation or occupation, he or she is qualified if the type of work to be done relates to a traditional religious function;
  • The arrangements for remuneration, including the amount and source of salary, other types of compensation such as food and housing, and any other benefits to which a monetary value may be affixed, and a statement whether such remuneration shall be in exchange for services rendered;
  • The name and location of the specific organizational unit of the religious denomination or affiliate for which the applicant will be providing services;
  • If the alien is to work for an organization that is affiliated with a religious denomination, a description of the nature of the relationship between the two organizations;
  • Evidence of the religious organization’s assets and methods of operation; and
  • The organization’s papers of incorporation under applicable state law.


  • You can legally work in the U.S. for the sponsor employer;
  • R visa holders and their dependents can stay in the U.S. for an initial period of 3 years.
  • Your spouse and children under 21 can accompany you, live and study in the U.S.
  • You can freely travel in the U.S.
  • You may be eligible to apply for US permanent residency through your sponsoring employer.

If you are in need of an attorney experienced in applying for R Visas and would like to arrange for a consultation via telephone, email, internet phone or in person, please contact Colombo & Hurd, PL today for your consultation at 1 (800) 549-5523.