Temporary Visas

R-1 religious workers may come to work temporarily in a religious profession, vocation or occupation for a tax-exempt U.S. religious organization in the faith and denomination of which that worker has been an active member for at least the past 2 years. Under a new rule published on 11/26/2008, the U.S. religious organization needs to file a petition even if the worker is abroad; a religious worker may no longer apply for the R-1 visa directly at an Embassy without an approved petition. Initial admission in R-1 status is for thirty months, and the maximum stay allowed is 60 months (five years). Proof of compensation must be included with the petition – all R-1 nonimmigrants must receive compensation in the form of either salary, or room and board, unless they are coming to the U.S. to work as missionaries as part of an established, international missionary service program within their religious denomination, in which case evidence of that program must be provided, along with evidence of how they will be supported during their stay in the U.S. R-2 visas are available to family dependents, who are ineligible to work.