R-1 Religious Worker Visas

The Takemori Law Firm has served the religious community for more than 1 decade by assisting ministers and religious workers in filing R-1 temporary non-immigrant work visa petitions.

As well, the Takemori Law Firm assists religious workers and ministers in filing I-360 special immigrant petitions for the green card. Our firm has a wealth of knowledge relating to the religious workers’ visas and green card processing, having processed these types of petitions for religious workers of many faiths.

Let us assist you and your church in acquiring the religious workers visa and/or for green card processing.

Green Card for a Religious Worker (Minister or Nonminister)

Congress amended the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) in 1990 to create a special immigrant status for ministers and nonministers in religious vocations and occupations.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible in the religious worker category, you must:

  • Have been a member of a bona fide non-profit religious denomination for at least two years prior to filing Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant
  • Have been working continuously for the past two years immediately prior to filing the immigrant petition:
    • As a religious minister in a religious vocation either professional or non-professional capacity, or
    • In a religious occupation either professional or nonprofessional capacity
  • Seek to enter the United States solely to carry out such religious occupation of the employer’s denomination

Application Process

To apply for a green card while in the United States, you must file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.

Supporting Evidence for Form I-485

You should submit all of the following evidence with your Form I-485:

  • Form I-485 (type or print in black ink)
  • Copy of Form I-797, approval notice for I-360, Petition for AmerasianWidow(er), or Special Immigrant
  • Passport photos, 2″x2″ full-face color frontal view on a white or off-white background (although USCIS now uses your photos taken during fingerprint appointment)
  • Form I-485A, Supplement A, if filed under 245(i)
  • Form G-325A, Biographic Information Sheet, for applicants between ages 14 and 79
  • Form I-693, Medical Examination, signed and sealed by a designated physician
  • Birth certificate or other records of your birth
  • Copies of all passport pages with non-immigrant visas
  • Arrest and criminal history
  • Employment verification letter from petitioner on religious entity’s letterhead, stating your salary and position and that the job is still available
  • Photocopy of the applicant’s current passport and previously issued passports, including biographic/photo pages, current and expired visas, and pages with relevant entry or departure stamps
  • Photocopy of Form I-797 approval notices for all extensions and changes of status
  • Photocopy of the Form I-20 or IAP 66 school records (front and back, including all school annotations)
  • Form G-28, if you have an attorney representing your case

If you are outside the United States, please see the “Consular Processing” webpage.