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Religious Worker Visa

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    There are several options available to foreigners who are called to do religious work in the United States. Which option is most appropriate depends on the nature of the work and its duration.

    Visitor B Visa for Temporary Religious Activity

    Certain religious related activities can be undertaken using a visitor (B) visa, which is relatively easy to obtain.

    People who wish to travel to the United States for religious activities - such as worship, prayer, meditation, informal religious study, or attendance of religious services or conferences - can typically obtain a regular visitor (B) visa.

    A visitor visa is also appropriate for ministers seeking to come to the United States temporarily, if their wages will be paid by their own religious group outside the United States.

    R-1 Visa for Temporary Nonimmigrant Religious Workers

    Religious workers who will only be in the United States temporarily may be eligible for an R-1 Visa. Both the worker and the organization he or she is working for must meet certain criteria. In short, the worker must prove he or she will work at least part time, and the organization must prove its legitimacy and explain how the worker will be compensated.

    An R-1 religious worker’s spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 may be able to accompany the R-1 worker.

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