According to the US Travel State Gov Generally, a citizen of a foreign country who wishes to enter the United States must first obtain a visa, either a nonimmigrant visa for temporary stay or an immigrant visa for permanent residence. Likewise, the R-Visa category is a temporary stay visa for religious workers, that permits holders to temporarily work in religious capacities in the United States.
The US Department of State notes that to be eligible for a Temporary Religious Work Visa (R-visa), you must
- Be a member of the same religious denomination as the religious organization you plan to work for in the United States for at least two years before that organization files a petition on your behalf;
- Be coming to work at least part-time, an average of at least 20 hours per week as a minister or in a religious vocation or occupation in the United States;
- Have a Petition for a non-immigrant worker filed on your behalf by a prospective employer and approved by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
The US Department of State encourages prospective employers to file the petition as soon as possible (but not more than 6 months before the proposed employment will begin) in order to provide adequate time for the petition and subsequent visa processing.
Required Documents to apply for the Temporary Religious Work Visa (R-visa)
- International Passport with at least 6 months of remaining validity
- Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160 confirmation page
- Application fee payment receipt, if you are required to pay before your interview
- 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.
- Two (2) Passport Photographs
- Proof of residency.