Religious Worker (R’s)
The R-1 classification applies to a religious worker. This is an alien coming to the U.S. temporarily to work:
- As a minister of religion,
- As a professional in a religious vocation or occupation, or
- For a bona fide nonprofit religious organization at the request of the organization, in a religious occupation which relates to a traditional religious function.
The applicant (religious worker) must have been a member of a religious denomination having a nonprofit religious organization in the United States for at least the two years immediately prior to the application date. To be eligible, the U.S. petitioning organization must be a nonprofit religious organization granted (or eligible for) tax exempt status, and must demonstrate that it can and will provide for all of the R-1 beneficiary’s financial and physical needs.
If the alien is outside the U.S., he or she may apply directly to a consulate for an R visa. If visa exempt, the alien may apply at a port of entry.
If the alien is inside the U.S., the religious organization may use the I-129 to petition for a change of status, extension of stay, or change of employment.
Dependents (spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age) of R-1 workers are entitled to R-2 status with the same restrictions as the principal. Dependents may be students in the U.S., but may not be employed under the R-2 classification. Note: Dependents should file for a change of status or extension of stay on Form I-539 (Application to Extend/change Nonimmigrant Status).
Employing Canadian and Mexican Professionals Under NAFTA
The 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) makes temporary employment in the U.S. easier for certain Canadian and Mexican workers. NAFTA created a new classification, “TN,” for eligible Canadian and Mexican professional workers and also affected terms of admission for Canadians admitted to the U.S. under other nonimmigrant classifications.
TN employment must be in a profession listed in Appendix 1603.0.1 to NAFTA and the TN employee must possess the credentials required. There is no annual limit on TN-1 admissions from Canada or Mexico.
Dependents (spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age) of TN professionals are entitled to TD status with the same restrictions as the principal. Dependents may be students in the U.S., but may not be employed under the TD status.
TN Canadian or Mexican Citizen under NAFTA
The TN classification applies to a Canadian or Mexican citizen seeking admission as a professional temporarily under the North American Free Trade Agreement.
For details on how to apply for a R-1 visa, please check here for our R-1 checklist.