R-1 Visa

The R-1 Visa enables religious workers to temporarily enter the United States. A religious vocation is defined as a calling to religious life, shown by a demonstration of a lifelong commitment; for instance, taking vows. Nuns, monks, and religious brothers and sisters are examples of religious workets. A religious occupation is defined as a continual engagement in an activity related to a traditional religious function. This definition includes liturgical workers, religious instructors or cantors, catechists, workers in religious hospitals, missionaries, religious translators and religious broadcasters. However, it doesn’t include janitors, maintenance workers, clerks, fund raisers or solicitors of donations. Your spouse and/or unmarried children under 21 years of age may be granted derivative status to enter the US They are not authorized to work while in the US, but may attend school.


You should apply for an R-1 Visa at the US Embassy or Consulate with jurisdiction over your place of permanent residence. While you may apply at any US consular office abroad, this method is more difficult. You do not have to maintain a residence abroad which you have no intention of abandoning, but must intend to leave the US at the end of your R-1l status.


The following documents are required for the R-1 Visa:

  1. A filled-in visa application Form DS-156.
  2. One recent photograph 1 & 1/2 inches square (37mm x 37mm) of each applicant, with the entire face visible. The picture should be taken before a light background and without head covering.
  3. A passport, valid for travel to the United States for at least six months longer than your intended visit.

You will also need to provide the following documents:

  1. Proof of tax-exempt status or eligibility for tax-exempt status.
  2. A letter from an authorized official of employing organization certifying your position in your organization, and the nature of the organization.