Whether it is the mission of a pair of earnest young Mormons wanting to share Part III of the Bible with cynical Manhattanites or a church group headed to spread God’s love to the developing world, people have traveled to advocate for their respective religions for many years.
If a person from a foreign country wants to spread the word in the USA, they will need to complete some paperwork first.
A Temporary Religious Worker’s Visa (R-1) is issued to people who want to work in a religious job in the U.S. An R Visa USA is a temporary visa.
What are the Requirements to get an R-1
If a person has recently been saved, seen the light, or has otherwise become indoctrinated into a particular faith, they are going to have to wait for a bit before sharing their beliefs in America. You must be a practicing member of a religion for two years before doing religious work in the states.
You will be required to work as either a minister or have a religious vocation in the states. You must work at least 20 hours a week and be employed by an actual church in the U.S.
Can I use a Visitor’s Visa?
If you have a Visitor’s B Visa, there are some types of religious work in which you may be able to participate. If you wish to work on a Visitor’s Visa, you should be employed by a church that is outside of the United States.
You also may be able to do some casual work in the states, such as bible study, meditation, and prayer guidance. It is okay to participate in conferences and missions to help the elderly or impoverished.
The Process for Getting a Religious Worker’s Visa
When you apply for any visa to come to the United States, you will do so at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Before you apply for a religious worker’s visa, a potential employer must fill out a Petition for Non-Immigrant work. The form will ask basic questions about where you will stay, the nature of your work, and the dates that you will visit the country.
You will also have to upload a photograph of yourself to The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services website. The USCIS will do a full background check and let your employer know if you have been approved or denied.
Unless you are under 13 or over 80, you will have to be interviewed before receiving your Visa. The amount of time you must wait for your interview will depend on your country of origin and why you are traveling. Work visa interviews generally have longer wait times than do student or visitor or student interviews.
You will need an updated passport to travel. You will be fingerprinted at your interview. They basically want to establish the purpose for which you are traveling and that you are not committing fraud. If you are traveling on a Religious Workers Visa, you would be well advised to do so for an established religion as opposed to one that was recently founded.
Hiring a Lawyer
It is always a good idea for the organization to sponsor your employment to hire an immigration attorney. Immigration law is complex and it helps to have a trained attorney in your corner.
People find comfort and camaraderie at church or temple. A trained attorney can make your visa process go smoothly, so you can make your mission a successful one.