R1 Visa Stamping Documents

You should apply at the U.S. embassy/consulate that has jurisdiction over your place of permanent residence. Even though you are allowed to apply for the visa at any U.S. embassy/consulate abroad, it is generally more difficult to get the visa outside your country of permanent residence and in many cases, you may be asked to go back to the embassy/consulate that has jurisdiction over your place of permanent residence.

You will need the following documents for getting R-1 visa. 

Mandatory documents

  • Current passport as well as old old passports 

  • One photograph (Only for dropbox appointment)

  • Confirmation page of online submitted Form DS-160 with CEAC bar code. 

  • Visa fees
    Fees to be paid in advance before making an appointment.

  • Original interview appointment letter and one copy.

  • I-129 Petition Receipt Number, printed on approved Form I-129 petition and copy of your Form I-797 approval. Original Form I-797 is not required for the interview. The Consular officer will verify your petition approval through the PIMS (Petition Information Management Service) of the Department of State.

Supporting documents

  • Relevant diplomas or certificates. 

  • Proof that you are working as a minister of religion, or in a religious vocation or occupation, for a bonafide, non-profit religious organization or denomination that is exempt from taxation.

  • Proof that you have been a member of the religious organization for at least two years prior to your application. 

  • A contract from the employer in the U.S. as well as in India and proof, such as bank statements, that the employer is able to support the applicant above the poverty line. 

  • Recommendation letters to further support the case of the religious worker. 

  • IRS-supplied proof of the tax-exempt status of the religious organization in the U.S. 

  • Evidence that you are qualified for the work designated in the U.S. 

  • Documents showing arrangements for financial support. 

  • Evidence of the religious organization’s assets and methods of operation. 

  • The organization’s papers of incorporation under applicable state law. 

  • A comprehensive letter from an authorized official of the respective unit of the employing organization certifying:
    • If you maintained a religious membership, in whole or in part, outside the United States, the foreign and United States religious organizations belong to the same religious denomination. 

    • That you have been a member of the religious denomination for at least 2 years immediately prior to the application for the R visa. 

    • That (as appropriate):
      • If you are a minister, you are authorized to conduct religious worship for that denomination. The duties should be described in detail. 

      • If you are a religious professional, you have at least a bachelor’s degree or equivalent, and that such a degree is required for entry into the religious profession. 

      • If you are supposed to work in a nonprofessional vocation or occupation, you are qualified if the type of work you are going to perform relates to a traditional religious function. 

    • The arrangements for compensation, including the amount and source of money, other types of compensation such as food, housing etc, and any other benefits to which a monetary value may be affixed, and a statement whether such compensation shall be in exchange for services rendered. 

    • The name and location of the specific organizational unit of the religious denomination or affiliate for which the you will be providing services. 

    • If you are going to work for an organization which is affiliated with a religious denomination, a description of the nature of the relationship between the two organizations.

Unlike tourist visa applicants, R visa applicants don’t need to prove that they have a residence abroad, or that they have no intention of abandoning. However, they must intend to depart the United States at the end of their lawful status.

Rights and Restrictions

  • You can receive payment only from the religious organization through which you receive R-1 visa status. 

  • If you would like to change the employer on an R-1 visa, the new organization that would like to employ you must file a new Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker with USCIS and have it approved. 

  • You can get an R-2 dependent visa for your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 years. 

  • You may study full-time or part-time. 

  • As long as your R-1 visa status is valid and your visa stamp is unexpired, you can freely travel in and out of the U.S. 

  • After being on an R-1 visa for 2 years, you can apply for a green card. You must file the Form I-360, application for special immigrant. Once Form I-360 is approved, you can either file an Adjustment of Status in the USA or go through Consular Processing abroad to get the green card. 

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