Special immigrants under this grouping are:
- Religious workers, and
- Employees and former employees of the US government
Do I Qualify?
In order to qualify as a religious worker, the individual must have maintained a membership in a recognized religious denomination (or an organization affiliated to it) that is registered as a non-profit, tax-exempt (or eligible) organization in the US for least two years before the date of the application.
The definition of a religious denomination entails:
- Recognized creed and form of worship,
- Formal code of doctrine and discipline,
- Religious services and ceremonies,
- Established places of worship, and
- Religious congregations.
The individual religious worker must, thus, be:
- A minister of religion,
- A professional providing services to a religious organization requiring a US Bachelor’s degree or its foreign equivalent,
- Religious worker in a religious occupation necessary for the running of a religious denomination (examples of this category include liturgical workers, religious instructors, cantors, catechists, workers in religious hospitals or health care facilities, missionaries, religious translators or broadcasters, and so forth),
- Workers in religious vocation (namely, a recognized traditional commitment such as those of nuns, monks, religious brothers or sisters who may have taken vows).
This category of qualifying individuals does NOT include janitors, maintenance staff, clerks, fundraisers, or others of similar occupation. The request for the employment of the R-1 worker must come from the employing organization.
How to Apply?
You should have reached a positive understanding with a US-based employer willing to file a petition on your behalf. Your employer should file a USICS Form I-360 with the appropriate USCIS Regional Service Center. Along with your I-360 Form and fees the following proofs should provided:
- Your religious organization is a non-profit organization,
- A letter certifying your two-year experience and
- A statement showing the amount of salary for your work without depending on a second job or charities.
What Are the Key Documents Required?
Documents required to support your visa application include:
- Evidence that the individual works as a minister of a religion, in professional capacity, or vocation (evidence in this category include certificate of ordination, licenses, letters of conferral. Deacons, practitioners of Christian Science, and Salvation Army officers may be considered as ministers),
- Documents that prove membership in a religious denomination for at least two year before application,
- Contract of employment signed with an organization in the US,
- Letters of recommendation supporting the petition,
- Proof of the organization’s non-profit, tax-exempt status issued by IRS (Internal Revenue Service) of the US or incorporation documents, 5) Proof that the individual is qualified to perform the duty,
- Evidence of financial support to be provided by employer.