Applying for R1 Religious Worker Visa
The United States has always been the refuge for religious minorities. One of the best avenues for religious institutions to have continuity in their leadership is to petition for clergy members to come to the United States to lead their flocks. Religious institutions can apply for R1 visas for ministers and religious workers under 8 CFR 214.2(r)(1) and 8 CFR 214.2(r)(3) respectively.
There are several requirements for the visas. To qualify as a minister, the person has to be fully authorized and trained in the religious denomination, should not be a lay preacher, must perform activities related to being a minister, and should work solely as a minister but is allowed to perform some administrative functions. A religious worker must be a member of the religious denomination for the two years preceding the application, must work for at least 20 hours, must be coming to perform in a religious capacity and must be part of a religious denomination.
These visas could lead to permanent residence under EB4 track. Congress has reserved 7.1% of worldwide numbers for religious workers.