After 2007 you can only apply for an R-1 filing form I-129 with USCIS, not directly with the US Embassy or Consulate, which was previously permitted. Also, USCIS may conduct on-site inspections of organizations seeking to employ religious workers. The religious worker is permitted to stay for an initial period of 30 months. Once the visa is approved by USCIS it will be sent to the U.S. Consulate where the religious worker can apply for their visa. You do not have to maintain a residence abroad which you have no intention of abandoning, but must intend to leave the U.S. at the end of your R-l status.
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 U.S. 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 U.S. at the end of your R-l status.
The following documents are required for the R-1 Visa:
- A filled-in visa application Form DS-156.
- 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.
- 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:
- Proof of tax-exempt status or eligibility for tax-exempt status for the employing organization
- A letter from an authorized official of employing organization certifying your position in your organization, and the nature of the organization.