A religious institution may sponsor an alien for a nonimmigrant visa as a religious worker.
There are two possible categories for religious worker:
1. Minister – The religious worker can be approved if he is entering solely to perform the duties of minister. A minister is not a lay preacher, but rather someone who is ordained to conduct religious worship and perform other duties that are commonly performed by ordained pastors or clergymen of the organization. Note: he must have been a member of a religious denomination that has a bona fide, nonprofit, religious organization in the U.S. for two years)
2. Religious Vocation/Occupation – The religious worker can be approved if he is being sponsored for a religious vocation or occupation. Religious vocations include monks, nuns, or other titles that require the taking of vows or some other form of calling or commitment. Religious occupations include occupations whose work relates to traditionally religious functions and which require specialized religious training such as: liturgical workers, religious instructors, religious broadcasters, preachers in religious hospitals, counselors, etc. (Lay work, such as receptionists and other administrative positions, are not eligible.)
The evidence that we request to initiate an R-1 petition is as follows:
FROM THE CHURCH:
1. Letter from the sponsoring church addresses the following:
a. That you have at least two years of membership in that same religious denomination.
b. When and where you were baptized into the religion.
c. What your title and duties will be here in this new position.
d. What your qualifications are for this position.
e. What your remuneration/salary/benefits will be.
2. Proof that church qualifies as tax exempt under IRS 501(c)(3)
3. Tax-related documents or financial documents from the church
4. Documentation of church activities: monthly calendars, fliers, photographs of inside and outside of church, etc.
FROM THE APPLICANT:
5. Certificate of Ordainment (if a minister)
6. Certificate of Baptism
7. If you previously worked for a church, we would like a letter from that religious institution which details:
a. When you became a member of that denomination.
b. Whether you were employed with that institution.
c. The dates of the employment.
d. Your title and duties while you were employed there.