This visa is for foreign people who seeking admission to conduct religious worship and perform other duties usually performed by authorized members of the clergy of that religion. The main criterion in obtaining R visa is that one must have been a member of religious denomination having a bona fide nonprofit religious organization in US. The processing time is normally 2-4 months.
On R-1 Visa one can even study full time and receive money or payment for the service performed. If the employer petition one can even petition for Green Card. Principal applicant of the R1 Visa holder can bring in spouse and also unmarried children below 21 years of age under R-2 Visa as dependents. Dependents of the R-1 Visa are not allowed to work but allowed to study, given the financial support while in US.
Since R visa is an employer petition, employer must use Form I-129 (Petition of Nonimmigrant Worker). Until unless the petition is approved by either DHS or USCIS, the religious worker can not apply for visa at US Embassy or US Consulate. Once the petition is approved, either the employer or the agent will receive Form I-797 (Notice of Action). Visa applicants should bring in the petition receipt number to the visa interview. Through department of the State’s Petition Information Management System (PIMS), the verification of the petition is done. There is no guarantee if the petition is approved you will get the visa, they prove the ineligibility and give the reason for rejection.
Once visa is approved, R Visa holder can stay up to 30 months initially, which can be extend again for 30 month. It should not exceed more than 5 years. Changing of the employer is also allowed during the stay but the new petition need to be submitted by the new employer or organization by filing Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker.
Necessary document needed while submitting to obtain R Visa are:
- Proof you are working as minister of religion or involved in religious occupation for a non-profit organization which is exempted from tax.
- Proof that you have been member of religious organization for at least 2 years.
- Employer proof to support the applicant above the property line (such as bank statement).
- Any recommendation letters.
- Evidence that you are qualified to work in US.
- IRS proof of the tax exempt status of the organization in the US.
R visa holder can adjust the status to obtain Green Card; one must file Form I-360 (Special Immigrant Petition) and later From I-485 to adjust the status.
Religious Vocation: Demonstration of a lifelong commitment for religious life. Ex: Nuns, Monks and religious brothers and sisters.
Religious Denomination: Doctrine and discipline in religious services and ceremonies. Creed and worship in established places for worship.
TN visa also called as Trade NAFTA(North American Free Trade Agreement) visa is a special non-immigrant visa in the United States, uniquely for the citizens of Mexico and Canada. The immigration related provisions of NAFTA cover four categories of business persons from Canada and Mexico, who are seeking entry into the United States:
- TN Professionals.
- B-1 temporary business visitors.
- E traders and investors.
- L-1 intracompany transferees.
The following requirements must be satisfied in order to obtain a TN visa:
- The applicant must be a Canadian or Mexican.
- The designated profession must be approved by NAFTA.
- The applicant should possess the required educational credentials.
- The applicant should have an offer letter from the U.S. or Canadian or Mexican employer.
- The job should be temporary with a maximum stay of three years.
Procedure for Canadians to obtain TN visa
According to NAFTA, Canadians can enter the United States even without an approved USCIS petition. At the port of entry Canadians are required to submit the document stating that they are engaged in one of the designated professions and that they have acquired the required educational credentials to qualify in the listed profession.
Procedure for Mexicans to obtain TN visa
Mexican immigrants who are seeking TN status must apply directly to a U.S. consulate for TN visa. Form January 1, 2004, employers who are seeking to hire Mexican professionals in TN category are no longer required to obtain Labour Condition Application(LCA) from the Department of Labor or file Form I-129, non-immigrant worker petition with the USCIS.
TN visa holders can stay in the United States for the period of time required by the employer, upto three years at a time. They can receive extension of stay in one year increments. The only limitation on the duration of stay for TN professionals is, the purpose of the stay must continue to be temporary. Mexican and Canadian professionals who are already in the United States can apply for TN status by filing Form I-129.
The spouse and unmarried children of TN visa holders will be admitted in TD (Free Trade Dependent) status in the United States. The family members of TN professionals cannot engage in employment unless they are independently qualified but they can undertake courses of study in the U.S. while remaining in TD status.
TN visa has certain advantages over the other non-immigrant visas:
- The process of obtaining the visa is quick.
- It is valid upto three years.
- Canadians can obtain the visa at the port of entry.
- There is no upper limit on the number of TN visas that are issued every year.
- Very helpful for employers who want to hire an employee quickly.
- The visa can be renewed indefinitely.
TN visa has certain disadvantages over the other non-immigrant visas:
- It is valid only for certain occupations.
- Mexicans must apply at the U.S. consulate for TN visa and then enter the United States.