An R-1 visa is for a foreign national who is coming to the United States temporarily to be employed at least part time by a non-profit religious organization in the United States (or an organization which is affiliated with the religious denomination in the United States) to work as a minister or in a religious vocation or occupation. To be eligible, the foreign national must have been a member of a religious denomination having a bona fide non-profit religious organization in the U.S. for at least 2 years immediately preceding the filing of the petition.
On an R-1 visa, the visa holder may engage in full time study in the U.S., travel freely in and out of the U.S., receive payment for services performed, apply for the green card, or apply for an R-2 visa for spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21. An R-1 visa authorizes the holder to remain in the United States for an initial period of 30 months. An extension is possible for another 30 months, provided the total stay does not exceed 5 years.