Proof of membership

  • Evidence that the religious worker is a member of a religious denomination having a bona fide non-profit religious organization in the United States for at least 2 years immediately before the filing of Form I-129

If the religious worker will be working as a minister, provide:

  • A copy of the religious worker’s certificate of ordination or similar documents
  • Documents showing acceptance of the religious worker’s qualification as a minister in the religious denomination, as well as evidence that he or she completed any course of prescribed theological education at an accredited theological institution normally required or recognized by that religious denomination. Include transcripts, curriculum, and documentation that establishes that the theological institution is accredited by the denomination
  • If the denomination does not require a prescribed theological education, provide:
    1. The religious denomination’s requirements for ordination to minister;
    2. A list of duties performed by virtue of ordination;
    3. The denomination’s levels of ordination, if any; and
    4. Evidence of the religious worker’s completion of the denomination’s requirements for ordination

Proof of previous R-1 employment (for extension of stay as an R-1)

  • If the religious worker received salaried compensation, provide IRS documents that show he or she received a salary. This may include, but is not limited to, Form W-2 or certified copies of filed income tax returns reflecting such work and compensation for the previous R-1 employment
  • If the religious worker received non-salaried compensation:
    1. If IRS documents are available, provide IRS documentation of the non-salaried compensation; or
    2. If IRS documents are not available, explain why and provide comparable, verifiable evidence of all financial support (including stipends, room and board, or other support) with a description of the location where the religious worker lived, a lease to establish where he or she lived, or other evidence
  • If the religious worker received no salary but supported him or herself and any dependents, provide verifiable documents to show how support was maintained. This may include, but is not limited to, audited financial statements, financial institution records, brokerage account statements, trust documents signed by an attorney, or other evidence

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