If you wish to come to, or remain in, the USA do some type of missionary work, evangelical tour or exchange pulpits, the B-1D Visa may be appropriate. These are typically issued for a one-year period, which may be extended in one-year increments. You must demonstrate a temporary intention to remain and show ties to your home country. You will need to show that you have financial support as well. This support could come from yourself, your church in your home country or from the church in the USA for expenses, but not as salary.
A B-1D Missionary cannot come to the USA to solicit funds to support themselves. The religious organization may provide room and board, however.
This is not a work visa. The missionary requests this status for themselves. The church is not the petitioner, but a letter of support from the church should be provided.
In some instances, the B-1D may be utilized prior to filing for a Religious worker visa. The R-1 Religious worker petition can take well over one year for the USCIS to review. This is especially true if the sponsoring religious entity has not had the required site inspection within the five-year period prior to filing. Premium processing is not available until the required site visit has been conducted.
You may apply for the missionary visa at a U.S. consulate or for this status as a change of status if you are already in the USA and maintaining lawful status. CAVEAT: Some consular offices are not familiar with this visa and therefore may not grant it. It would be prudent to know the practices of the consulate where you apply if you are seeking a visa instead of a change of status.
Feel free to contact our Immigration attorneys in Orlando, Fl, to determine if you qualify for a B-1D Missionary Visa and what steps are necessary to apply. Both Suzanne Vazquez and Maud Poudat are certified as experts in immigration law by the Florida Bar. Our legal team can help you in English, French, Portuguese, Spanish and Russian. We can be reached during office hours at (407) 674-6968. If you have an emergency after office hours please call us at (407) 925-2554 and we will contact you shortly. You may also contact us by email at info@VPImmigration.com.