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Taiwan Pastor Granted Two-Year R-1 Religious Visa

Taiwan Pastor Granted Two-Year R-1 Religious Visa

Beneficiary (religious worker): Mr. Chang is from Taiwan.
Applicant (American religious group): American R Church: Founded in 1925, with seven clergy, engaged in unpaid preaching and work.


The American church hired Mr. Zhang to come to the United States to work and engaged Joseph Tsang of Tsang & Associates to apply for an R-1 religious worker visa for Mr. Zhang.


1. Denominational affiliation between the American and Taiwanese churches

The church in Taiwan to which Mr. Chang belongs has not had any previous cooperation with the R Church in the U.S., but is only associated with the mother church to which the R Church belongs. How can we prove that both churches belong to the same denomination? According to the immigration law, we successfully proved the affiliation of the two churches through the following points, for example

– Members of the denomination profess the same doctrine or beliefs.
– A common religious cult.
– A common religious code of conduct.
– Common religious services and religious rituals.
– A common place of religious practice or assembly; or
– Similar religious denominational symbols.

2. the beneficiary’s propensity to emigrate

The R-1 is a non-immigrant visa that does not allow for “Dual Intention” and requires a return to the country of residence upon expiration of the period of stay. Mr. Zhang had already applied for immigration through his family and was waiting for his immigration quota to be scheduled. During this time, Mr. Zhang was eager to come to the United States as soon as possible, which was a major difficulty in applying for an R-1 religious work visa. We helped Mr. Zhang prove that he had the binding ability to return to his home country and that he only wanted to work as a missionary in the U.S. for a short period of time.

3. The Church does not pay salaries, and beneficiaries are required to “self-bond”

Under immigration law, U.S. religious groups must provide materials to demonstrate the ability to pay or compensate religious workers.

The R Church in this case offered Mr. Zhang a position as an assistant pastor, but did not intend to pay Mr. Zhang a salary or any compensation. In this case, the religious worker needed to be able to self-bond and demonstrate that he or she would not be a public charge to the United States. Mr. Chang’s family contributed a great deal to help with this.

In addition, we demonstrate that churches are eligible to apply for R-1 even though they do not pay salaries in the following ways.

– The church has an established temporary, unpaid missionary work program: the R Church of America cooperated in providing program data that allowed Mr. Chang to meet the criteria for this application.
– The church maintains missionary programs in the United States and abroad: the R Church is a passionate overseas missionary organization and we demonstrate that there is, to some extent, a Chinese regional missionary program within the church.
– Religious workers are accepted by the Church: R the Church’s missionary recognition of beneficiaries, we again certify that Mr. Chang is qualified to work for the Church in the United States.
– Religious duties and responsibilities are associated with traditional unsalaried missionary work: we have summarized, through our work with Mr. Chang, a wealth of material that proves the nature of Mr. Chang’s church work meets that requirement.


The R-1 petition was approved five months after filing, granting Mr. Zhang a two-year time limit to work in the United States.

Lawyer Joseph Tsang commented:

The R-1 religious work visa belongs to the U.S. nonimmigrant work visa category, which is different from political asylum, and is basically introduced by Attorney Zang for readers as follows.

Pursuant to U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) §101(a)(15)(R), persons wishing to enter the United States to work temporarily in religious groups are required to apply for an R visa.R-1 Visa Conditions:

Religious workers include persons appointed by prominent religious groups to conduct religious services and perform other duties (usually performed by religious clergy), as well as persons engaged in religious professions or work. To apply for a Religious Worker visa, the following criteria should be met:

• You must belong to a religious denomination that is a nonprofit religious group recognized under US law.
• Your religious denomination and its affiliates (if applicable) must be tax-exempt or have tax-exempt status.
• You must meet the following criteria:
(a) have been a member of a denomination for two years prior to applying for a religious worker visa
(b) Plan to serve as a pastor of your denomination or hold religious work in a legal nonprofit religious group (or a tax-exempt affiliate of such a group)
(c) Lived outside the United States in the year preceding the application and have previously served in the denomination for five years.

The R visa does not allow for “dual intent”, i.e., the need to prove the binding nature of the religious worker’s return to the country.

The Trump administration has tightened its immigration policies, especially for those who may pose a public burden to American society. We can provide you with professional assistance in the case of non-payment of wages by employers and increasingly strict approval. Please contact Tsang & Associates if you need help.

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