As a religious worker, it is allowable to work under a religious organization in the U.S. through an R-1 visa. With all the opportunities the country has to offer, you may find a need for your family to join in. Fortunately, the R-2 visa provides an avenue for your family to join you in the United States. This nonimmigrant visa enables your spouse and unmarried children (under 21 years old) to accompany you on your journey.
If you’re considering the R-2 visa for your family, you must keep these points in mind to start the preparations early.
Moving on to the visa application
To start the application for your family outside the U.S., you may need to file a petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) using Form I-129F. After USCIS approves that, your family will need to go through the following procedure:
- Make an appointment at a U.S. consulate in your home country to apply for the visa.
- Fill out the online DS-160 form and pay the visa fee.
- Submit the required documents, such as a passport, photo, confirmation page of DS-160 and a copy of the I-797 approval notice from the petition you filed as the spouse.
To further strengthen the petition, your family may need proof of your relationship with you as the R-1 visa holder, such as marriage or birth certificates.
The interview and approval
At the interview, questions may arise about their travel purpose, ties to their home country and financial situation. After the interview, if the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) approves their visa, they will be notified about it within a few days or weeks, depending on the consulate.
Approved but with limitations
An approval means your family can continue to stay in the U.S. as long as you maintain your R-1 status. They may also extend their stay for a period of up to 30 months and study in the course of their stay. Unfortunately, they cannot work in the country during their five-year stay unless they obtain work authorization from the USCIS.
Ultimately, understanding the R-2 visa procedures is key to a smooth family transition to the U.S.