We have covered in previous articles the steps involved in applying for an R1 American visa. The basic requirements include specific documentation from the sponsoring religious body (church or other organization otherwise known as the Petitioner) where the applicant will be employed for the duration of his stay.
On his own end, the applicant himself must provide certain requirements as well. These include filling out a Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application (DS-160) Form; having a valid travel passport; paying the necessary visa application fees and visa issuance fees where applicable.
The petitioner must provide certain documentation including-
- A valid determination letter from the IRS establishing that they are a bona fide non-profit religious organization recognized as tax-exempt under a group tax exemption.
- Where a petitioning organization is not classified under “religious organizations” by the Internal Revenue Service, they may establish that they are affiliated with a religious denomination by completing the Religious Denomination Certification in the revised Form I-129. The religious denomination certification should be signed by an organization other than the petitioning organization, and attest that the petitioning organization is part of the same religious denomination as the attesting organization. For instance, a branch of the Lutheran church must certify that another branch is actually part of the greater body- e.g the Lutheran World Federation. They must also present:
– A currently valid determination letter from the IRS establishing that the organization is tax-exempt;
– Documents establishing the religious nature and purpose of the organization;
– Organizational literature describing the religious purpose and nature of the activities of the organization;
– A religious denomination certification stating that the petitioning organization is affiliated with the religious denomination.
- Proof of compensation. Religious workers generally must be compensated. Compensation may include either salaried or non-salaried compensation.
The Compensatory Agreement
An agreement is a negotiated and typically legally binding arrangement between parties as to a course of action. There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to drafting agreements. Generally though, all agreements should be appropriately dated, preferably at the top of the page, and anywhere else a date is needed. The names of the parties involved should be clearly stated. Other ancillary descriptions needed to identify the parties in addition to their names, should be included.
It is important to use plain language. In a court of law, a judge will judge the case based on how the contract would be interpreted by the average person. Use concise language. Your language should explain the terms of the agreement clearly and what is expected of each party.
Other things to be included are dispute resolution clauses- how conflicts will be resolved if/when they arise. And termination clauses- how the agreement will come to an end.
A sample compensatory agreement between the Petitioner and Beneficiary (religious worker) could look something like this-