The final rule is designed to improve the Department of Homeland Security’s ability to detect and deter fraud and other abuses in the religious worker system. Previously, foreign religious workers were able to request an R-1 religious worker visa at a consular post without any prior, stateside review of the religious organization or job offer. The final rule will require individuals seeking to enter the United States through the nonimmigrant religious worker program to provide a consular officer an approved Form I-129, Petition for Alien Worker. Stateside review of the petition will allow USCIS to verify that the petitioner and the job offer are legitimate prior to the issuance of a visa and admission of the religious worker to the United States.
The rule also reduces the initial period of admission for a nonimmigrant from three years to a period of up to 30 months. This will allow USCIS an earlier opportunity to review whether or not the terms of the visa have been met before extending the nonimmigrant religious worker’s stay in the United States. Religious workers will be allowed one extension of up to an additional 30 months.
The final rule has been transmitted to the Federal Register and will become effective immediately after publication.
This entry was posted on Friday, November 28th, 2008