P-4 visas are issued to the spouses and unmarried children under age 21 of any P visa workers. The accompanying relatives are permitted to remain in the u. s., but they cannot work.
5. R-1 visas: religious Workers
An R-1 visa is available to a person who has been a member of a legitimate religious denomination for at least two years and has a job offer in the u. s. to work for an affiliate of that same religious organization. R-1 visas may be issued to both members of the clergy and lay religious workers. The initial stay can be up to three years, and the maximum stay is five years.
The criteria for qualifying are the same as those for religious workers applying for special immigrant green cards discussed in Chapter 12 (see that chapter for the details), with one big difference. unlike the green card category, it is not necessary that R-1 visa workers were employed by the religious organization before getting the visa. They need only have been members for two years.
usually, people qualifying for R-1 visas also qualify for green cards as special immigrants and may prefer to apply directly for a green card.
6. R-2 visas: accompanying relatives of Those With r-1 visas
spouses and unmarried children under age 21 of R-1 visa holders can get R-2 visas. This allows them to stay in the u. s., but not to accept employment.
Having an O, P, or R visa gives you no legal advantage in applying for a green card. Realistically, however, it is probably easier to get an employer to sponsor you for an O, P, or R visa than for a green card. Also, coming to the U. S. first with a temporary work visa gives you the opportunity to decide whether you really want to live in the U. S. permanently. Once you are in the U. S. with a work permit, it is also usually easier to find an employer willing to sponsor you for a green card.
O and P visa holders are not required to have the intention of returning to their home countries. Accordingly, applying for a green card while in the U. S. on an O or P visa will not jeopardize your status.
R visa holders are required to have the intention of returning home once the visa or status expires. Therefore, if you apply for a green card, it may be difficult to obtain or renew an R visa. Many religious workers qualify for green cards as special immigrants. If you are a religious worker and want to remain in the U. S. permanently, you should read Chapter 12 before applying for an R visa.
Once you have been offered a job, getting an O, P, or R visa is a two – or three – step process:
• First, your u. s. employer files what’s called a “visa petition” on usCIs Form I-129. If you’re already in the U. S. in lawful status, this petition can simultaneously ask that your status be changed to O, P, or R, in which case the process will successfully end here.
• If you’re outside the U. S., then after the visa petition is approved, you submit your own application for an O, P, or R visa to a u. s. consulate.
• Finally, you use either your visa or the notice of your approved visa petition to enter the u. s. and claim your O, P, or R status.
Nothing stops you from helping with the employer’s tasks during this application process. For example, you can fill out forms intended to be completed by your employer and simply ask the employer to check them over and sign them. The less your U. S. employer is inconvenienced, the more it will be willing to act as sponsor for your visa.
Your employer starts the process off, by filing a visa petition with USCIS, on Form I-129. (If you’re self-employed, you will need to hire an agent in the U. S. to file the petition for you; see 8 C. F.R. § 214.2(o)(2)(i).) The object of the petition is to prove four things:
• that you qualify for O, P, or R status
• that your future job is of a high enough level or appropriate nature to warrant someone with your advanced or specialized skills
• that you have the correct background and skills to match the job requirements, and
• in the case of o and P visas, that appropriate labor unions or similar organizations have been consulted concerning your eligibility.