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new R-1 visa with earlier extension denied

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  • new R-1 visa with earlier extension denied


    I have a problem. I am a priest with a Hindu temple in Mumbai, India. I want to apply for a R-1 visa, I have a temple in West Virginia, which is willing to sponsor me. Both temples belong to the same group.
    I was recently in the US for about 3.5 years. My wife also was with me, and both of us were on R-1 visas, as priests from Oct. 05 to march 09. The Denver temple had filed a i-129 to change my employer from the temple's Phoenix branch to the Denver branch, and also a simultaneous request for an extension of stay. This was filed in Jam. 07. The USCIS did not give any decision for a long time. Then in Nov. 07 a USCIS inspector came to the Denver temple to do a visit. Was very rough, rude and hostile. Did not even enter inside the temple to inspect, but just stood outside. He came on 2 week days around 1 pm when the temple was empty. Did not come again on a Sunday which is when the congregation comes and the temple is active. Then in Nov. 08 the USCIS sent a Intent to Deny notice saying it wanted to deny the petition because of the adverse inspection report - temple does not have any congregation (actually temple has about 1500 plus congregation).
    They said i was not doing any religious services when actually the fact was that the inspector came after I finished my services.
    Said the temple does not not have enough funds to pay the salaires of its staff. Actually we were all receiving salaries. He said we did not have any brochures, nothing, when we gave all this to the USCIS at the time of filing, and also showed him some of them.
    The Denver temple filed a response to the Intent to Deny Notice. The USCIS acknowledged this on its website and said, "case processing has resumed." But then on Jan. 21 it sent the denial notice saying that the case was denied because the Denver temple did not file any response to the Intent to Deny.
    The Denver temple was fed upp and did not want to file a Motion to Reopen. So we left the US on March 9th.

    So since the case is a bit complicated, I was wondering if anybody on this forum knows an experienced lawyer who can help with this new religous visa R-1 petition. Not one of those paper pushing attorneys as somebody said on this forum.

    I will be really grateful for any assistance.


    Rajmohannew R-1 visa with earlier extension denied

  • #2
    Which R-1 category are you trying to apply for, Immigrant or Nonimmigrant?

    R-1 Immigrant Religious Worker visas regulations were drastically changed late last year. Overview is here

    USSFA Manual Vol 9 PDF

    Full text is here (it's really long)

    2008 final rule from DHS/USCIS (Special Immigrant and Nonimmigrant Religious Workers)

    R-1 Nonimmigrant Religious Worker category is set to expire in September. Congress is currently debating whether to extend this category till 2014. Nonimmigrant category has been extended several times since its 1990 inception. But since this category is tied in with other items in the bill, it may actually expire in September. The current US congress bill for renewal of Nonimmigrant category is here:


    3 Congressional committees are currently debating whether to extend this category.

    I don't know these guys, but they seem pretty well informed on R-1 changes:

    Oh Law Firm


    • #3
      Since I'm new on this forum, I don't have earlier threads to refer you to. However, here is a current discussion on another forum regarding extension of R-1 Nonimmigrant Religious Worker visa:

      Bill to extend Nonminister Religious Worker Visa program for 5 years

      Older discussions on another forum regarding R-1 visa changes in general:

      US Government enacts revised regulations to reduce Religious Worker Visa fraud

      Religious Worker visa fraud effectively reduced

      R-1 Immigrant Religious Worker visa regulations underwent a thorough overhaul late last year. R-1 Nonimmigrant has been temporarily extended, with a current sunset expiration in September this year.


      • #4
        If your sponsoring religious organization refused to follow up then you have no options.


        • #5
          Gee...who do I believe? This alleged 'priest' or USCIS? Easy. USCIS. They are part of MY government, from MY country and have NO reason to lie.


          • #6
            Originally posted by federale86:
            If your sponsoring religious organization refused to follow up then you have no options.
            Correct. R-1 visas cannot be initiated by individuals. The religious organization must sponsor you.


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