12 December 2008

New rules delay US visas for religious workers

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New regulations for American visas will add to the difficulty of introducing religious workers from overseas, reports the National Catholic Reporter.

The Federal government has made changes to the immigration system so that those religious workers applying for a visa for America would now have more costs and paperwork than before.

As of the 26th November, applicants for the religious worker visa now need to first gain approval from the office of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which Anne Marie Gibbons, director for religious immigration and protection for CLINIC says would add months to the application process.

Before the changes, religious worker temporary visas had a validity period of three years with the possibility of a two-year renewal thereafter.  These types of American visa will now be issued for 30 months, with a 30-month extension possibility. 

Between 10,000 and 11,000 religious workers are approved American visas every year.  Ms Gibbons is advising those prospective religious workers looking to work in America temporarily to plan a year in advance of application.

The American Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in American visa and immigration services.

Article by Jessica Bird, American Visa Bureau.

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