The EB-4 category is for special immigrants, including religious workers. A Religious Worker may obtain permanent residence in the United States without having to undergo the labor certification (PERM) process.
Due to the eligibility requirements, it is common for religious workers to enter the U.S. on an R-1 non-immigrant visa and request permanent residence after working for two years in a religious position.
Eligibility Requirements for Religious Worker Visas
The EB-4 Religious Worker category is available to religious workers who:
- Have been a member of a bona fide non-profit religious denomination for at least two years prior to the filing of Form I-360;
- Have been working continuously for the past two years immediately prior to filing the immigrant petition:
- Solely as a religious minister of that religious denomination;
- A religious vocation in a professional or nonprofessional capacity;
- A religious occupation either in a professional or nonprofessional capacity
- Seek to enter the United States to work in a full time, compensated position for a non-profit religious organization, or its affiliate, within the religious denomination:
- As a minister or priest of the religious denomination;
- In a professional capacity in a religious vocation or occupation for the religious organization (a professional capacity means that a U.S. baccalaureate degree or foreign equivalent is required to do this job); or
- In a religious vocation or occupation for the religious organization or its nonprofit affiliate. (A religious vocation means a calling or devotion to religious life. Taking vows can prove that you have a calling to religious life. A religious occupation is an activity devoted to traditional religious functions. Examples of religious occupations include (but are not limited to) cantors, missionaries, and religious instructors).