EB-4: Religious Worker – Immigration Law
EB-4 Religious Worker Visa applications require great attention to detail. They require a good understanding of what qualifies as a religious worker, religious organization, and past decisions regarding these standards. Although the EB-4 Religious Worker Visa is similar to the R-1 Religious Worker Visa, one major difference is that the former can confer lawful permanent resident status (a green card) on the religious worker. Our Sacramento immigration attorneys recognize the complexities of these cases. Our immigration law firm consists of immigration lawyers who are also very involved in the church and understand how important obtaining this benefit is for the intending immigrant and those (s)he serves.
What do I need to show to obtain an EB-4 Religious Worker Visa?
In order to qualify, the individual who seeks to work as a minister (or the equivalent) in a religious occupation must demonstrate the following:
- Membership of a non-profit religious denomination for at least 2 years that has physical presence in the US; and,
- Employment for at least 2 years in a full-time position as a minister, professional, or worker in a religious profession.
What are some of the similarities and differences between the EB-4 and R-1 Visa for Religious Workers?
The two are similar and different in many ways. One significant difference between the two is that the EB-4 would permit the Religious Worker to stay in the US permanently; whereas, the R-1 is a temporary visa (eligible for 30-month employment, with another 30-month extension). Both require full-time employment, either salaried or unsalaried. Both are for clergypersons and other religious workers, such as nuns, monks, deacons, elders, etc.; however, both are not available for those who do not perform religious duties. The intending religious worker must have been a member of a non-profit religious denomination for at least 2 years.
Some differences include the terms of employment. For example, R-1 Religious Worker Visa holders can only stay in the US for 60 months (an initial 30 months is granted and another 30 month extension is available, if approved); whereas, the EB-4 Religious Worker Visa requires the beneficiary to work 2 continuous years for their qualifying religious denomination. Also, an R-1 requires a US job offer; whereas, an EB-4 Religious Worker can self-petition or have the religious organization petition on his or her behalf.
Can my immediate family members benefit from the EB-4 Religious Worker Visa, too?
Yes, your immediate family members, spouse and children under the age of 21, can be beneficiaries as your dependents.
Our immigration lawyers are equipped with the knowledge and understanding of EB-4 Religious Worker Visa petitions. If your religious organization needs an immigration law firm to assist in petitioning on behalf of a religious worker, or if you are an intending self-petitioner, our Sacramento immigration attorneys are available to help you.
Please do not hesitate to contact our immigration lawyers at Carson & Kyung, A Law Corporation.
USCIS EB-4: Religious Worker: http://www.uscis.gov/working-united-states/permanent-workers/employment-based-immigration-fourth-preference-eb-4