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EB-4-Religious Workers

The fourth employment based immigrant category covers "special immigrants." The most common special immigrant, the religious worker, obtains the green card through employment. All such applicants must be the beneficiary of an approved I-360, Petition for Special Immigrant.

There are three classes of religious workers - ministers, professionals working in a religious vocation, and other workers in religious vocations. There is a limit of 5,000 visas available annually to religious workers, and the applicant must have been working for the religious group for at least two years prior to making the application. This work may be done either in or out of the US.

To qualify as an EB-4 special immigrant religious worker, you must be a member of a religious denomination that has a non-profit religious organization in the United States. You must have been a member of this religious denomination for at least two years before applying for admission to the United States. You must be entering the United States to work as a minister or priest of the religious denomination, in a professional capacity in a religious vocation or occupation for the religious organization, or in a professional capacity in a religious vocation or occupation for the religious organization.

Filing the Petition
1. The petition is filed on Form I-360 with the appropriate regional service center;
2. The petition must include a letter from the petitioning organization, confirming that the alien worked as a minister, professional in a religious occupation or vocation, or other worker in a religious occupation or vocation for the religious organization for the two years preceding filing;
3. The application should include details about how the worker will be paid.

Qualifying Religious Organization
The religious worker must work for a "bona fide, nonprofit, religious organization" or a "bona fide organization which is affiliated with the religious denomination." That is, they must be eligible to tax exempt status under the Internal Revenue Code.

A bona fide nonprofit religious organization in the United States means an organization exempt from taxation, or one that has never sought such exemption but establishes to the satisfaction of the Service that it would be eligible therefore if it had applied for tax exempt status.

A bona fide organization which is affiliated with the religious denomination means an organization which is closely associated with the religious denomination. It must also be exempt from taxation as it relates to religious organizations.

Qualifying Religious Occupation
Religious occupation means an activity which relates to a traditional religious function. It's one traditional part of the work of the denomination.

In the Religious Workers Immigration (EB-4), there are three classes of religious workers - ministers, professionals working in a religious vocation, and other workers in religious vocations, qualifying for immigration.

It cannot be volunteer work. Nor can it have been sporadic paid work; it must be full time employment. If the two years were worked for a different organization than the one petitioning, both organizations must share a common religious doctrine.

Ministers are people authorized by by a recognized religious denomination to conduct religious worship and to perform other duties usually performed by authorized members of the clergy of that religion. A professional religious position is one for which the minimum requirement is a baccalaureate degree. A religious vocation means a calling to religious life evidenced by the demonstration of commitment practiced in the religious denomination, such as the taking of vows.

 
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