The EB-4 "Employment-Based" immigration visa is a fourth preference visa available to special types of immigrants, including religious workers. To petition for this visa, your employer must fill out and file a Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant (Form I-360). In some cases, the employee may be able to petition on his or her own behalf.
According to USCIS, the following types of immigrants may be eligible to apply for an EB-4 visa:
- Armed forces members
- International organization employees
- Iraqi or Afghan translators
- Iraqis who have aided the United States
- Employees of the Panama Canal Zone
- Religious workers
- Retired NATO-6 employees
- Spouses and children of deceased NATO-6 employees
- Some dependents of diplomats
Spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 may also be admitted to the U.S. with this type of visa.
Special Guidelines for Religious Workers
In order to qualify for this visa, religious workers must be members of religious organizations that have a non-profit status in the United States. They must have been a member for two years or more and be carrying out work in one of the following capacities: as a minister or priest, as a professional for the organization (meaning a U.S. Bachelor's degree or the foreign equivalent is required for the job), or in a religious vocation or occupation (such as missionaries, cantors, instructors, nuns, monks, and more).
In the case of a religious worker, anyone may file the petition for the EB-4 visa, including his or herself, and must be accompanied by appropriate documentation to prove their religious affiliation, including:
- Any evidence that proves that the organization which may employ the applicant in the U.S. is a bona fide non-profit that is exempt from taxation
- A letter from an official of the religious organization, attesting to the applicant's training and tenure (must be at least two years), their religious duties, and history of employment.
An applicant's work in their position must have been full time and compensated continually for the past two years. Volunteer work would not qualify.