EB-4 Fourth Preference—Religious Worker
Ministers and individuals in other religious occupations or vocations may apply to enter the United States with an R Visa/status (EB-4). It should be noted, however, that non-ministers may not be able to receive an R Visa. The law authorizing non-ministers to gain this designation periodically sunsets, meaning that designations cease when a certain number has been met. As such, there are very specific guidelines as to who qualifies as a minister; to be considered a minister, an individual must be authorized by a recognized denomination to lead religious worship and to perform any other duty normally performed by clergy members. Accordingly, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (US CIS) will not recognize a lay preacher as a minister.
Religious occupation is understood to be habitual engagement in some activity that directly relates to traditional religious function by the US CIS—for example, liturgical workers, religious counselors, and religious instructors. Religious vocation, on the other hand, is considered to be a calling to religious life that is supported by a lifelong commitment to a recognized domination—for example, religious brothers and sisters, monks, and nuns.
Additionally, to qualify for the R Visa (EB-4), religious workers must have been a member of the same religious denomination continuously for the last two years. When a church is petitioning for this status for one of its members, it must have first received 501(c)(3) nonprofit status from the IRS.
As derivatives of the main beneficiary, children (when unmarried and under the age of 21) and spouses are eligible to obtain green cards when accompanying the main beneficiary of the EB-4 status.
When filing in the United States at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (US CIS) (please read the disclaimer page), the Austin-based immigration lawyers at the William Jang, PLLC, typically charge the following in attorney’s fees and filing fees as currently charged by the US Citizenship and Immigration Service (US CIS):
- $4,000 for the principle beneficiary petition
- $435 for the US CIS filing fee for the main petition
- $2,000 per family for adjustment of status (only if in U.S.)
- $1,225 for each additional person ($750 for each person under the age of 14)
At the William Jang, PLLC, our experienced, Austin-based immigration lawyers are prepared to assist any client who wishes to obtain an EB-4 Forth Preference Permanent Residency (Green Card) as a religious worker. Please see a sample of our approved cases.