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EB-4 – Special Immigrants and Religious Workers

Another Employment based petition, involves the following six (6) subgroups of ‘Special Immigrants’:

  1. Religious workers coming to carry on the vocation of a minister of religion, or to work in a professional capacity in a religious vocation, or to work for a tax-exempt organization affiliated with a religious denomination;
  2. Certain overseas employees of the U.S. Government;
  3. Former employees of the Panama Canal Company;
  4. Retired employees of international organizations;
  5. Certain dependents of international organization employees; and
  6. Certain members of the U.S. Armed Forces.

The Immigration and Nationality Act provides two categories of visas for religious workers, one for temporary or nonimmigrant “R” status and one for legal permanent resident or immigrant “SD” status in the United States.

A religious worker is a person who for the past two years has been a member of a religious denomination which has a bona fide nonprofit, religious organization in the United States; and who has been carrying on the vocation, professional work, or other work described below, continuously for the past two years; and seeks to enter the U.S. to work solely:

  • As a minister of that denomination; or
  • In a professional capacity in a religious vocation or occupation for that organization; or
  • In a religious vocation or occupation for the organization or its nonprofit affiliate.