Religious Workers

EB-4 Special Immigrant-Religious Worker; Eligibility and Filing

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 (a professional capacity means that a U.S. baccalaureate degree or foreign equivalent is required to do this job); or
  • In a religious vocation or occupation for the religious organization or its nonprofit affiliate. (A religious vocation means a calling or devotion to religious life. Taking vows can prove that you have a calling to religious life. A religious occupation is an activity devoted to traditional religious functions. Examples of religious occupations include (but are not limited to) cantors, missionaries, and religious instructors.)
    • Proof that the religious organization qualifies as a non-profit organization
    • A letter from an official of the religious organization in the United States:
      • The letter should establish that you have been a member of the denomination for two years, and that you have at least two years of experience in your religious vocation or occupation.
      • If you are a minister, the letter should establish that you have been authorized to perform religious duties in general and should specify which duties you are authorized to perform.
      • If you are a religious professional, the letter should establish that you have a United States baccalaureate degree or the foreign equivalent that is required for your religious profession. You must also submit an official academic record.
    • If you are applying to work in the United States in another religious vocation or occupation, the letter should establish that you are qualified to work in that religious vocation or occupation. For instance, if you are applying to work as a nun or a monk, you would need to provide evidence that you are a nun or a monk.
    • If you are applying to work in the United States in a non-ministerial or non-professional capacity for a religious organization affiliated with a religious denomination, the letter should establish how the religious organization is affiliated with the denomination.
    • The letter should also detail how you will be carrying on the work of a minister, or how you will be paid if you are working in a professional or other religious capacity. The letter should indicate that you will not be dependent upon supplementary income (from a second job) or charity (funds solicited for your support).
    • Form I-485 (type or print in black ink)
    • Copy of Form I-797, approval notice for I-360, Petition for Amerasian Widow(er), or Special Immigrant
    • Passport photos, 2″x2″ full-face color frontal view on a white or off-white background (although USCIS now uses your photos taken during fingerprint appointment)
    • Form I-485A, Supplement A, if filed under 245(i)
    • Form G-325A, Biographic Information Sheet, for applicants between ages 14 and 79
    • Form I-693, Medical Examination, signed and sealed by a designated physician
    • Birth certificate or other records of your birth
    • Copies of all passport pages with non-immigrant visas
    • Arrest and criminal history
    • Employment verification letter from petitioner on religious entity’s letterhead, stating your salary and position and that the job is still available
    • Photocopy of the applicant’s current passport and previously issued passports, including biographic/photo pages, current and expired visas, and pages with relevant entry or departure stamps
    • Photocopy of Form I-797 approval notices for all extensions and changes of status
    • Photocopy of the Form I-20 or IAP 66 school records (front and back, including all school annotations)
    • Form G-28, if you have an attorney representing your case
  • You must have been performing this religious work for the past two years.

    Application Procedures:

    You or your employer must submit USCIS Form I-360 (Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special immigrant). The application must be filed at the USCIS Regional Service Center that serves the area where you will work.

    Application Process

    To apply for a green card while in the United States, you must file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status together with its supporting documentation.

    Supporting Evidence for Form I-485

    You should submit all of the following evidence with your Form I-485: