Contact Us

Let us simplify the complexities of immigration law.

photo of Fok Immigration Law Staff and Attorneys

EB-4 Visas: For Ministers And Others With A Religious Vocation

The EB-4 immigrant visa serves as a vital channel for individuals seeking lawful permanent residence in the United States, particularly for religious workers who wish to pursue their calling within the country. Under this category, religious workers can obtain a green card to engage in their religious vocation or occupation. To qualify, applicants must demonstrate their bona fide religious credentials, including membership in a recognized non-profit religious denomination for at least 2 years immediately preceding the application, and provide evidence of a genuine full-time job offer from a U.S.-based religious organization.

Common Questions And Answers About EB-4 Visas

I’m not a minister, what is a “religious vocation or occupation” under EB-4?

There are three key criteria that must be met for a position to be considered a religious vocation or occupation: (1) The position must primarily relate to a traditional religious function. (2) It must also receive recognition as a religious occupation within the denomination. (3) Moreover, it should be primarily connected to and clearly involve the inculcation or execution of the religious creed and beliefs of the denomination. Workers in these roles must be authorized to perform regular religious duties, even if they are not part of the clergy. Examples of eligible positions encompass liturgical workers, religious instructors, counselors, cantors, catechists, employees in religious hospitals or healthcare facilities, missionaries, religious translators, broadcasters, singers, or volunteers. Conversely, positions that are specifically excluded from this category include receptionists, janitors, clerks, fundraisers, or individuals engaged solely in the solicitation of donations, such as receptionists, clerical staff, fundraising and development personnel, or singers.

What types of “religious organizations” can sponsor an EB-4 visa?

The sponsoring religious organization must fulfill the following requirements: (1) It must be a nonprofit religious organization operating within the United States. (2) Additionally, it should possess authorization from a group tax exemption holder to leverage the group tax exemption. (3) Furthermore, it must establish affiliation with an officially recognized religious denomination in the United States.

Can my spouse and children come with me on my EB-4 visa?

Yes, spouses and children under the age of 21 are eligible to accompany or follow to join the principal religious worker in their journey to the United States or during their adjustment of status within the United States. Once approved as green card holders, spouses and children are also authorized to work in the United States.

Does a labor certification need to be filed as well?

No, labor certifications are not required for an EB-4 visa.

After my EB-4 petition is approved, when can I get my green card?

After receiving the I-140 approval, you will need to file the form I-485 to adjust your status to permanent resident or file the form DS-260 to apply for an immigrant visa abroad to get your green card. However, even if you receive the approval for your EB-4 case, you may still need to wait for some period of time before you can file the second part of your green card application. This depends on when your priority date becomes current according to the dates listed on the visa bulletin for people from your country. We can assist you in determining when you should file your green card applications. Finally, once you receive an approved I-485 or DS-260 and complete all required steps, you will officially become a legal permanent resident in the U.S. We will happily assist you or your family members in preparing your permanent residency application to obtain a green card once you are at this stage.

Contact Fok Immigration Law If You Have Additional Questions

Please feel free to contact us online to schedule a free initial case evaluation. You can also call our San Jose office at 408-606-8911. We serve clients throughout California and the United States.