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EB-4 - Special Immigrant Religious Worker

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.)

You must have been performing this religious work for the past two years. For more specific eligibility information, please see 8 CFR § 204.5.

Application Procedures:

You must submit the proper CIS documentation and also supporting documents evidencing the following:

  • 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).

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