EB-4, Fourth Preference

Special Immigrants, Religious Workers

The fourth preference employment based category is reserved for special immigrants, but most commonly applied for Religious Workers. The following special immigrants are eligible for the fourth preference visa:

  • Religious Workers
  • Broadcasters
  • Iraqi/Afghan Translators
  • Iraqis Who Have Assisted the United States
  • International Organization Employees
  • Physicians
  • Armed Forces Members
  • Panama Canal Zone Employees
  • Retired NATO-6 employees
  • Spouses and Children of Deceased NATO-6 employees

Religious Workers

To qualify as a special immigrant religious worker, the foreign national must:

  • Have been a member of a religious denomination that has a bona fide non-profit religious organization in the United States for at least 2 years immediately before the filing of a petition for this status with USCIS.
  • Seek to enter the United States to work in a full time, compensated position in one of the following occupations:
    – Solely as a minister of that religious denomination;
    – A religious vocation either in a professional or nonprofessional capacity;
    – A religious occupation either in a professional or nonprofessional capacity; or
    – A bona fide non-profit religious organization in the United States.
  • Be coming to work for either:
    – A bona fide non-profit religious organization in the United States; or
    – A bona fide organization that is affiliated with the religious denomination in the United States.
  • Have been working in one of the positions described above after the age of 14, either abroad or in lawful immigration status in the United States, continuously for at least 2 years immediately before the filing of a petition with USCIS. The prior religious work need not correspond precisely to the type of work to be performed. A break in the continuity of the work during the preceding two years will not affect eligibility so long as:
    – The foreign national was still employed as a religious worker;
    – The break did not exceed two years; and
    – The nature of the break was for further religious training or for sabbatical that did not involve unauthorized work in the United States. However, the foreign national must have been a member of the petitioner’s denomination throughout the two years of qualifying employment.

Family of EB-4 Special Immigrant Religious Workers

A special immigrant religious worker’s spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 may accompany or follow to join the principal religious worker or adjust status in the United States.