is an employment-based green card that is most often granted to immigrant religious workers. Although this visa was created to help members of non-profit religious denominations do their work in the United States, it covers a range of other types of applicants, including:
- Iraqi and Afghan translators
- Iraqi nationals who have aided the United States
- Employees of international organizations
- Employees of the Panama Canal
General Requirements for EB-4 Visa
The requirements for obtaining the visa will differ depending on your job, qualifications, and intended work in the U.S. However, every applicant must fill out a Form I-360 with supporting documentation. If you are filing for the visa as a religious worker, you must meet certain requirements. These include:
- You must have worked in your denomination for a minimum of two years
- You must enter the United States as a priest or minister of your denomination
- You must have taken vows or devoted yourself completely to your specific religious tradition
Applying for the EB-4 Visa
If you are a religious worker, you must take the following steps to receive your visa:
-Submit Form I-360 to the United States Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS)
- Provide evidence that you belong to a religious organization
- Submit evidence that the religious organization you belong to is non-profit
- Obtain and submit a letter from a superior within your religious organization testifying to your standing in it and explaining the work you will be doing in the United States
The letter that you submit should provide evidence that you have been a member of the organization for at least two years. It should also demonstrate that you have a minimum of two years of experience and training in your religious occupation or vocation. If you are a minister, the letter should provide proof that you are authorized to carry out the duties of your occupation. If you are a religious professional, you must have a bachelor’s degree or overseas equivalent to receive an EB-4 visa. You must also submit an official transcript of your coursework.
If you intend to seek religious employment in the United States, the letter should provide proof that you have the qualifications and credentials to get such work. If you intend to work with a religious organization in the United States in a non-professional or non-ministerial capacity, the letter should explain how your organization is associated with the one you intend to work with. The letter should also describe and explain in detail the duties that you will undertake as a minister or religious worker and the wages you will receive while in the job. It should also be clear that you will not need to rely on charity or a secondary occupation for financial support.
You should monitor the processing of your application closely. For the sake of planning, you will want to know when you should expect an answer on your application. To figure this out, you will need to know your priority date. The latter is the day that the USCIS receives your EB-4 visa application. You will then need to compare this date to the final action dates given in the visa bulletin released by the State Department each month. When your priority date aligns with the final action date for your country, an immigrant visa number will become available and you will be able to go on to the next step.
Priority dates are not the same for everyone. There is an annual limit on each type of visa for each country. If too many people from your country apply for an EB-4 visa, a backlog will develop, and your dates will be pushed back.
The final move in the EB-4 process is to obtain your permanent resident status. This can be done in two ways:
1. Consular processing
This involves going to the U.S. consulate or embassy nearest your city and being interviewed by a consular officer. If you are approved by the officer, then the visa will be added to your passport and you will be able to enter the United States as a legal permanent resident. This is the only option if you currently reside outside of the U.S.
2. Adjustment of status
If you have applied for the EB-4 visa and reside in the United States, you will need to file an I-485 application. This will take you from non-immigrant to immigrant status. The process will take around six months and will cost between $750 and $1,225.
It should also be noted that having a R-1 visa does not provide you a direct path to the EB-4 visa. The two visas share many of the same requirements but having a R-1 does not guarantee approval for an EB-4. An immigration labor attorney Los Angeles can give you more information about the two visas.
How a Lawyer Can Help?
Getting through the application process can be frustrating and confusing. You may need an immigration lawyer in Los Angeles to help. An employment immigration attorney Los Angeles can provide clarity to the process. An employment immigration attorney Los Angeles can also help you gather all the documentation that you will need to submit to USCIS.
If you are a religious worker and the leader of your denomination is unsure of what to put in the letter you must submit to authorities, an employment visa lawyer Los Angeles can assist them. An employment visa lawyer Los Angeles can tell your leader the facts to include in the letter and the wording to use.
Work visas attorneys Los Angeles specialize in helping people obtain legal residence in the United States. Work visas attorneys Los Angeles can work with an applicant who lives in the U.S. or who is applying from their home country. If you are applying for an EB-4 visa, then you should retain an immigration labor attorney Los Angeles to help.