EB4 Green Card & Qualified Person:
An EB4 is an immigrant visas reserved for foreign workers immigrating to the US to perform duties of a religious worker. Applicants must prove that:
i) they are a member of a religious denomination for at least 2 years,
ii) who will work at a qualified organization,
iii) as a minister
“Religious denomination” is defined as a religious group or community of believers having some form of ecclesiastical government, a creed or statement of faith, some form of worship, a formal or informal code of doctrine and discipline, religious services and ceremonies, established places of religious worship, or comparable indicia of a bona fide religious denomination. The definition is not narrowly construed. For example, being a member of a Buddhist monastery would be considered for membership of a religious denomination. Even a tax-exempt inter-denominational religious organization may be treated as a religious denomination. Membership duration may be established by sworn statements from other members.
A “minister,” is defined as a person authorized by a denomination to perform religious worship. An authorizing official of the denomination in the US must declare the worker’s qualifications; therefore, a lay preacher cannot be authorized.
Process of Obtaining an EB4 Visa
Unlike other employment based categories, the quota for EB4 class petitions generally is never met; therefore, a visa or change of status to EB4 can be obtained as soon as the petition is approved. EB4 cases do not require any test of the US job market either. The process can be completed in a matter of months.
Advantages and Limitations of an EB4 Visa
An advantage of the EB4 over the other EB petitions is that no job offer is required. As previously mentioned, the process for obtaining EB4 status is much faster than other employment based green card petitions.
While this category used to be open to a wider variety of religious workers, it has unfortunately been reduced only to those working as ministers. Therefore, not all those in R-1 status may be eligible to adjust status under EB4.
California Immigration Attorney Role in an EB4 Visa Petition
Establishing eligibility for EB4 visas can be a challenge. Even in cases where a petition includes the necessary documents, they must be presented in a logically organized format so that the immigration officer reviewing the case is lead to make a favorable decision, particularly when the denomination is not a mainstream. Knowledge of what the immigration service or department of state expects to receive from the petitioner is essential to success.
To discuss EB4 visa petitions and other alternatives with an experienced California immigration Attorney from the Aria Law Group, feel free to contact us by email or call us at (650) 391-9630.