EB-4 Visa:

Religious Workers and Special Immigrants

EB-4 Religious Worker and Special Immigrant Green Card Visas are the fourth preference category of the employment-based green cards for foreign nationals who wish to live and work in the United States on a permanent basis. Because the EB4 category incorporates several subcategories of special immigrants, the specific requirements will differ, which is why it is important to hire an experienced immigration attorney to help you complete your application correctly.

EB4 Special Immigrant Subcategories

You may be eligible for an EB4 visa if you are one of the following special immigrants:

  • Religious workers;
  • Special Immigrant Juveniles
  • Certain broadcasters (annual limit of 100 visas per year);
  • Certain retired officers or employees of a G-4 international organization or NATO-6 civilian employees and their family members;
  • Certain employees of the U.S. government who are abroad and their family members;
  • Members of the U.S. armed forces;
  • Panama Canal company or Canal Zone government employees;
  • Certain physicians licensed and practicing medicine in a U.S. state as of Jan. 9, 1978;
  • Afghan or Iraqi translators or interpreters;
  • Iraqis who were employed by or on behalf of the U.S. government; and
  • Afghans who were employed by the U.S. government or International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

EB-4 Requirements

The requirements for each category are distinct and specific, but all categories require that the foreign national have a full-time, permanent employment offer; it cannot be part-time, temporary, or seasonal. (Religious workers who want to come to the United States to work on a temporary basis may qualify for an R-visa).

Requirements for EB4 Religious Workers

To qualify for an EB4 visa under the religious worker subcategory, the foreign national must:

  1. Be coming to the United States to work full-time (an average of at least 35 hours per week).
  2. Be in a compensated position as a minister or in a religious vocation or occupation
  3. Be employed by a (1) Non-profit religious organization in the United States; (2) religious organization that is authorized by a group tax exemption holder to use its group tax exemption; or (3) non-profit organization which is affiliated with a religious denomination in the United States.
  4. Have been a member of the religious denomination having a bona fide non-profit religious organization in the United States for at least two years immediately before filing the petition.
  5. Have been working in one of the positions described above after the age of 14, either abroad or in the United States, continuously for at least two years immediately before filing the petition with USCIS.

The petitioner/religious organization must also show proof of tax-exempt status and proof of salaried or non-salaried compensation.

On-Site Inspection (Religious Workers)

USCIS may conduct a pre-approval inspection as a condition for the approval of an EB4 petition of the site where the foreign national will work. In addition, USCIS may inspect the work location after adjudicating inspection in cases of suspected fraud or where the petitioning entity has undergone substantial changes since its last filing.

The Process

  1. Submit Form I-360 along with supporting documents
  2. Responses to RFEs
  3. On-Site Inspections
  4. Approval
  5. File for Adjustment of Status

Spouse and Children

Some EB-4 classifications allow your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 to be admitted to the United States.


If you think you may qualify for an EB4 visa, or if you are interested in living and working in the United States, contact The Scott Law Firm and speak with one of the experienced immigration attorneys today!

Employment-based immigration can be a long and complex process and one mistake could result in having to reapply or even being flat-out rejected. It is critical to have a skilled and experienced attorney to help you prepare your petition correctly the first time around. You can reach us online or by phone at 225-396-5262.

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