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What is EB-4 Classification?

EB-4 Classification is an employment-based immigrant classification.  EB-4 Classification is reserved for special immigrant religious workers.  To qualify, an alien must be a member of a religious denomination that has a non-profit organization in the U.S.  The alien must have been a member of the denomination for at least two years before applying for admission.

Who is Eligible?

The alien must be coming to the U.S. to work: 

  • As a minister or priest
  • In a professional capacity (with a U.S. bachelor’s degree or its foreign equivalent) for the religious organization
  • In a religious vocation (i.e. a calling, taking vows) or occupation (i.e. activities devoted to traditional religious functions) for the organization.  Missionaries and religious instructors fall in this category.

The alien must have been performing this work for at least the past two years. 

How Do I Apply for EB-4 Classification?

For EB-4 Classification, either you or your employer can petition.  Either you or your employer should file USCIS Form I-360 and submit it to the USCIS Regional Service Center in the area where you will be working.  You should also file: 

  • Evidence that the religious organization is a non-profit.
  • A letter from an official of the religious organization, stating that you have been a member of the denomination for 2 years (with at least two years of experience in your vocation or occupation).  If you are a minister, it should show that you have been authorized to perform religious duties in general and what specific duties you are authorized to perform.  If you are a religious professional, it should state that you have a U.S. bachelor’s degree (or a foreign equivalent).
  • If you are applying to work in another religious vocation or occupation, the letter should show that you are qualified to work in that position. 
  • If you plan to work in a non-ministerial or non-professional capacity for a religious organization, the letter from the official should demonstrate how the organization is affiliated with the religious denomination.
  • If you are working as a minister, the letter should detail how you will be performing that work.  If you are working in a professional or other religious capacity, it should detail how you will be paid. 

Do I Need an Experienced Immigration Law Attorney?

Because of the confusing requirements for the letter from the official at the religious organization where you wish to work, a lawyer may be able to help you decide what type of letter you need and what should be included in it.  A lawyer would also be able to guide you through any other immigration laws you may encounter.

Photo of page author Ken LaMance

, LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

Last Modified: 07-30-2013 02:24 PM PDT

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