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Ministers of Religion & Religious Workers

Ministers of Religion & Religious Workers (Fourth Preference Category)

Who qualifies?

U.S. visa law provides for special immigrant visa status for ministers of religion and religious workers. To qualify, the applicant will require sponsorship from a bona fide religious organization in the U.S. and must meet the following criteria:

  • The applicant is proceeding to the U.S. solely for the purpose of carrying out the vocation of minister of a religious organization, or to work in a professional capacity in a religious vocation or occupation for a religious organization or a bona fide organization which is affiliated with the religious denomination;
  • The church in the U.S. where the applicant intends to serve is a bona fide religious organization and has demonstrated that the applicant's services are needed, and is financially capable of supporting the applicant and any dependents without the applicant otherwise having to enter the labor force; and 
  • The applicant has been carrying on the vocation of minister, or professional religious worker continuously for the two years immediately preceding his/her immigrant visa application.

How do I apply?

The first step in applying for an immigrant visa is for the religious organization to file a Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er) or Special Immigrant with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Further information is available from USCIS.