Ministers and other religious workers can apply for the fourth preference of employment-based immigration. There are two categories in the EB-4 for religious workers. One is ordained religious workers and the other is non-ordained religious workers. Although the EB-4 quotas have been available for ordained ministers, non-ordained religious workers are restricted to apply for a green card for a limited period of time and have to wait to get a green card until the visa quotas are open after filing applications.


To apply for the EB-4, the applicant must have been a member of the religious denomination for at least two years prior to filing the I-360 and must have been carrying on a religious vocation for the past two years. However, volunteer work without compensation does not count. The religious organization must be qualified as a non-profit organization recognized as a tax exempt entity by the IRS. If an organization is not registered as a non-profit organization, and it is not recognized as a tax exempt entity, the applicant can submit proof of the affiliated denomination. The petitioning organization must show financial capability. If it is not enough, an applicant can submit a letter from an affiliated denomination demonstrating financial support.


The examples of non-ordained workers include catechists, choir directors, accompanists and so forth. There are cases in which individuals who are not qualified for a family-based immigrant visa or other employment-based immigrant visa, apply for the EB4. However, it is desirable to apply for the religious occupation that matches the education and career of the applicant.