Permanent Visa for Religious Workers

Permanent Immigrant Visa for Religious Workers

Permanent Immigrant Visa for Religious Workers

Once can obtain status as a lawful permanent resident through the Special Immigrant Religious Worker category. This can be done after holding a temporary visa as a religious work and filing for a change in status, or it can be done by filing directly for the permanent immigrant visa.

However, unlike filing for adjustment of status with a family-based petition, the adjustment of status for an immigrant religious worker cannot be filed with the petition. The petition must first be approved, and then, upon approval, the adjustment of status application is filed.

The Requirements are:

  • The employing religious organization in the United States must be a tax-exempt organization or be affiliated with a tax-exempt religious organization;
  • The religious worker must have been continuously employed for two years prior to the filing of the petition with the same type of religious organization in his or her home country. This means that the foreign religious organization has a similar ecclesiastical form of government and creed as the religious organization in the United States, or they share an affiliation to a common denomination.
  • The work must be for a full time position consisting of at least 35 hours per week.
  • The Sunset Date for non-minister religious workers is September 30, 2019. This is the date that was extended by President Trump. This means that religious workers such as clergy, religious counselors, and health care workers at religious hospitals will no longer be eligible for this type of visa. Only ministers will be eligible after September 30th.
  • Once the Petition is approved, the religious worker can file the Application for Adjustment of Status, leading to a green card signifying permanent residency.

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