What is an EB4 Visa and Who Qualifies?
An EB4 is an immigrant visas reserved for foreign workers immigrating to the US to perform duties of a religious worker. Applicants must prove that:
i) they are a member of a religious denomination for at least 2 years,
ii) who will work at a qualified organization,
iii) as a minister (religious professional, or those in another religious vocation are no longer eligible since this program expired on March 6, 2009).
“Religious denomination” is defined as a religious group or community of believers having some form of ecclesiastical government, a creed or statement of faith, some form of worship, a formal or informal code of doctrine and discipline, religious services and ceremonies, established places of religious worship, or comparable indicia of a bona fide religious denomination. The definition is not narrowly construed. For example, being a member of a Buddhist monastery would be considered for membership of a religious denomination. Even a tax-exempt inter-denominational religious organization may be treated as a religious denomination. Membership duration may be established by sworn statements from other members.
A qualified organization would be a non-profit religious organization in the United States, meaning that the organization either a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) religious organization, or that it would be eligible for such an exemption if it applied.
A “minister,” is defined as a person authorized by a denomination to perform religious worship. An authorizing official of the denomination in the US must declare the worker’s qualifications; therefore, a lay preacher can not be authorized.