If you are a potential immigrant to the United States who would like to acquire a visa to enter and work in the US, you may be feeling overwhelmed at the wide variety of visas available. It can be difficult to determine which visas you might qualify for, but if you are a minister, religious worker or other “special immigrant” worker seeking to pursue a position in the United States, the EB-4 visa is likely the right choice for you. Knowing the EB-4 visa requirements can greatly benefit your application process.
Who Should Apply?
EB-4 visa stands for “Employment Based Fourth Preference” visa. Religious workers are some of the most common who elect to use this visa; they must work directly for a nonprofit organization in the US in order to qualify.
Those who worked for the United States government abroad may also enter using an EB-4. In this category, the Secretary of State is responsible for approving visas. The American Institute in Taiwan also counts for the purposes of international government work when trying to qualify for an EB-4, as do workers who were employed in the Panama Canal Zone.
Service in the US armed forces on active duty is also sufficient to qualify for an EB-4. In addition, broadcasters (translators, editors, announcers and producers) are also eligible as long as they work for a grantee of the Broadcasting Board of Governors.
Requirements Of An EB-4 Visa
The primary requirement in your application process is that you fit into one of those “special immigrant” categories. Each category within this requirement will have its own unique regulations, so it is important to confirm that you fulfill the requirements of your selected category.
Unlike some other types of visas, EB-4 visas are not filed by you; rather, they are filed on the petitioner’s behalf by their employer. In this case, that would be the organization you intend to work with in the US, and you must plan to work in a full-time, salaried position with this company in order to qualify. Once the organization agrees to petition on your behalf, they will need to file an I-360 with all the required supporting documents.
Is There Anything I Should Consider Before Applying?
In addition to the challenge of figuring out which category of EB-4 you might qualify for, it is important to remember that because EB-4s are fourth preference, fewer EB-4 applicants will be approved for entry into the United States than applicants for many other visas (e.g., EB-1s). Only 5,000 EB-4 green cards are available yearly (this number does not apply to ministers).
When your application is reviewed it will be processed according to its priority date, which varies by country. If you come from a country with a processing date that has not kept pace with the present date, you may wait from just a few months up to a few years for your application package to make it through. For this reason, it is important that you work with a skilled immigration attorney and make plans not to arrive immediately in the US in case the current processing date is backlogged.
Benefits Of Acquiring An EB-4 Visa
EB-4s are a category of visa that can take advantage of expedited processing, so you may be able to speed up your application process. In addition, EB-4 visa applicants are able to bring their immediate family with them to the United States by applying for family visas. EB-4 visa holders are eligible to apply for legal permanent residence and begin the process of getting a green card. If you would like to enter for work and then make the move to living in the United States permanently, an EB-4 provides a gateway to do so.
Speak To A Professional Immigration Attorney
Understanding which visa is right for you and for which category of special immigrant you may qualify, can be a challenge, which is why having an experienced immigration attorney on your side is so important. The Law Offices of Kermit A. Monge will help you compile your petition and point out any potential issues ahead of time so that you can have your EB-4 approved as quickly as possible.
Reach out to our attorneys so that we can assist you in creating a strategy for acquiring an EB-4 visa and even legal permanent residence in the United States. We will work with you to achieve the best possible outcome and avoid any potential issues with your petition, evidence or filing process. We can also assist you in applying for family visas to bring your loved ones to the States with you. Call by phone at to get started or learn more about the EB-4 visa requirements today.