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Religious Workers:

Religious Workers (R-1 and EB-4)

Temporary religious workers: The R-1 visa is for ministers, rabbis and other religious leaders, religious

professionals and those in a religious vocation to work temporarily in the U.S. The religious worker must

have been a member of the denomination for which he or she will be working in the U.S., or of a similar

denomination, for two years, among other requirements.

Green card for religious workers:

One can also gain permanent residence as a special immigrant

religious worker. You must be a member of a religious denomination that has a nonprofit religious

organization in the United States for at least two years before applying for admission to the United

States. You must have been performing the requisite work for two years and be entering the United

States to work as one of the following: As a minister or priest (or rabbi, etc.) of the religious

denomination; In a professional capacity in a religious vocation or occupation for the religious

organization; or In a religious vocation or occupation for the religious organization or its nonprofit

affiliate (A religious vocation means a calling or devotion to religious life. A religious occupation is an

activity devoted to traditional religious functions, such as a cantor, missionary, or religious instructor.)

Application Procedures: You or your employer must submit USCIS Form I-360 with the following

documentation: Proof that the religious organization qualifies as a nonprofit organization A letter from

an official of the religious organization in the United States: The letter should establish that you have

been a member of the denomination for two years and that you have at least two years of experience. If

you are a minister, the letter should establish that you have been authorized to perform religious duties

in general and should specify which duties you are authorized to perform. If you are a religious

professional, the letter should establish that you have a United States baccalaureate degree or the

foreign equivalent required for your religious profession. You must also submit an official academic

record. If you are applying to work in the United States in a non-ministerial or non-professional capacity

for a religious organization affiliated with a religious denomination, the letter should establish how the

religious organization is affiliated with the denomination. The letter should also detail how you will be

carrying on the work of a minister, or how you will be paid if you are working in a professional or other

religious capacity. The letter should indicate that you will not be dependent upon supplementary

income (from a second job) or charity (funds solicited for your support). The Woog Law Office has

obtained approvals of I-360s for ministers and assistant pastors working at Korean, Chinese, Japanese,

Brazilian, and other ethnic churches in the United States. The application for adjustment of status

cannot be submitted until the I-360 is approved.


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