You may qualify for an employment-based, fourth preference visa if you are a special immigrant. The following special immigrants are eligible for the fourth preference visa:
- Religious Workers
- Special Immigrant Juveniles
- G-4 International Organization or NATO-6 Employees and Their Family Members
- International Employees of the U.S. Government Abroad
- Armed Forces Members
- Panama Canal Zone Employees
- Certain Physicians
- Afghan and Iraqi Translators
- Afghan and Iraqi Nationals Who Have Provided Faith Service in Support of U.S. Operations
Religious Worker Visa
The special immigrant religious worker category is one of several employment-based fourth-preference (EB-4) visa classifications. Ministers and non-ministers in religious vocations and occupations may immigrate to or adjust status in the U.S. for the purpose of working for a religious organization in a full-time compensated position.
How do I qualify?
To qualify as a special immigrant religious worker, the foreign national must:
- Have been a member of a religious denomination that has a bona fide non-profit religious organization in the United States for at least 2 years immediately \before the filing of a petition for this status with USCIS.
- Seek to enter the United States to work in a full time, compensated position in one of the following occupations:
- Solely as a minister of that religious denomination;
- A religious vocation either in a professional or nonprofessional capacity;
- A religious occupation either in a professional or nonprofessional capacity; or
- A bona fide non-profit religious organization in the United States.
- Be coming to work for either:
- A bona fide non-profit religious organization in the United States; or
- A bona fide organization that is affiliated with the religious denomination in the United States.
- Have been working in one of the positions described above after the age of 14, either abroad or in the United States, continuously for at least 2 years immediately before the filing of a petition with USCIS. The prior religious work need not correspond precisely to the type of work to be performed. A break in the continuity of the work during the preceding two years will not affect eligibility so long as:
- The foreign national was still employed as a religious worker;
- The break did not exceed two years; and
- The nature of the break was for further religious training or for sabbatical. However, the foreign national must have been a member of the petitioner’s denomination throughout the two years of qualifying employment.
Family of EB-4 Special Immigrant Religious Workers
A special immigrant religious worker’s spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 may accompany or follow to join the principal religious worker or adjust status in the United States. For more information please contact an Austin immigration lawyer today.
Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS)
Austin immigration lawyer Michael Murray takes a special pride in his success assisting children and minors achieve their dreams of living in the United States. Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (“SIJS”) was specifically created for an undocumented child who is under the jurisdiction of a state juvenile court and who cannot be returned to the child’s parents or country of origin due to abuse, neglect, or abandonment.
How do I qualify?
All SIJS cases begin with legal representation in state court so that your immigration attorney may obtain a valid juvenile court order issued by a state court in the United States which finds that:
- You are dependent on the court, or in the custody of a state agency or department or an individual or entity appointed by the court;
- You cannot be reunified with one or both of your parents because of ANY of the following:
- Neglect, or
- A similar basis under state law;
- It is not in your best interests to return to the country of nationality or last habitual residence of you or your parents.
What constitutes abandonment, abuse, or neglect?
Abuse, neglect and abandonment are defined under the relevant state law and do not have to take place within the United States. The findings made in an SIJS order do not require that formal charges of abandonment, abuse, or neglect be brought against the parent(s). The SIJS statute also allows for SIJS eligibility based on findings under state law “similar” to abandonment, abuse or neglect.
What happens once the juvenile court order is obtained?
Once the dependency or juvenile court order is obtained, your immigration attorney will then file an I-360 petition on your behalf. If you have been granted SIJ classification (which means your Form I-360 petition has been approved), you may be eligible to apply for a Green Card. This is also known as applying for lawful permanent resident (LPR) status or adjustment of status.
Petition and Application Processing
If an immigrant visa is immediately available, you may generally file your Form I-360 and Form I-485 at the same time. Immigrant visas for SIJs come from the employment-based fourth preference (EB-4) immigrant visa category for special immigrants.
If an immigrant visa is not available, you may still file your Form I-360, but you will need to wait to file your Form I-485. Contact an Austin immigration attorney to ensure you know when the appropriate time is to file.
Will I age out?
Some juvenile courts may only be able to issue a juvenile court order if you are under 18 years of age. There is no age limit for when you must apply for a Green Card as a special immigrant juvenile applicant. If you were under 21 years old on the date you properly filed your Form I-360, USCIS will not deny your SIJbased Form I-485 based on age if you are older than 21 at the time of filing or adjudication of Form I-485. Please note, you must be unmarried at the time of filing the adjustment application and at the time of final adjudication of the application
What is the Lawyer’s Role in the EB-4 Visa?
Our Austin Immigration lawyer will help you gather the required information and documentation for EB-4 Visa or Special Immigrants, Religious Workers, etc. We will carefully prepare all documentation needed to obtain your EB-4 Visa approval. We will communicate with you and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) while the application is being processed up until adjudication.
An Austin immigration lawyer – Abogados de Inmigracion en Austin TX – can help you determine if an EB-4 Visa may benefit you or your family. Learn more by contacting Michael G. Murray, P.A today!