Religious Workers

Religious workers are among the individuals that can obtain lawful permanent residence through employment.

To qualify for the religious worker category, the individual must (1) have been an active member in a bona fide nonprofit religious denomination for a minimum of two years before submitting form I-360, (2) have worked continuously for the preceding two years in a religious vocation or occupation, professionally or non-professionally, and (3) be coming to the United States with the intention of continuing his or her respective religious occupation for the employer’s denomination.

Either the employer or the religious worker can submit the I-130, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant, to the USCIS Regional Service Center responsible for the area where the worker expects to be employed. In addition, the religious worker must submit evidence that the religious organization is indeed nonprofit, and a letter from the official of the religious organization with the specific occupation in mind, stating that the religious worker (1) has been a member of the denomination for two years, (2) has had at least two years of experience, (3) has been authorized to perform, (4) has a degree that is required (including an official academic record), in addition to describing how the individual’s work will be carried out and how he or she will be paid.


USCIS Publishes Final Rule for Religious Worker Visa Classifications (11-21-08)