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Religious Worker Visas

Permanent residence through religious sponsorship is initiated by filing Form I-360, Petition for Special Immigrant Religious Worker with the USCIS.

The sponsor must be an accredited religious organization with a 501(C)(3) IRS tax exemption.There is no restriction on the religious denomination to which the beneficiary's proposed employing organization belongs. For example, the organization can be Hindu, Muslim, Reformed Jewish, Roman Catholic, Southern Baptist, Zen Buddhist, Protestant, etc.

The beneficiary must have a minimum of two years of membership in the denomination. In addition, the beneficiary must have a minimum of two years continuous full-time experience in the religious vocation, professional religious work or other religious work for the period immediately prior to the application.

Evidence of such experience include a detailed listing of the beneficiary's duties, the commencement and termination dates of employment and the time spent per week by the beneficiary performing these duties.

The beneficiary must be employed full-time in in a religious vocation, or professional religious work. The beneficiary must be qualified for the religious vocation or occupation. Evidence of such qualifications may include, but not limited to evidence establishing that the applicant is a nun, monk, priest, minister, religious brother, or teacher of religion, or that that type of work relates to a traditional

Religious function. However, experience of work in a religious organization as an usher or "soul-winner" is not acceptable. The primary duties in the proposed job require specific religious training beyond that of a dedicated and caring member of the religious organization. The duties must be traditional religious functions above those performed routinely by members. The beneficiary must have the special qualifications which are required to do the proposed job, - ordination certificate, college degree, licence.

The religious organization must submit a letter to the USCIS with details of the beneficiary's proposed employment and duties, along with copies of the most recent current fiscal year Form 990 or 990 EZ (Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax) or a copy of a current financial statement which has either been reviewed or audited by a Certified Public Accountant.) to demonstrate its ability to pay the offered wage. The sponsor must state how the beneficiary will be paid or remunerated, and must clearly indicate that the beneficiary will not be solely dependent on supplemental employment or solicitation of funds for support.

In addition, the sponsor organization must submit copies of published material about the organization, eg. copies of schedules, bulletins, event flyers, course registration documents, deed, lease, etc.