What is the Employment-based, Fourth Preference Category?
The fourth employment-based category is reserved for “special immigrant” status. The Act provides approximately 10,000 visas annually for this category.
The category is for the benefit of three sub-groups:
- ministers of religion;
- professionals working in religious vocations or occupations; and
- workers in religious vocations who work for United States non-profit religious organizations or non-profit religious organizations affiliated with qualified religious denominations.
The alien must have been a member of a religious denomination which has had a bona fide non-profit religious organization in the United States for at least two years immediately preceding the application. The alien must be entering the United States to work as a minister of religion for an organization in a religious capacity, or for the organization or a related non-profit entity in another professional capacity. The alien must have been carrying on such work as a minister, professional or other worker for at least two years preceding the application.
The alien must have at least a baccalaureate degree to qualify as a religious professional. A combination of experience and education may not be substituted for a baccalaureate degree.