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What is an EB-4 Special Immigrant Visa?

The EB-4 Special Immigrant Workers visa is an immigrant visa which allows foreign nationals who are members of certain organizations, or belong to certain group of individuals, to enter into the U.S. to obtain permanent residency.

Below is a list of the various ways that you may qualify for a Green Card under the EB-4 Special Immigrants category.

Religious Worker

  • A religious minister, nun, priest, rabbi, ordained deacon or monk
  • A religious instructor, counselor, or catechist
  • A worker in a religious health care facility
  • A religious broadcaster

Former Employees of the Panama Canal Zone

  • A former employee of the Panama Canal Company or the Canal Zone government

Former Employees of U.S. Government

  • A longtime employee of the U.S. Government foreign office

Former Employees of U.S. Armed Forces

  • A longtime employee of the U.S. Armed Forces

Retired Employees of International Organizations and their families

  • An employee of International Organization who have resided in the U.S. for at least 15 years prior to their retirement on a G-4 or N visa
  • Spouse and / or child of G-4 or N visa holder
  • Spouse of a deceased employee of an international organization

Retired Civilians on NATO-6 visa

  • A retired NATO-6 civilian
  • Spouse of SN-1 visa holder
  • Child of SN-1 visa holder
  • Spouse of deceased NATO-6 civilian employee

Employees of International Broadcasting Bureau and their families

  • An employee of the International Broadcasting Bureau of the Broadcasting Board of Governors or a grantee of such organization
  • Spouse and / or child of BC-1 visa holder

Special Agricultural Workers

  • A foreign agricultural worker who performed agricultural field labor for at least 90 days between May 1, 1985 and May 1, 1986

Foreign Medical Graduates

  • A foreign medical graduate who came to the U.S. before January 10, 1978 on either an H or J visa, and continue to practice medicine

Battered Spouses and Children

  • An Abused spouse of U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident
  • An Abused child of U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident


  • A foreign national displaced by war, famine, and civil and political unrest or, unable or unwilling to return to the home country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution
  • A foreign national in the home country who has experienced persecution in the past or has a well-founded fear of persecution in the future

Asylum Seekers

  • A foreign national in the U.S. who is unable or unwilling to return to the home country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality or membership in a particular social or political group

Returning Permanent Residents

  • A lawful permanent resident who departed the U.S. with the intention of returning, but have stayed out of the U.S. for more than twelve months due to circumstances beyond your control

Juvenile Foreign children

  • A foreign child who has been declared dependent in a juvenile court located in the U.S.
  • Iraqi / Afghan Translators
  • Iraqis Who Have Assisted United States

Who qualifies for an EB-4 Immigrant Visa?

The most common use of EB-4 immigrant visa is for religious workers. To qualify, the foreign worker should be immigrating to the U.S. to perform duties of a religious worker. He must prove that he is a member of a religious denomination for at least 2 years, who will work at a qualified religious organization in the U.S., as a minister or a religious professional.

What are the benefits of applying under EB-4 visa category?

  • A labor certification is not required
  • Live permanently in the United States
  • Work in the U.S.
  • Travel freely in and out of the U.S.
  • Apply for dependent visas for your spouse and unmarried children under 21 years

How Can an Attorney Help in this Process?

Establishing eligibility for EB-4 can be challenging. Even in cases where a petition includes the necessary documents, these documents must be presented in a logically organized format, so that the immigration officer reviewing the case is led to make a favorable decision. This is particularly important when the denomination is not very mainstream. Hiring an experienced immigration lawyer can make this process much more efficient.