Religious Workers Immigrant Visas Immigration Law

Religious Workers Immigrant Visas Legal Issues

Religious Workers Immigrant Visas (SD, SR Visas)

Included in the Employment Fourth Preference category of employment-based visas (E4: Certain Special Immigrants) are two types of visas for immigrant religious workers. SD visas are for Ministers of Religion and SR visas are for Certain Religious Workers. Both of these types of visas provide legal permanent resident status and are different from the nonimmigrant Temporary Religious Workers category (R Visas).

In order to qualify for an immigrant religious worker SD or SR visa, the religion in which the applicant is coming to the U.S. to work for must have a bona fide nonprofit religious organization established in the United States, and the applicant must have been a member of this religious denomination and must have been continuously carrying out the same occupation in that religion that he or she intends to carry out in the U.S., for at least two years prior to the start of the SD visa or SR visa process. In addition, the nonprofit religious organization in the U.S. in which the applicant intends to work for must file a petition on behalf of the applicant before he or she can officially file the Religious Worker Immigrant visa application.

Legal Issues of SD visa and SR visas:

Like all other employment-based visas, there is a numerical limitation on SD visas and SR visas per fiscal year. These visas are issued on a first-come, first-serve basis until they have all been given out. Any applications filed after the limit has been reached are put on a waiting list, which could take anywhere from several months to several years to be considered. It is also important for the religious worker to be aware that they will need to submit evidence, documentation and records of their religious vocation, in addition to undergoing a medical examination and in-person interview with the National Visa Center. Any mistake, misrepresentation, or discrepancy found in one’s visa application can lead to further delays or an outright denial of an SD visa or SR visa.

What an Immigration lawyer can do for you:

If you are an immigrant religious worker wishing to obtain an SD visa or SR visa so that you may live and work in the United States, an experienced immigration attorney can assist you. Immigration attorneys are familiar with these visas for Ministers of Religion and Certain Religious Workers, so they can best help you accurately file your visa application. An immigration attorney will work with you and your religious organization in order to walk you through the petitioning and visa application process so that there are no delays or denials. With the help of an immigration attorney, you can most easily and quickly be on your way to obtaining a SD visa or SR visa so that you may enter the United States and begin working for your prospective religious employer.

Lawyer Referral Service:

If you are an immigrant religious worker and need an SD visa or SR visa, an immigration lawyer can help you. Call Attorney Search Network today to find an immigration lawyer who can assist you.

If you have any questions about the information provided above, please contact us. Call us toll free at (800) 215-1190 or fill out our online form for your Immigration lawyer referral.


If you have any questions about the information provided above, please contact Attorney Search Network.

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